In the latest issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther, King T’Challa just became Emperor, a role he was never intended to play in the Marvel Universe.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Black Panther # 25
The latest issue of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther he’s here, watching King T’Challa turn into an emperor of galactic proportions. Since 2018, Black Panther has been at war with the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, which has been corrupted away from the ideals of the original Wakanda for several years. While their Emperor N’Jadaka wanted to conquer and claim Wakanda Prime, Black Panther assembled a massive defensive force, inducing several of his superhero allies into the Wakanda tribe. However, the end of the battle has had some dynamic consequences that T’Challa will now have to deal with in order to advance into a new era.
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Despite his best intentions, the origins of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda can be traced back to T’Challa himself. At the beginning of the Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña series, Black Panther sends a group of arranged Wakandans through a time-warped wormhole. Having been sent to the past, believe a second Wakanda among the stars, though one that soon abandons ideals to Wakanda in favor of creating an aggressive empire spanning five star systems and building on the backs of conquered slaves. When T’Challa discovers the existence of the empire, he is soon captured and stripped of his memories, becoming one of the slaves of the empire known as the Nameless. However, he is later restored by the resistance force known as the Maroons, and soon returns to Wakanda Prime with N’Jadaka in hot pursuit, wishing to conquer the kingdom of T’Challa as the crown jewel of the intergalactic empire.
Now, Black Panther # 25 de Coates, Daniel Acuña, Brian Stelfreeze, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino, sees the forces of T’Challa and N’Jadaka colliding in a massive battle, though it ultimately ends with the ruler attached to the symbiote being killed by Black Panther. As a consequence, Goddess Bast confirms that the surviving empire is now T’Challa’s to lead and reshape, as it was the Black Panther who was unknowingly responsible for its creation in the first place. However, this is by no means a role that T’Challa wants, and he confirms it to his love Storm.
Clearly, Coates has decided to end his pioneering time in Black Panther on an immensely epic and wild note. Much of his work has defined T’Challa’s unique identity struggle, as Black Panther has long been torn between his multiple roles as hero and king, as well as the man behind both. Now, the history of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda has added much more complexity. When Black Panther himself wonders and ponders how his own story will be told, Storm responds by saying that it will be “That of the king who wanted to be a hero, and the hero who was taken as a slave, and the slave who advanced into legend.. “
Like it or not, Black Panther is now the leader of a galaxy-spanning empire, and it will be up to him to transform it into a shining beacon of hope and light in the cosmos. While he may not have wanted it, becoming the new Emperor of a galactic Wakanda certainly seems to fit T’Challa, and it will be incredibly exciting to see where they are. Black Panther it goes from here as soon a new era begins.
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