Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Black Panther in New Promo for "Secret Empire"

Secret Empire is the newest Marvel event post Monster Unleashed and IvX and whatever other events are going on right now (lol).

Black Panther joins the other Marvel Comics titans (plus Carol... lol) on this cover.

Let's hope T'challa stays far, far, far away from Hydra Cap though. Dude doesn't play.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Newest Tech Feat: Energy Daggers with a Punch

T'challa was able to set the frequency of his energy daggers to resonate with Captain Marvel. Thus, able to hurt the ghost of the Shaper of Worlds.

or... as a contigency plan for Carol (as she noted on the next page)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Black Panther #10 Spoilers and Thoughts


- Shuri meets with the MA and lays a verbal (and literal) smack down. Instead of hugs and kisses, she essentially threatens them. She admits Wakanda cannot defend themselves from both The People adn the MA... so if they march with Tetu, the armies of Wakanda will forsake the Golden City and burn the Jabari lands to the ground and kill every Dora that turned on them.

If the MA refrain from joining Tetu and stay in the Jabari lands... they will be spared. And they will be court marshaled after the People were defeated and possibly shown mercy.

The MA basically agree to stay out of it. They later tell Tetu and he isn't happy about it and leaves an dark warning about their future.

- The "royal council + Eden" meet and discuss what needs to be done. They state their forces are ragged and they will make the stand at the Golden City. The Revealer/Zenzi is the problem as she is making it so the regular grunts are basically super powered. T'challa has a plan to deal with it by bringing out Wakanda's good.

- T'challa goes to Changamire. They have an awkward at times but deep talk about lots of things. T'challa continues to confess that he doesn't not like being king but uses that to his advantage to get Changamire to help him. After taking Changamire to see Ramonda (she might be paralyzed), he finally gets Changamire to agree to help him... by inspiring Wakanda  to counteract Zenzi's hate.

This section is almost impossible to summarize and spoil and it really needs to be read in its entirety to get the subtle nuances and art changes that really define the conversation.

- The Wakandan armies are raised, preparing to defend the Golden City from the People.


- This was the best issue yet. This aired out many of the grievances I have had earlier in the run.

- Seeing someone finally defend T'challa was a breath of fresh air. Even T'challa defended himself, FINALLY. It felt like I was finally reading a book called Black Panther where Black Panther was driving the book, not some other side piece.

- It was also relieving to see Shuri act in character. It was always a fear that she would simply be turned into Bird Ramonda but she still had her attitude. Her talk with the MA was entirely in character and reminiscent of Doom War and the Desturi. The threat was refreshing as hell to see and really set the tone for this issue.

- T'challa's talk with Changamire was equally as entertaining. Despite many of the "I do not want to be king" comments... it felt different and more fleshed out. It also felt like T'challa was leading Changamire to conclusions he wanted him to reach in order to use him to help defeat Zenzi. It was a touch too apologetic IMO but solid none the less. Much better than I feared.

- So the MA have been put in their place. I have a feeling this isn't the end of this story however. I think they still have a part to play in this final battle.

- This is Coates at his finest. Lots of dialogue, no action, plot points coming together and advancing, along with throwing in (unneeded) literature references. The dialogue felt human yet sharp. Words were not wasted.

- So this run really comes down to issue #11. It needs to be action pact and it needs to deliver T'challa as the mother fucking Black Panther. Mopey pants needs to die, T'challa needs ot rise up and lead a smack down on The People.

If... IF IF IF IF Coates can do that... than #9-11 could save this run. Could. If. No pressure.

JUDGEMENT: Best issue yet of this run and carries momentum into #11. Won't change the mind of Coates (justified) haters but people more in the middle should enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #3 Thoughts and Spoilers

Quick Spoilers... 

- The Doras agree to break away from T'challa and be more open minded. Folami doesn't agree and runs away bitter.

- Ayo and Aneka ask for a vacation. It is granted and they go to New York.

