Living in Wakanda for the past two years, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates adds on a new world to his universe this summer, telling the far-from-baseball-and-apple-pie story of Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Black Panther comic book scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates will write Captain America, he reported in The Atlantic today. His first issue will hit stores on the Fourth of July. Illustration legends Leinil Yu and Alex Ross are already at work drawing the books. Yu will create interiors and Alex Ross will draw its covers. For two years, Coates has lived in the world of Wakanda, writing Black Panther. While his work in Wakanda will continue, he adds the new world of Captain America to his universe this summer. “There’s a lot to unpack here,” he shared. Those who have yet to read a Captain America comic book or seen him in Marvel movies “would be forgiven for thinking of Captain America as an unblinking mascot for American nationalism.” Perhaps the most interesting and surprising thing about Captain America’s story, it turns out, is that it is steeped in irony:
Captain America begins as Steve Rogers—a man with the heart of a god and the body of a wimp. The heart and body are brought into alignment through the Super Soldier Serum, which transforms Rogers into a peak human physical specimen. Dubbed Captain America, Rogers becomes the personification of his country’s egalitarian ideals—an anatomical Horatio Alger who through sheer grit and the wonders of science rises to become a national hero.
Rogers’s transformation into Captain America is underwritten by the military. But, perhaps haunted by his own roots in powerlessness, he is a dissident just as likely to be feuding with his superiors in civilian and military governance as he is to be fighting with the supervillain Red Skull.Conspirators against him rank all the way up to the White House, causing Rogers to, at one point, reject the very title of Captain America.
At the end of World War II, Captain America is frozen in ice and awakens in our time—and this, too, distances him from his country and its ideals. He is “a man out of time,” a walking emblem of greatest-generation propaganda brought to life in this splintered postmodern time. Thus, Captain America is not so much tied to America as it is, but to an America of the imagined past. In one famous scene, flattered by a treacherous general for his “loyalty,” Rogers—grasping the American flag—retorts, “I’m loyal to nothing, general … except the dream.”
Read more of Coates’ look inside his new endeavor at The Atlantic. Coates first issue of Captain America hits stores on the Fourth of July. • Visit the Wakanda News Network at WakandaNews.com for more Black Panther and Wakanda world coverage.