In 2015, when my best friend/then-roommate told me that Ta-Nehisi Coates was going to write Black Panther, my reaction was “Oh shit!” followed by “He’s probably only going to do it for like a year, though.”
Well, I was wrong.
After five years and 50 issues, Coates’ run will be coming to a close this April.
Marvel Entertainment issued a press release on Tuesday that Black Panther #25 will mark the end of Coates’s run. “Ta-Nehisi has come up with a truly special finale here, one that not only wraps up the current story of T’Challa’s attempt to stop Emperor N’Jadaka’s conquest of Wakanda, but also deals with elements that reach all the way back to the beginning of Ta-Nehisi’s run,” editor Wil Moss said in the release. The release also noted that artist Brian Stelfreeze, who was the original artist of the early issues, has returned to draw the epilogue for the series.
Oh and before we get into it, here’s a quick explainer on how Coates wrote 50 issues but his final one is issue 25. Basically, he started with Black Panther Vol. 6 #1-18. After that Marvel launched its Legacy event, which reverted the titles to their old numbering so the “Avengers of the New World” arc was Vol 1. #166-172. After that, because Marvel loves a relaunch, the title entered Vol. 7, which is where we’re at now.
Comics y’all, gotta love it.
Coates’ run on Black Panther was significant for a multitude of reasons. For starters, it’s just really fucking good. It has all the interesting ideas, compelling characterization, and just sheer comic book goodness one could want out of Black Panther comic. Off jump, you’re carried away to this beautiful afro-futurist vision that grabs you and doesn’t let go.
Also, Coates didn’t just revitalize Black Panther, he brought new life to his entire corner of the world. Under Coates’ tutelage, we got World of Wakanda, Rise of the Black Panther and Black Panther and the Crew, titles that expanded both our understanding of Wakanda and this Black Panther while also putting more Black faces both on the page and behind it. One of the cool things to see was how writers like Evan Narcisse and Roxane Gay told their own stories in this new Wakanda.
Lastly, there’s a whole ass arc called “The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda.” If that doesn’t have you rushing to your local comics shop to catch up on the back issues, I don’t what the fuck will. Like, we got space niggas. Niggas in space. Do you need more?
If you haven’t managed to read Coates’ run, I implore you to do so. You have more than enough time to grab the collected editions and get through the series before the final issue drops. Luckily, the start of the series also marked—surprise, surprise—a relaunch for Marvel comics, meaning that you can get into this run without having to read any of what came before it.