- Shuri and Ramonda talk about T'challa. It is the first rational conversation about what he did during the Incursions we have seen. Only good part of the book honestly.

- Folami shows and and tattle tells about the Dora's breaking away. Shuri and Ramonda basically shame her and shoo her away. She ends up being stopped by some guy who gives her an address. Folami ends up there and seemingly gets super powers? I don't know where the hell this is going.

- Ayo/Aneka romance stuff. They are eventually told to get back to Wakanda because the Black Order is back and it seems too late.


- This book is a god damn waste of a good opportunity to explore so much about Wakanda in general or explore what happened to Wakanda in the various time jumps in Hickman's run.

- Instead, it moves at a break neck speed with the continued poor writing, painfully amatuerish dialogue, and meh story line. I don't see how this book propels the MA into popularity or does anything positive for the Black Panther mythos.

- The only decent panel Gay has done in three issues is the scene between Shuri and Ramonda. It was nuanced and adult like. A strict counter to the young adult romance crud we have been served throughout the rest of the book.

SHOULD YOU READ IT? No. Unless you are starving for LGBT representation in comics and will take whatever you can get.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Ultimates² #3 Spoilers and Thoughts

Quick Spoilers with some Thoughts...

- We will start with the cosmic story line I suppose since that is the real story line of this book. Order and Chaos kill the Living Tribunal. They try and kill Galactus but can't because of some cosmic hierarchy stuff. Galactus sends out Anti Man to find the Ultimates. Chaos and Order run off to find some other cosmic abstract dude (Inbetweener maybe? Honestly I stopped caring at that point) and they swallow him and form a new cosmic thing.

This book should really just be called, "Cosmic Marvel." The Ultimates haven't done anything worth a shit in the cosmic realm since they changed Galactus in issue #2.

This is kinda creepy

- And, for some dumb reason, Ewing decided we need to know more about this weird secret government group. So, we get some of that. I am not going into detail about it because I don't care. They decide they need to find out where the Ultimates are at because they are not supposed to be messing with the cosmic stuff anymore. They end up in Adam's lab and then end up on Galactus ship and confront the Ultimates.

Why we get more lines from this new government team is so beyond me that I just want to poke my eyes out after reading. We barely get any of the Ultimates in this cosmic crap anyway... so he further complicates that by adding in a government group that means nothing.

The "I Don't Cares" everybody!

- During all this... we get some boring talk on whether MAC or Galactus is leading the team. Oh and Anti-Man arrives after MAC makes a portal telling them Galactus needs help. It means nothing to the book and feels like "oh shit, I need to add in the actual title team." I think T'challa says a sentence, if that. It doesn't mean anything.

Maybe next issue the Ultimates will actually do something. Probably not though. I'm over this book.

This is T'challa's only sentence

SHOULD YOU READ IT? Only if you like what Ewing has done with the cosmic stuff so far. If you care about the actual members of the Ultimates, then no.

MCU Black Panther

Friday, January 20, 2017

Black Panther and the Crew Ongoing Announced!

This didn't catch any Black Panther fan off guard at all, as many of us have been speculating Coates had this up his sleeve as soon as the new Crew appeared in Black Panther. Yona Harvey of "Zenzi back up" fame is co-writing. I liked the Zenzi back up story so that's cool.

This is a weird premise, considering Defenders is going on at the exact same time (and makes more sense). But, i'd rather see street level T'challa than giant cosmic heads T'challa so, I will roll with it.

Part of me is cautiously optimistic. Luke Cage is my 3rd favorite hero so that's awesome. This should be more in Coates wheelhouse as it is more "real" than Wakanda. And Black Panther got top billing so that's awesome.

But... so far, Black Panther has been third fiddle in two books with his name on it, in Ultimates he doesn't really do anything, and I am not confident that Coates didn't just put him in this book for sales.

So, we will see.

