Pros: Political maneuvering and the stresses of ruling a country are at their finest here. In addition, this book doubles down on the moral ambiguity of both the heroes and villains.
Cons: Once again, if you are looking for a “standard” superhero story which just focuses on action and fighting, this may not be the series for you.
Overall: This book is mostly about a propaganda war between two political parties. Don’t let that boring description discourage you though, as it is one of the more interesting political chess matches shown in recent comics. It is well written, emotional, and complex in a way that will leave readers questioning their own feelings about our hero’s actions. If you liked Book One then you will not be disappointed with Book Two.
In addition to the Black Panther series, this collection also includes Jungle Action #6-7 and a short preview of Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1. However, since these supplementary materials are completely separate from the rest of the story, we will not be reviewing it in this review.
Black Panther Vol. 2- A Nation Under Our Feet Book Two takes what the first volume did and runs with it. Thusly, similar themes and styles are present between the two books. The story is still deeply political and relies more on political maneuvering than it does on physical fighting, though there is a larger accompaniment of traditional superhero action than what was found in the first volume. In addition, there is more world building and relationship forming to be found in here as well. Overall, if you liked what was done in this series’ first book then you will like what is done here. However if the first book did not match your preferences then things will not likely improve here.
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This story starts out with Black Panther laying down some Wakandan justice on a group of terrorists who are preparing for a wave of suicide bombings. It is a nice moment of action that starts to show the reader how far T’Challa is willing to go in order to stop this insurrection. This continues in the immediate next scene, where he has a meeting with several men who are famous for using vile and evil methods in order to keep populations subdued. They suggest torture and murder as the path to peace, things which T’Challa ultimately rejects. Yet the mere fact that he even entertains these notions is sinister in its own way, something that does not help him when the details of this meeting are leaked to the public.
Through these actions, Ta-Nehisi Coates seems to, once again, be calling the monarchy of Wakanda into question. It is hard to argue that the people of this nation should have no say in its government. Yet this is exactly what our hero is arguing. Images of regular people engaging in peaceful protests for voting rights are what struck a chord with me and made me question the morality of T’Challa’s rule. Coates appears to be building something with all of this, and I am really looking forward to seeing what it is.
After the political maneuvering is finished, Black Panther teams up with a group of other heroes, going by the title of “The Crew,” in order to discredit and dismantle the People, the revolutionary group he is fighting. It is an action packed scene full of some standard super-heroics. It also helps to extend Black Panther’s connections outside of Wakanda and show he is part of a larger world. The end result of these actions is that Black Panther shows the public what the People are willing to sacrifice in order to reach their goals, thus continuing the political back and forth between the Crown and the People.
While all of this is happening, T’Challa’s sister Shuri is going through her own adventures. In her coma, she has fallen into the collective memory of Wakanda and is taking an introspective trip through their history and culture. A lot of world building is done here. We learn a little about many different pieces of Wakanda, though how these pieces fit together has yet to be revealed. This book ends with T’Challa finally succeeding in waking his sister, so hopefully we will begin to see her put the pieces together very soon.
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While not as visually striking as the artwork in the first volume, Chris Sprouse does a great job with this volume. Stylistically things look extremely similar. It seems as if Chris Sprouse tried to emulate Brian Stelfreeze’s art as closely as possible, so the flow of reading should not be interrupted much by this changing of the guard. If you want to read more about what we thought of the art in the first volume you can see it right here.
Black Panther Vol. 2: A Nation Under Our Feet Book Two is the second volume of this Black Panther comic series. It flows directly out of the events of Black Panther Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet Book One (Review) and will continue in Black Panther Vol. 3: A Nation Under Our Feet Book Three.
This volume also references stories from other comic books, all of which are detailed below:
- T’Challa mentions that Eden once “died so that the world might live.” This happened in Secret Wars.
- Namor and the Black Order’s attacks on Wakanda are mentioned. These things happen in Avengers vs. X-Men and Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 1, respectively.
- Tony Stark jokingly mentions Ezekiel Stane’s girlfriend. He is talking about Sasha Hammer, who is first shown dating Stane in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: The Five Nightmares.
- Tony also mentions the death of Sasha Hammer’s mother, which happens in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 11: The Future.
- T’Challa mentions Doom using nanites to infiltrate Wakandan society. This happened in Doomwar.
- Upon her departure, Storm mentions things being “annulled.” This is a reference to the Black Panther annulling their marriage in Avengers vs. X-Men.
- The current condition of T’Challa’s sister, and T’Challa’s role in it, is due to the events of Time Runs Out Vol. 1.