Last year, Marvel comics got a lot of attention over hiring Ta-Nehisi Coates to write a Black Panther solo series. Coates was primarily known for his career in journalism. He is a correspondent for The Atlantic where he writes primarily about cultural, social, and political issues and how they impact African-Americans. As a National book award and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant winner, Coates, brought a respectable pedigree to the Black Panther series when it started last year. He has already spun-off one new Black Panther series called World of Wakanda with co-creators Roxane Gay and poet Yona Harvey.
Now, Coates is teaming with poet Yona Harvey with yet another new Marvel series called: Black Panther & The Crew. The Crew also existed as its own series back in 2003, but it only lasted a handful of issues. This new series teams up Black Panther with other well-known African-American characters like Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight and a lesser known character like Manifold. Set in Harlem, this team will focus on street level crimes.
Coates has stated he wants to examine,
“What does it mean to protect the street and protect the world? How are those things connected? What happens when T’Challa is walking down the street without his [Black Panther] uniform and people don’t recognize him, he’s just a black person? Same with Storm.”
The first issue came out this week, and it centers on Misty Knight at the heart of a murder case that is turning up the heat on the people of Harlem. The story begins when a well-known civil rights activist, Ezra Keith, is found dead while in police custody and no explanation for his death is given. Misty is recruited to investigate his death. Ezra ran his own crew of super-powered beings back in the 1950s. They protected Harlem from corrupt businessmen and drug peddlers. In present day, his mysterious death brings the people of Harlem to protest and near rioting. Black Panther and the others will appear in later issues of the series.
Coates stated that he is not directly referring to movements like Black Lives Matter, but that this sort of stuff is in the air. People are confronted with these problems every day, and Black Panther and the Crew was an opportunity to do something. With their earlier work and this new series, Coates, Gay, and Harvey have built a whole new diverse chapter of the Marvel universe. With the raised profiles of characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage and Misty Knight from the various live-action productions, hopefully this series gets enough attention to stick around for a long time.
Black Panther and the Crew hit store shelves yesterday.
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