Here is an interview about the book: http://time.com/4639911/ta-nehisi-coates-is-expanding-the-black-panther-universe-with-the-crew/

[Yes, I need to do reviews for World of Wakanda and Ultimates but they were so disappointing that this took precedence. -- Shadow]

Thursday, January 19, 2017

T'challa in The Mighty Captain Marvel #1

Pretty sad he got more lines here than he did in Ultimates and World of Wakanda combined....

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

T'challa and Shuri in Monsters Unleashed #1

- I didn't see this coming at all. Just ran into it on accident.

- The poor, poor Golden City is destroyed once again...

- Not only T'challa but Shuri appeared as well. You don't see that often. And with the new costume.

- And of course, true to form, right when we were about to get a cool T'challa feat (taking down the monster)... it cuts away. DAMN YOU WORLD!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Panther Powers Part 7: The HSH is Toxic? (conclusion)

This is Part 7 of a multiple post series going over the details and intricacies of the multiple sources of superpowers in Wakanda and how they have changed over the years. 

In Part 7, we take all the information we know about the Heart Shaped Herb and its potential toxicity and try and come up with some reasonable fan theories to make it all "work."]

When we first looked at the HSH toxicity, we went over what was shown to us, on panel, in regards to the herb nearly killing Killmonger.

We then went over the on panel instances where the HSH was shown to be non-toxic or implied to be non-toxic.

We are now going to try and fanfic a solution to this curious aspect of the Black Panther mythos using the facts that we have at our disposal.

But first, let's get this out of the way: I am fully aware that the real reason is simply that no one really cares about the history of Wakanda and the history of the Heart Shaped Herb, so the various writers told their story without thinking about the implications of what they were writing. Priest killed Killmonger because he wanted to (and maybe was going to get around to explaining what truly happened but it got cut short). Hudlin re-emphasized the tournament and Bast's explicit contribution, Spider-Man eating it, ect because that is the story he wanted to tell.

But, as comic book nerds and Black Panther fanatics, we owe it to ourselves to figure out what Marvel won't. So without further adeau...

1. The HSH IS poisonous outside the royal bloodline.... and superhuman individuals

- This theory keeps it simple. Parker is enhanced enough to not feel the effects of the herb. S'yan offered it to Storm because Storm is a mutant and powerful enough to handle the herb without the negative effects. Zawadi is nothing but conjecture and can't be proven she took the herb on panel.

Using this theory, you can also state that the herb kills the person before they can even be connected to or reach Bast.

The biggest issues with this theory is the Kasper Cole situation, why T'challa was so shocked and pissed Killmonger bit the dust, and that the entire one day tournament is rigged beyond belief.

2. The HSH reacted negatively with Killmonger's enhancements

- We have no idea what Killmonger did to give himself his powers. Despite Erik being one of the most well known and most frequent adversary to T'challa, we have never gotten a proper origin story to how he made himself into a metahuman fighting machine.

Perhaps whatever sorcery, chemistry, experiments, ect that Killmonger did to himself simply mixed with the chemical properties of the HSH, thus nearly killing him. In his capitalistic ways, he turned this set back into a money making venture, creating a "synthetic" version of the herb and creating a story about the toxic nature of the herb.

This theory is... boring but effective. It allows for Killmonger's near death to simply be a one-off thing that no future writer has to worry about. It works, but it feels kinda lazy.

3. Hunter poisoned the HSH

- Hunter acted like a shady MOFO right before Killmonger bit the dust. These backhanded methods of getting what he wants fits right up his ally. The biggest strike to this theory is that no one ever figured it out, including T'challa. But it is a personal favorite of mine because it is something Hunter would do.

4. The HSH wasn't prepared properly

- We have seen instances where the HSH needed to be prepared by elders to be used effectively. Perhaps Killmonger eating it like an apple wasn't the best idea in the world.

Unfortunately, we saw both Spider-Man and Shuri eat the herb with little to no preparation and the first appearance of the HSH had T'challa eating it raw, so, this theory is not greatest fit.

