If you picked up Black Panther #7 a few months ago you know that T’Challa put in a call for help to some old and new friends. Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Storm, and Manifold answered the call and were renamed The Crew by a quite overzealous Cage. For those that might not know, the original Crew was a team made up of War Machine, Josiah X (son of Isaiah Bradley), Casper Cole, and Junta in a series created by legendary Black Panther writer Christopher Priest and artist Joe Bennett. Fans of the original were excited about the nod in that issue of Black Panther and as usual wanted more because we’re greedy like that! Well it looks like we’ll be getting our wish because it was announced in an interview with Time that Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey will helm Black Panther & The Crew! The artist for the series hasn’t been announced yet but there is some cover art by John Cassaday to feast your eyes on.
The original series was an intense crime drama that brought these four men together but there were several underlying themes that Priest wove into the story giving it a visceral feel that hit home to many young Black readers though it was never a series that was about race. The Crew also took place in Brooklyn but Black Panther & The Crew moves uptown to Harlem. A location, that according to Coates, the members have “conflicting” ties to.
“What does it mean to protect the street and the world? How are those things connected? What happens when T’Challa is walking down the street without his [Black Panther] uniform on and people don’t recognize him, he’s just a Black person? Same with Storm.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The majority of the new Crew has a background that fits them almost perfectly in this type of scenario. Aside from the obvious Cage and Knight you’ve got Storm who may not have grown up in Harlem but the streets of Cairo are just as rough and she’s dealt with her fair share of street level crime from NYC to Japan. A depowered Black Panther cut his teeth as protector of Hell’s Kitchen at Daredevil’s request a while back but the somewhat newcomer here will be Manifold. He’s an Aboriginal hero from Kata Tjuta, Australia who we’ve seen here and there over the years and has had a few big moments but it will be good to get a little more depth on this character.
Coates did state in his interview that he was interested in using the original team members however, that wouldn’t be possible for various reasons. The most obvious would be James Rhodes aka War Machine due to him being killed by Thanos in Civil War II. For the rest of the members they haven’t been seen since the series ended so one can only speculate as to why (at least for now) we won’t be seeing them. But I’d love to see what Coates and Harvey would do with a character like Josiah X or Kasper Cole but I guess any adventures involving them will have to remain in my mental fan fiction.
So what are your thoughts on the new team of Cage, Knight, Storm, Manifold, and Black Panther? Who would you like to see be named for the artist? Are you ready for more tense yet slightly awkward scenes with Storm and T’Challa? Oh, and can we get those two back together, please? Thanks.