This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on May 17, 2017.
Marvel Comics announced the cancellation of Black Panther and The Crew only a few days after its second issue was released. It was a disappointing piece of news that has led to a variety of bereaved farewells and criticisms across the comics internet. The series was the second spinoff from the popular new Black Panther series and featured co-writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey, the first black woman to ever write for Marvel Comics.
Black Panther and The Crew was a continuation of a previous series created by writer Christopher Priest and artist Joe Bennett. While many of the characters are different, both series feature a team of Marvel’s most popular black heroes confronting issues that affect their communities in New York City. The new iteration starred Black Panther, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Storm, and Manifold as they investigated the murder of a community organizer by police.
Now that the series is ending with its sixth issue, many of these characters will be unrepresented in the pantheon of Marvel Comics. The current Black Panther series is planned to continue and a new Luke Cage series will debut this week, but the others lack a series of their own. While Storm still features prominently amongst the X-Men, none of the other three will have their own titles and that’s a disappointing fact. The crew assembled for this series turned mini-series is an awesome collection and we think they would all be well served by their own series being more heavily marketed to fans of superhero comics, new and old.
Created By: Tony Isabella and Arvell Jones
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #21
Most Recent Solo Series: Daughters of the Dragon in 2005
One element of the new Cage series on Netflix received near unanimous praise: Misty Knight. The character has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe since her debut in 1975, even if it has often been in minor roles. Knight combines a potent set of elements (bionic arm, streetsmart detective, dangerous combatant) with an incredible will and plenty of attitude. She’s a blast to read about whether she’s investigating crime or beating down the bad guys who commit it.
It seems like an obvious jump to give Misty Knight her own series. Black Panther and The Crew was already largely built around her character, focused on her roots in the community of Harlem and as a police officer. Just like Daredevil or Luke Cage, Knight is perfectly suited to the street-level stories of the Marvel Universe, capably stumbling upon mysteries and putting up with the superpowered crooks of New York City. It’s time Misty Knight had her own comics instead of constantly sharing the cover.
Created By: Len Wein and Dave Cockrum
First Appearance: Giant Size X-Men #1
Most Recent Solo Series: Storm in 2014
Storm has had a much better run than Misty Knight when it comes to screen time (or should we say panel time?) in the Marvel Universe. If it weren’t for Wolverine, Storm would be the indisputable breakout character from the classic Giant Size X-Men #1. Her popularity has continued throughout 4 decades and seen her lead the X-Men and her own title more than once. That’s no surprise given the diverse range of Storm’s story, including her identities as a thief, orphan, queen, goddess, mutant, and so many others. There are a lot of Storm stories to tell and the Marvel Universe is far from running out of them.
That’s why Storm deserves her own title in the new X-Men lineup, if any character does. Her most recent solo series written by Greg Pak helped to illustrate the many ways in which Storm could carry her own title and how being a mutant was only one facet of this incredible character. She is capable of carrying globetrotting adventures and drawing stories outside of the superpower-wrecked canyons of New York City. While she may be back with the X-Men, Wolverine has already shown it’s not too hard to star in multiple series at once. It’s time Storm became a leader at Marvel and not just in the X-Men line.
Created By: Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli
First Appearance: Secret Warriors #4
Most Recent Solo Series: Never
Manifold (a.k.a. Eden Fesi) is the newest character to star in Black Panther and The Crew, and the one with the most unfulfilled potential. Since he debuted in Secret Warriors Manifold has been a recurring feature throughout writer Jonathan Hickman’s universal stories of the Marvel Universe. While Hickman has left the publisher, that’s no reason to let Manifold disappear. He has been a secret agent, Avenger, and key component of saving the entire Marvel universe in less than 10 years. His story shouldn’t stop with Secret Wars though.
Manifold’s unique ability to fold space gives him a form of teleportation that is much more complex than those possessed by most. He can warp the universe and has a unique perspective, as well as incredible power, as a result. It can be used aggressively, but offers many more opportunities to tackle stories about solving complex problems and scientific curiosities. It’s time Manifold appears in a highbrow science fiction series like the current Ultimates.
While we really want to see Misty Knight, Storm, and Manifold appear in their own series, the people involved in Black Panther and The Crew who are most deserving of receiving another series at Marvel Comics are the creators behind this comic. Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a total of 3 titles for the publisher to date, but will only be writing Black Panther after this series ends. We hope he has more comics plans, but it would be difficult to blame the incredibly talented writer for sticking with one title for a little while.
Yona Harvey is a great new discovery in the world of comics though and Marvel Comics ought to find her a new opportunity after this one ends. Working with Coates, she has shown her grasp of the medium and genre, while also revealing a much needed new perspective at the publisher. It would be a shame to see Harvey or any of the other talented collaborators like Butch Guice, Mack Chater, Scott Hanna, or Dan Brown leave Marvel Comics not of their own accord. There was a great crew behind Black Panther and The Crew and they deserve the support of their publisher. With any luck, the talented individuals will find that as this series closes another one will open. With a bit more luck, there will be more opportunities for others who can also bring new voices and underserved characters to the forefront of Marvel Comics.