Black Panther's corner of the Marvel Universe continues to grow. In addition to "Black Panther" and "Black Panther: World of Wakanda," Marvel has announced via Time the launch of a new series, "Black Panther and the Crew."
The title, which spins out of a two-part storyline in "Black Panther" #7 and #8 that featured Black Panther and a group of heroes, will be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey and feature art by Butch Guice. The new "Crew" series will star Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Manifold and be set in Harlem.
The initial story will focus on what happens after an activist dies while in police custody. Coates spoke about the story's relevance to today's headlines, saying that "this is in the air. It’s not like I looked at a Black Lives Matter protest and was like, 'Hey, I want to write a comic about that.' But you’re confronted with it every day. So when I sat down to think about what is this story with four black protagonists about, and you start scribbling, that rises up. The events of the day are with me. It seemed like an opportunity to do something. It becomes clear in the first issue that the activist is not just an activist. There’s something more going on there."
The opening arc includes elements of crime stories with, as Coates says, "a Cold War aspect." "You see the events of today. There are also flashbacks to events of the Cold War. It all connects. The basic idea is each of these people for various reasons has a conflicted relationship with the neighborhood, Harlem."
"Black Panther and the Crew" will also star heroes that walk in both Marvel's street-level and global-level worlds. As Coates explained, "What does it mean to protect the street and protect the world? How are those things connected? What happens when T’Challa is walking down the street without his [Black Panther] uniform and people don’t recognize him, he’s just a black person? Same with Storm."
Coates says he was inspired by the initial volume called "The Crew," which was written by Christopher Priest with art by Joe Bennett and published in 2003
"Christopher Priest wrote what turned out to be a mini-series that I just adored called 'The Crew,'" said Coates. "Black Panther wasn’t in the original Crew, but he was weirdly sort of related because an ancillary character of his series was in the Crew. It was a unique book because the majority of the characters were black. So when I came back to write Black Panther, I read a bunch of Christopher Priest’s stuff, and I wanted to bring it back. I was going to try to do it with the same members that he had. But it became clear that certain characters would not be available for various reasons. So I decided to think about it in a different way and think about something new."