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Black Panther Annual #1 Review!

Jabari Jondee here at Wakanda,

The Black Panther film is out and this week we had something special for comic books; a return of some of the most iconic writers for Black Panther comics! The regular cover by Daniel Acuna has Black Panther leaping out with claws out surrounded by the Dora Mialje and Everett Ross. The variant cover by Brian Stelfreeze has Black Panther leaping with his arms out through the jungle. Christopher Priest had a great run on the third volume of Black Panther under the Marvel Knights banner starting in 1998. He is currently writing Justice League for DC Comics. His story, “Back in Black”, features art by Mike Perkins. It deals with Priest’s character, Everett Ross, changed upside down by his foot as ritual drums pound. He flashes back to Brooklyn where he hears the thumping not of drums, but rap. He sees upside several soldiers in white panther outfits. He is attempting to tell his story to authorities who are confused over his narrative. They mention Everett being thrown into a shark tank and he notes shooting outside of an Uber car.

Everett shifts to a dead man who was carrying a diplomatic pouch containing Black Panther’s climate shield. Ross was at the Office of Foreign Missions at the State Department trying to refuse assignment since it might tangle with the Black Panther again. He ordered the Uber car when the Hatut Zeraze, the Dogs of War, pursue him. They are led by Hunter, the adopted brother of T’Challa, who has Everett suspended over “The Great Shark Escape” in a theater. He is seeking the climate shield to weaponize it on a missile. Hunter sends Ross into the tank and he kicks away a shark. Everett Ross is freed by energy daggers thrown by Malice. Ross explains that she was one of the Dora Milaje named Nakia. She throws energy daggers at the Dogs of War to control them. They get in a car and Everett has his scene shooting. Then, we see Malice has all of the Dogs of War under her control. Then, we get Everett Ross tied up at the beginning. The interrogating agent leaves and then we see Black Panther in the room. This story has Priest’s humor and is open ended so this leaves room for more issues.

The next story is by Don McGregor responsible for many classic Black Panther stories including “Panther’s Rage.” The story, “Panther’s Heart”, has art by Daniel Acuna. It picks up with Black Panther’s love for Monica Lynne even though they broke up. McGregor dedicates the story to two artists whom we have lost; Rich Buckler and Billy Graham. Black Panther is making a dangerous climb up a snowy cliff. He has made his way up the mountain to find the Heart-Shaped Herb used to make him Black Panther. The artwork reminds me of Gene Colan’s “Panther’s Quest” artwork. Black Panther makes his way leaping down the mountain while thinking of Monica. Then, we get Black Panther using acrobatics to cross the Golden City. He reaches the platform with his friend and military advisor, W’Kabi and he apologizes to T’Challa about Monica. He thinks back to his time with Monica through a series of images. Then, he sees his mother, Ramonda. T’Challa explains his sorrow over losing Monica to cancer. He places the Heart-Shaped Herb in her casket and leaves. Very somber, mixing action, with some strong, dramatic scenes.

The last story is short by Reginald Hudlin who wrote the recent “Who is the Black Panther?” storyline that started in 2005. We get an alternate future where Wakanda took over the world in “Black to the Future Part II”! This is a follow up to Hudlin’s “Black to the Future” in his 2008 annual. Ken Lashley provided the art. The older T’Challa is walking with his granddaughter, Grace through a Wakandan hall with a Brood skeleton and head of a Sentinel! He explains to her that he didn’t want to rule the world. T’Challa goes back to thinking of his marriage to Ororo Munroe, Storm, and their marriage invited attacks. Grace brings up his killing of Victor von Doom! The children then begin to exhibit mutant powers and T’Challa explains that Magneto was also defeated and we see his helmet. Namor the Sub-Mariner moved to Wakanda with the destruction of Atlantis and started a family. Peace is settled between them with the marriage of their children, Dorma and T’Wari. It also becomes a bright future for mutants. Grace’s mother, Chaka, lands after flying and she takes away Grace. T’Challa meets with his counsel tired of the wars and we see the cost of it in one trophy case. These are an interesting collection of stories focusing on different aspects of the character of Black Panther. The downside is that there should be more!

Four Heart-Shaped Herbs out of Five!


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