5. Bast judged Killmonger unworthy of the title

- This is my personal favorite theory and likely the best fit.

We know the Panther powers have some component of the Panther God/Bast involved since way back in Gillis's mini series. This got adapted further by Hudlin and then even more by Hickman.

The HSH doesn't directly give you the powers, but Bast does. The HSH "connects" you to Bast, and you are then judged. Wakanda lore states that those who are unworthy are destroyed, but we saw Shuri deemed unworthy and lived. And, Bast works in mysterious ways and is never, ever straightforward. Whether its sparing Shuri, or seeing the future and doing nothing about it, or letting Doom take all the vibranium... Bast is a fickle, irritating God.

It is also important to note that Priest outright said that the HSH connects you to the Panther God. So even in Priest's continuity, the connection is that. 

So, Killmonger was brought before Bast or had his spirit connected to Bast, Bast saw nothing by evil and vanity, deemed him unworthy of the Black Panther title, and put him in a coma. She didn't outright kill him as that would have permanently put an asterisk on T'challa's Black Panther career, her favored son.

The only flaw to this theory is that it wasn't shown on panel. Otherwise, it checks all the boxes, fits with the current mythos established by Hudlin, Mayberry, and Hickman. and makes the Killmonger mess as neat and tidy as possible.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

December 2016 Sales Report

Black Panther #9 featuring the confused Midnight Angels


And the downward slide continues. It is clear at this point that Coates lost a big chunk of his previous audience of the book... which isn't stunning when you continually beat on the title character while propping up new characters no one cares about.

Sales are still safe, even good. But, we know BP can sell in the 50K+ range now. So this is disappointing that the story isn't keeping the interest of the people. To lose such a large chunk mid-way through is bizarre.

For comparisons sake...

-  Dr. Strange #9: 46K
- All New Wolverine #9: 43K
- Daredevil #9: 43K
- Moon Knight #9: 29K
- Hydra Cap #9:
- Old Man Logan #9: 49.8K
- Miles #9: 39.7K
- Jane Thor #9: 48.7K
- Captain Marvel #9: 24.7K

Here is the updated look at T'challa completely publication history:

We are in much more familiar territory now. Hudlin #9 sold 40K, Priest #9 sold 36.9K. It is HARD to compare comic eras for sales but... yeah......

Ultimates² #2, featuring more giant cosmic heads and monologues:


And we are right where we left off after the very unnecessary relaunch/rebrand. The new dumb name didn't fool a soul.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #2, featuring T'challa expected to be served in all ways:


This number is, frankly, bullshit. And not because I hate the title lol. It is really inflated.

WoW 2 ranked 46th in sales based on units SHIPPED. Which is where this number comes from. Unforutantely, based on DOLLARS... it ranked 94th. For comparisons sake, BP#9 ranked 61st in unis but 44th in actual money taken in.

WoW2 was either horribly over ordered or Marvel over shipped it on purpose like they have been known to do.

So, WoW fans, I wouldn't get too excited by this number.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Panther Powers Part 6: The HSH is Toxic? (continued)

This is Part 6 of a multiple post series going over the details and intricacies of the multiple sources of superpowers in Wakanda and how they have changed over the years. 

In Part 6, we continue our research into the revelation that the heart shaped herb is toxic... with specific instances of the HSH being shown to NOT be toxic.]

When Killmonger woke up from his HSH coma, he stated that the HSH was toxic outside the Line of Bashenga.

Well, we challenge this assertion by looking at the history of the HSH a little bit deeper and pointing out some instances that contradict Killmonger's statement.

