4:30 pm EST, January 9, 2018

4 ‘Black Panther’ comics to read ahead of the movie

T’Challa’s solo film is fast approaching. We’ve collected some essential comics to read to prepare you ahead of the premiere.

If you’ve had a hankering for more T’Challa in your life, but can’t hold out until Black Panther hits the big screen, these comics will certainly tide you over.

Related: Our ultimate Black Panther character guide

From T’Challa’s heroic origins, to Skrull invasions, to the first appearance of the now-iconic Dora Milaje, there’s plenty to keep you going through February 16.

‘Black Panther’ – Christopher Priest

Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel

Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run has become beloved amongst Marvel fans for a variety of reasons — not least because it introduced the Dora Milaje for the very first time. The tone of the book, owed partly to the fact that it was published via the adult-focused Marvel Knights imprint, is more contemporary and realistic than earlier iterations of the character.

Though Christopher Priest’s time on Black Panther introduced some of the staples we’ve now come to expect in T’Challa’s story, it has become something of a product of its time. Told predominantly from the perspective of Everett K. Ross, an agent of the U.S. government, T’Challa often feels like a side character in his own comic.

If you’re looking for stories that seem to have directly influenced the upcoming movie, check out issues #16 through #20, an arc known as “Killmonger’s Rage,” which will have relevance to those looking to get more insight into Black Panther’s antagonist.

‘Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?’ – Reginald Hudlin

Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel

Looking for a quick, self-contained read, that tells you all about Black Panther’s origins in a nutshell, as well as a brief history of Wakanda? Then this six-issue run by Reginald Hudlin is the one for you.

The perfect primer for Black Panther, it covers everything from the Panther’s origin and legacy, to his relationship with his family and people, to his skill as a leader, to introducing you to key antagonists in T’Challa’s life. If you want more information on Ulysses Klaw, who will be making an appearance in the movie, this run is essential — it sets up some key motivations for Klaw’s desire to take down T’Challa and Wakanda.

‘Black Panther: Secret Invasion’ – Jason Aaron

Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel

At only three issues long, collected together in one volume, this Secret Invasion tie-in is the shortest Black Panther story on this list, but it packs a lot of punch in that limited amount of time.

The Skrulls, an alien race that will first be seen in Captain Marvel in the MCU, attack Wakanda and they get a lot more than they bargained for. The Wakandans are a serious force to be reckoned with, as you’ll see when you pick this story up.

Don’t worry about not being able to follow the wider Secret Invasion plot. This title is a true standalone, and doesn’t require any additional reading to enjoy it.

‘Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet’ – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Black Panther is still ongoing, but is absolutely worth picking up and following. A Nation Under Our Feet asks some tough questions of T’Challa, such as how can you balance ruling a nation with being a hero?

Coates expertly reacts to modern political and social issues, weaving them into the story, and it is essential reading for anyone who found themselves a fan of T’Challa following Civil War. Equally, the Wakandans themselves are major players in the story — from T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda, to the Dora Milaje, to his sister Shuri.

A Nation Under Our Feet is beloved already by fans and critics alike, and for good reason. If you’re looking for a series to keep you going to the Black Panther premiere, you can’t go wrong with this one.

What Black Panther comics would you recommend ahead of the premiere?

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