WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Black Panther: Long Live the King #4!
This is a good year to be a fan of the Black Panther. With a blockbuster movie soon to hit the box office, Marvel Comics is making sure there are a lot of top-quality Black Panther comics out there. In addition to the ongoing series, the publisher has launched an exclusive digital series, Black Panther: Long Live the King. The latest arc is written by Aaron Covington, who co-wrote Creed with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. He's charting a story that's facing T'Challa against some of his most iconic enemies.
The story continues an arc helmed by Nnedi Okorafor and Andre Lima Araujo (they'll return to finish their storyline). According to Okorafor, the arc aims to reveal corners of Wakanda fans have never seen so far. In an interview with Comicon, she explained:
"I had a lot of questions about Wakanda, so I brought the lens deep into it. You’ll see the Black Panther interacting with tech-hacking village kids, vibranium-affected wildlife, and off-grid communities in Wakanda known as “mute zones”. Not only is this a deeply personal story about T’Challa, you’ll also see a side of the African country of Wakanda that no one’s seen before."
It all builds on the foundation laid by Ta-Nehisi Coates in his regular series, and #4 sees the nation of Wakanda in dire straits. A would-be mystic known as Baron Macabre has resurrected M'Baku, the Man-Ape, and is seeking to revive the White Gorilla cult. T'Challa has been forced to go off the grid, and Wakanda is burning. Judging by the preview below, the Black Panther is only beginning to get a measure of the threat he's facing. He's now aware of the Man-Ape's return, but can he possibly stop Baron Macabre's plans? Take a look at the preview pages below:
Baron Macabre is certainly a deep cut for Marvel fans. Created back in 1974, Baron Macabre is a classic Black Panther villain who learned the secrets of the Resurrection Altar. Although he's not a sorcerer in his own right, using the Resurrection Altar he can literally raise the dead. More disturbingly, Macabre can also use this terrifying power to mutate humans. It's possible the Man-Ape will be more powerful than ever before as a result.
Covington is supported by art from Mario DelPennio. But this is no ordinary comic; it's one of Marvel's digital exclusives, optimized for Amazon's ComiXology and Kindle. That format gives the creative team an unusual edge, allowing them to use panels and animations in a way that's impossible on the printed page. The preview should be taken as only a hint of the action and adventure that readers will experience if they purchase the comic from Amazon.
Black Panther: Long Live the King is a ComiXology Originals release from Marvel, released on a biweekly schedule by Marvel exclusively on Amazon’s ComiXology platform.