It’s been something of a persistent rumor for months that Ta-Nehisi Coates, regular columnist for The Atlantic, and more recently famous for writing Black Panther, was going to take over Captain America from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Well, rumor has become fact and Coates has announced that he’s to take over Captain America with Leinil Yu on art and Alex Ross on covers starting on July 4th.
To say this is huge is something of an understatement. Coates has made his run on Black Panther stand out with its unflinching eye toward deconstructing the idea of one of the most backwards forms of governance there ever was being at the masthead of an otherwise advanced nation. That critical eye has always been useful toward any good Captain America run (see the original Secret Empire, The Man Who Bought America, or really any of Ed Brubaker’s run), and Coates’ thoughts here paint a pretty optimistic picture of what his approach to Captain America will be. He’s pretty canny about what it is Captain America at his best represents: an optimism in the American Dream and what the weak can accomplish when given means, all things that are obviously fodder for any writer worth their salt.
Considering what an… interesting take the post-Hail HYDRA Captain America turned out to be, it’s good that Marvel is bringing someone in who can add intelligent commentary to the table. To say that Captain America shouldn’t be political is obtuse at best, and an outright lie at worst. From the beginning, Captain America has been a political comic. Considering the themes of his work such as Between The World and Me, having someone like Coates who can tap into that from a different direction will end up proving fruitful. It also helps to relieve some of the annoyance from the weirdly hostile way Sam Wilson was unceremoniously dumped as Captain America, and with any luck this will prove to be a fitting companion to seminal Captain America runs of the past. I for one look forward to Captain America getting a clear road ahead in the future.