Book Review – “Black Panther: Uprising” Finally Takes Ronald Smith’s T’Challa Back to Wakanda

Ronald L. Smith’s series of Black Panther books has been a hit, with The Young Prince and Spellbound becoming quintessential stories for a younger version of T’Challa than the one we typically see. Now, his third book, Black Panther: Uprising, reunites the Black Panther with the characters you’ve loved from the previous installments and still brings new elements as well.

For the first time in this book series, Uprising brings the Black Panther back to Wakanda. The previous two books have taken place in America, where T’Challa has made friends with two teenagers named Sheila and Zeke. Uprising flips the script and keeps T’Challa in his home nation where the threats ae very different and the dynamics make for a very different type of story.

One of the great things about this story remaining in Wakanda is that is allows for the book to tie into the lore of the fabled African nation. At this point, we know a lot of the stories and history of Wakanda but this book goes even deeper, which allows for some interesting new antagonists.Wakanda has had no shortage of enemies over the years and the dynamic of this nation and its people makes for some great stories for the villains.

It’s not just the villains that drive this stroy though. Of course T’Challa can once again carry this story on his own, but he is once again flanked by his two new American friends, who add some humor and levity to situation. There character who really gets her first chance to shine in this series is Shuri, whom Smith handles beautifully.

It should be noted that this series of books falls under the YA genre, with the stories focusing on young characters. However, this third installment feels the most outside of that box, due in large part to the Wakandan setting. The rich history of that country and its lore with Panther gods and magical metals doesn’t quite lend itself as well to a YA story as a foreign prince visiting Chicago for the first time.

On the flip side of that coin, being locked into Wakanda doesn’t allow for many connections to the greater Marvel Universe like we’ve seen in the previous two books. There’s obviously a lot of mention the Dora Milaje and King T’Chaka, but the character stay limited to that realm, whereas previous stories have featured some names that may have caught Marvel fans off guard and been a pleasant surprise.

Overall, Black Panther: Uprising is another great addition to this series. It doesn’t have that fun eeriness that Spellbound featured, but the return to Wakanda allowed this third book to separate itself from its two predecessors. It also manages to be different from the seemingly infinite Wakandan stories we’ve been told in the past, whether they be in comics or on the big screen. This is another great books for both young Marvel fans and Black Panther fans of any age.

Black Panther: Uprising is available now.