Black Panther #1 deals with the fallout of T’Challa no longer being ruler of Wakanda

A Wakandan secret threatens the nation and T’Challa’s place in the Avengers in Black Panther #1

A new era for T’Challa and Wakanda begins in November 24’s Black Panther #1, the launch of a new run by writer John Ridley and artist Juann Cabal. This new creative era comes as Black Panther’s mainstream popularity has reached rarified – almost deified – air, while in comic books he’s evolved to become not just the leader of the African nation of Wakanda, but the leader of a Wakandan space empire, and the leader of the Avengers.

Black Panther #1 cover

Black Panther #1 cover (Image credit: Alex Ross (Marvel Comics))
But all that changes by the time Black Panther #1 ends.

Although Black Panther #1 begins with T’Challa leading the Avengers into battle (as he has for years through the main Avengers book), the comic book ends with the Wakandan king stepping down as Avengers chairperson – with Captain America even thinking at one point that he’s leaving the team entirely.

Ridley and Cabal’s Black Panther #1 is unpacking the massive societal change that the previous run by Ta-Nehisi Coates set about – specifically that Black Panther is no longer the ruler of Wakanda. Over the course of the Coates’ five years on Black Panther, Wakanda grew from being a monarchy to being a constitutional monarchy (similar to the United Kingdom), with an elected parliament running the nation while the Black Panther remains ‘monarch’ in name, but for more of an advisory role.

As November 24’s Black Panther #1 demonstrates, the new political dynamic takes some getting used to by T’Challa – especially when some previous actions when he was the unqualified ruler of Wakanda are coming back to haunt him.

“You have been Wakanda’s greatest protector. There is no need to be otherwise. Only to adjust your methods,” one of T’Challa’s advisors, Akili, says. “The people are like adolescents. They need to assume their freedom while being looked after by a loving but firm adult who knows what’s best.”

T’Challa agrees with that analogy initially – but then re-learns what that can lead to.

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A Wakandan secret threatens the nation and T’Challa’s place in the Avengers in Black Panther #1 A new era for T’Challa and Wakanda begins in November 24’s Black Panther #1, the launch of a new run by writer John Ridley and artist Juann Cabal. This new creative era comes as Black Panther’s mainstream popularity has…

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