Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Have you seen the movie yet? It is so good! Now, it is largely a story about grief, so it is pretty sad. But it is a glorious tribute to Chadwick Boseman the person as well as his portrayal of the character, T’Challa. Director Ryan Coogler and all the actors did a tremendous job.

My podcast (and business) partner, John, and I talk about the movie on our latest episode, comparing and contrasting with the Black Adam movie. I find Wakanda Forever to be the most adult movie of the MCU. By which I mean it is the most mature and realistic in the way it handles Boseman’s tragic death and the reactions to his death by the other actors and characters. That is the burden and thus the genius of the movie: it is always operating on both the story level and responding to the real life circumstances. To me, it does so extraordinarily well. Due to actually dealing with all that actual grief and mourning, Wakanda Forever is perhaps not the most fun movie you’ll see. But it still has some very funny moments. The story centers four characters who are all Black women–Shuri, Ramonda, Nakia, and Okoye– which feels like a first for a comic book movie. Add in RiRi, and it is five Black women the story revolves around. Naturally it has a few flaws, as all movies do. But it is truly inspired and inspiring. I hope you’ll give the episode a listen for more of our reaction to it. Well, if you haven’t already I hope you’ll go see the movie! Then listen to our podcast! Like everyone else, our podcast is on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, YouTube, Google Play, etc. Search for Coffee ‘n’ Capes and you should find it. Or ask Alexa to play it for you, that works too! (Yes, it is true: I know that works because I’m enough of a dork to have tried listening to my own podcast that way. I was way too thrilled when it worked! Ok, it worked after I convinced Alexa I wasn’t asking for “Coffee and Cakes” podcast. Uh, that’s not us.)

Additionally, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever inspired my selections for one of our Weekly Top 5 Comics with Coffee blog posts. I enjoyed writing those; thought they turned out pretty well. So why not share them here as well?

Here are some comics to get you in the proper frame of mind for the cinematic experience that is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

5. Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (2016)

Ta-Nehisi Coates has always been a prolific writer, writing like he’s running out of time. Here he brings in Roxane Gay to continue building the world around Black Panther, as Coates tells the story of T’Challa in the main Black Panther title. This time the art is by Alitha Martinez and Afua Richardson. Gay offers a back story of the Dora Milaje, how they are chosen, how they train, and even how they fall in love. The story of Aneka and Ayo begins here in “Dawn of the Midnight Angels!”

4. Shuri #3 (2018)

We covered issue #1 back in August, so let’s check back in on Wakanda’s favorite daughter and see what she is up to…astral projecting into space?…trapped inside the mind of…Groot? Fighting a space bug? What?? It is pretty trippy, but in a truly enjoyable way. I never thought of it before, but Shuri and Rocket do share some serious tech-geek-genius vibes. Maybe they should get a longer team up run? Nnedi Okorafor writes and Leonard Romero provides the art as we dive further into what makes Shuri who she is. A discovery definitely worth your while! Also, how BA is that cover?!

3. Rise of Black Panther #1 (2018)

Are you missing T’Challa? Of course you are, we all are. This book will help. Along with Evan Narcisse, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes this story of The Secret Origin of the Black Panther! A tremendous addition to Coates’ superb run on the main Black Panther book. The art by Paul Renaud has the flourish to match the words. We focus first on T’Chaka and N’Yami, T’Challa’s parents. Wait, what? Isn’t Queen Ramonda T’Challa’s mom?? Yes and no. Read this book to learn the full truth! (Then keep reading issue #2 to see Black Panther and Namor fight but also…work together? It is epic indeed.)

2. Ironheart #1 (2018)

Written by (Chicago’s own!) professor, sociologist, and award-winning author, Dr. Eve L. Ewing, with art by Kevin Libranda, and the gorgeous cover art by Amy Reeder. Dr. Ewing is not our typical comic book writer and Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, is not our typical comic book hero. We immediately get a sense of that on the very first page when Riri quotes the famous Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise.” Riri is a thoughtful genius, a young woman who is trying to finish her degree at MIT while also taking on bad guys like, uh, Clash here. Ewing, as we might expect from a writer of her magnitude, writes dialogue that sounds pulled from real life. (Well, other than all the talk of armor suits that fly and shoot lasers of course.) Still, Riri is pretty alone in the world. So why does she suit up and put herself in dangerous, even deadly, situations? She was tired of being afraid and her stepdad may have died, but his words still ring in her ears, “Those who move with courage make the path for those who live in fear.” This initial issue offers a compelling glimpse at Ironheart’s origin story and leaves us wanting to know more.

1. Black Panther #1 (2016)

This is the issue that began T’Challa’s story anew! Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates takes the helm along with brilliant artists Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Matin to truly take us inside Wakanda. In their hands, the famously stand-offish nation is brought to full life. But all is not well in Wakanda; unrest abounds. Someone is filling the people with rage and fomenting an uprising against T’Challa. The noble warrior Aneka is sentenced to die for fighting back against a lecherous chieftain’s son. There is no way Ayo will let that happen and thus are born The Midnight Angels. On top of all of that, Princess Shuri died at the hands of Thanos. But in Wakanda dead does not mean gone. Can the Black Panther resurrect his sister? Black Panther and Wakanda have never looked better nor has their story ever been told with this level of depth, detail, and devotion. I pointed you to the second tale Ta-Nehisi told by suggesting Black Panther #5 (2018) back in August. Truly though, there is simply no better way to dive into the incredible story of Black Panther, Wakanda, T’Challa, and his family than with this #1 issue. 

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