1. Zawadi apparently took the Herb with no ill effects

- I cannot find an on panel source for this but it is listed in every entry of Zawadi I can find online. Supposedly, she ate the HSH, getting all the powers from it, and is not of royal lineage at all. Just a warrior woman who apparently likes to fight monsters. If anyone has a scan of this, I would love it, but I read the only story of her I can find and didn't see it so... *shrug*

2. Peter Parker ingested the herb with no ill effects

- When Peter Parker was dying mysteriously, he came to Wakanda to try to find out what was going on. T'challa let him take the HSH and... nothing happened. Not positively or negatively. It had zero effect on him. T'challa offered it too him freely as well. No warning labels, no "bruh this might kill you." Just straight up handed him a bowl of HSH salad, hoping it would reverse whatever was killing him.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2

3. S'yan expected Storm to undergo the Rite of Ascension 

- When T'challa was put into a coma by Doom, a new Black Panther needed to be named in order to protect the country. As Queen, Storm was tasked with choosing that person. When Storm stated she would not be the one doing it, S'yan was stunned.

So, unless S'yan wanted Storm to die (she was an outsider... lol) and was a cold blooded, bitter dude, it makes no sense for him to assume Storm would undergo the Rite of Ascension and take the HSH.

Deadliest of the Species #2

4. The tournament and tribal challenges

- Kirby and Hudlin introduced the annual tournament for the title of Black Panther. It gives every ordinary citizen a chance to take on the current Black Panther, and if they should win, they are allowed to take the Rite of Ascension, take the HSH, and become the Black Panther.

That entire system makes absolutely no sense if the tournament is rigged and the person drops dead at the end. Can you imagine the riots that would occur if someone defeated the Black Panther and then dropped dead at the end, only for the previous Panther to take back the title by default?

The Tribal Challenges are equally as ridiculous if the new chieftain ends up dead every time.

Hudlin #2

In Part 7, we continue this discussion and use some fan fiction to try and make sense of the HSH is toxic revelation.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Panther Powers Part 5: The HSH is Toxic? The Curious Case of Killmonger

[This is Part 5 of a multiple post series going over the details and intricacies of the multiple sources of superpowers in Wakanda and how they have changed over the years. 

In Part 5, we dive into one of the most curious revelations about the Heart Shaped Herb... it's toxic?]

In issues #24-25 of Priest's Black Panther run, Erik Killmonger won the right to have access and ingest the sacred Heart Shaped Herb...

and it straight up killed him. Instantly killed him right on the spot.

That. Makes. No. Sense.

This death contradicts so much of what we learned about the Black Panther mythos and the Rite of Ascension. And this death further complicates the mythos after Hudlin's various retcons as well.

So first, let's do a play-by-play of exactly what happened on panel to try and see if we can make some sort of sense and possibly fanfic some scenarios where Killmonger's apparent death doesn't make everything so screwy.

Priest #21

- T'challa and Killmonger engaged in a Tribal Challenge, ending with Killmonger victorious and T'challa just about dead. Ross saves T'challa by forfeiting the challenge and Killmonger becomes the chieftain, the Black Panther.

Priest #24

- T'challa retains the title of King of Wakanda.

- Later in Tchalla's office, Hunter mentions that they (T'challa and him) should kill Killmonger. Killmonger enters the room and Hunter and Killmonger bicker back and forth. Hunter mentions that Killmonger is not the chieftain until he finished the Rite of Ascension.

- T'challa waives the Rite of Ascension and mentions that Hunter is setting Killmonger up. Hunter mentions that Killmonger will be dead by dawn.

- Killmonger demands to partake in the Rite of Ascension anyway.

- Killmonger begins the Rite of Ascension. It is modified by the Tribal Council due to his enhancements. He defeats the warriors easily anyway.

- The next step of the Rite of Ascension is about to start (journey to the HSH). Hunter tells Zuri that it is pointless as the King waived all the Rites and to just give Killmonger the HSH.

- Killmonger eats the herb and instantly drops dead.

Priest #25

- Ross narrates that T'challa was "caught by surprise" by Killmongers death. T'challa orders the surgeons to be summoned despite Hunter stating it's over and Erik is dead. T'challa has him placed on life support anyway.

