Arguably one of Marvel’s most socially relevant comics, Black Panther and the Crew, has been canceled after only two issues. The book launched on April 21 and will now conclude with its forthcoming sixth issue.
Co-written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey, and illustrated by Butch Guice with covers by John Cassaday, this revival of Christopher Priest and Joe Bennett’s The Crew follows Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Manifold as they band together to solve the mystery behind a Harlem activist’s death. It weaves in themes of police brutality and racial injustice—themes not unfamiliar to Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of Between the World and Me.
Per The Verge, Coates claims the book is ending due to poor sales. Coates promised that the story’s core plot will be resolved in the title’s remaining issues, and explained that he felt Black Panther and the Crew was an opportunity for fans to explore Marvel’s black characters as they are: black people, not simply superheros.
This cancellation comes after comments Marvel’s VP of Sales David Gabriel made to ICv2 in early April, attributing declines in sales to retailer feedback saying that readers “didn’t want any more diversity.” He’s since clarified his statement, claiming that it was in regard to complaints of “false abandonment” of core heroes, and not about more diverse and inclusive characters “not working.”
Coates recently started on the second season of his acclaimed Black Panther run with new series artist Wilfredo Torres. You can revisit our review of issue one here.