Rise of the Black Panther: Monarch Meets Monarch
Writer Evan Narcisse reveals what we can expect in issue #2, out next week!
T’Challa’s a new king and protector of Wakanda in the RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER: Secret Origin of the Black Panther by Evan Narcisse and Paul Renaud. He’s got a lot to learn in both positions, but things are about to get a lot more complicated in Issue #2 (out February 7) with the arrival of Namor the Sub-Mariner on the African Continent. In addition to solving the mystery of missing Wakandans, the Black Panther now has the clash with this underwater ruler to address. To get a better idea of this unclear moment for Wakanda’s new king, Marvel.com spoke with Evan Narcisse about the upcoming battle and who is behind the missing citizens.
Marvel.com: What’s been the response to Issue #1 so far? What do fans think of T’Challa’s origin story?
Evan Narcisse: The reaction has been largely positive. I’m trying to not dig too deep into abusing stuff and I don’t want it to mess with my head. A few friends have screenshotted [positive reactions] and sent me [them]. I think people really like getting to know more about T’Chaka and about N’Yami, T’Challa’s mother who really has not been written about much at all in the Black Panther mythos. I think [readers] like that stuff and I was happy to kind of flesh out some of the older generation of Black Panther characters in Issue #1, so that was great
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Issue #2 and the places the new king will find himself?
Evan Narcisse: In Issue #2, T’Challa unearths a cover-up that happened during the reign of his uncle, S’yan. S’yan was the person who became the Black Panther after T’Chaka got killed, so he ruled as regent while T’Challa was growing up. We see T’Challa basically find out about a mysterious occurrence during S’yan’s reign that he now has to figure out how to resolve. In doing so, he comes into conflict with [Namor], the Sub-Mariner. Namor is on the African continent because he’s on the trail of some traitors who have been working with people on the African continent.
In classic Marvel fashion, Namor and T’Challa fight and they wind up fighting a mutual foe. What’s more important is that we get to see some compare and contrast action with Namor and T’Challa. There’s some similarities between the two characters, but also big differences and it was fun to kind of mine to that tension. These characters have history going way, way back to the ‘70s when there was a classic DEFENDERS storyline that had them in political conflict and they bounce off of each other time and time again. There was a great moment during the Christopher Priest BLACK PANTHER series that started in 1998, the Sturm Und Drang storyline where there was a political conflict between multiple sovereign nations in the Marvel Universe and Namor and T’Challa went at each other there and then again in Jonathan Hickman’s NEW AVENGERS series where they were both members of the Illuminati.
Marvel.com: I’m glad you brought up Namor because that’s next question. What exactly is getting between the two rulers?
Evan Narcisse: Namor, traditionally, has needled T’Challa a lot; he’s a lot more brash and impetuous and T’Challa’s more thoughtful and considerate, so they’re kind of natural foils for each other and that comes to the fore in Issue #2. Basically, Namor gets attacked when he’s in Africa and he blames T’Challa; he happens to be very close to Wakanda. T’Challa, even after they resolve their conflict, has to decide what his stance toward the Sub-Mariner’s gonna be in the future now that he knows about him and now that Namor knows about Wakanda and their interaction kind of informs T’Challa’s decision to reveal Wakanda to the world. He’s like, ‘If us being a secret gives other people power, then we need to remove that power from them and basically come to the world on our own terms.’ We see the beginnings of that decision in Issue #2 and it does not go over well with other people in Wakanda.
Marvel.com: In what ways is T’Challa still growing as a king? What lessons does he still need to learn?
Evan Narcisse: He learns that being responsible for the security of Wakanda is gonna put him in the position of having to make some hard, moral decisions. Things, that from the outside looking in, look easy enough, but when you have to consider the ramifications, it’s a lot more tricky to navigate.
Marvel.com: There’s this aspect of the missing Wakandans. Can readers expect some classic Panther villains to begin popping up and claiming responsibility for these missing people?
Evan Narcisse: Not quite, but the main villain in the issue, and I don’t want to give it away, is a very particular, deep-cut character created by Roy Thomas who happens to align perfectly with some of Wakanda’s historical enemies. And that’s all I feel comfortable saying right now.
RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER #2, by Evan Narcisse, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Paul Renaud, emerges on February 7!
Can’t get enough? Watch Evan Narcisse discuss the world of Wakanda in “RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER” in this special video installment of This Week in Marvel podcast or listen/download the entire conversation here.
The Hype Box
Can’t-miss news and updates from across the Marvel Universe!