- T'challa is now chieftain by default which is humiliating.

Priest #61

- T'challa tells Kasper to stop the Rite of Ascension. He mentions, out loud to Kasper, that the situation has changed. He talks about him loosing his title of chieftain and how his challenger (Erik) ate the HSH and how it nearly killed him and put him in a catatonic state. And that Killmonger has woken up and is the rightful chieftain.

- Kasper inner monologues how he needs the "bag of dirt."

- Killmonger appears in New York. He and Kasper fight. During a break in the Tribal Challenge, Killmonger basically spells out for him that Kasper isn't going to win this fight. They begin to talk about the HSH. Killmonger states that the herb is toxic to anyone outside the Line of Bashenga. Killmonger says he analyzed it and created a synthetic version that should be non-toxic.

Those are the 100%, on-panel facts.

There are three important aspects I find interesting about that chain of events:

1. Hunter's Behavior

- Throughout the entire process, Hunter was being shady as hell. He wants Killmonger dead, threatens Killmonger to his face, says Killmonger will be dead by dawn if he takes the Rite of Ascension, T'challa tells Killmonger he is being set up, Hunter watches said Rite and just tells Zuri to get it over with and give Killmonger the HSH, and then watches Killmonger drop dead just like Hunter said he would.

Once Killmonger dropped, Hunter got what he wanted (T'challa was chieftain once again) and didn't want to obey T'challa when he was told to summon the surgeon. Hell, Hunter's Hatut Zeraze were there to even put a coat over his dead body.

2. T'challa's Reaction to Killmonger's Death

- Killmonger drops dead and T'challa refuses to accept it and summons for the surgeon and puts him on life support. This was not "calm, cool, poker face" T'challa. He demands for Hunter to obey him and then starts CPR immediately.

T'challa getting the title back this way is a slap in the face and humiliating. It is not the way to gain the peoples trust or the tribal councils trust. Killmonger dying before T'challa can regain his honor is a complete failure for T'challa.

So, if it is humiliating for T'challa to get the title back this way... why would T'challa not only let Killmonger ingest the HSH but also fast track the process? How could T'challa of all people not know the HSH is toxic outside his lineage? You are telling me none of the other tribal elders who consider the herb sacred knew it was toxic?

3. Kasper Cole's Rite of Ascension

- So let's take everything up to Kasper's Rite of Ascension at face value. So we know the HSH put Killmonger in a coma. We know T'challa knows this as he there when it happen and later tells Kasper straight to his face that it will likely kill him and it did kill Killmonger.

So why is T'challa letting Kasper do this? Why is he dangling this poisonous carrot in front of his face? Kasper was 100% clear on his motivations to demanding the Rite of Ascension. T'challa either wants to kill Kasper, plans on him losing, or is being a really big dickhead. He didn't know Killmonger was going to wake up right when the Ascension Rite was about to start so the whole, "T'challa was 6 steps ahead and knew Killmonger would give him the synthetic version" argument doesn't fly. As T'challa said, "things changed" after the Rite started.

I realize he was trying to teach Kasper some sort of lesson and see what kind of person he was and where his loyalties were but, my lord, that just really doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny when you factor in Kasper's motivation for the whole thing.

In Part 6, we continuing discussing the curious case of Killmonger and look at some of the on panel contraindications of the HSH being poisonous outside the line of Bashenga.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Panthers Powers Edit: Missed Kirby #8

I was hanging out on CBR's Black Panther thread and someone posted a scan of T'challa winning a tribal challenge and immediately went... DAMNIT!

I am not a big Kirby fan, so I haven't read his BP story more than a couple times. So I completely forgot about the few panels at the beginning of #8 that detail T'challa winning the throne for the first time.

So, I have gone back and edited Panther Powers #3 to reflect the new information I found.

It is hilarious that you research and read and read and search and read for a post and then find something a week after you finish it. Oh well.