The Black Panther comic might just be one of Marvel’s most underrated books. I could blame a racially insensitive culture but what good would that complaint do us now? While it may have taken too long for some of the African American comic book heroes to get their dues, that moment for Black Panther is right now.
And what is garnering all this buzz about the forthcoming Black Panther movie? Well, if early reviews are any indication, it is one of the best Marvel movies yet (and that is REALLY saying something after Logan, Deadpool, and Thor Ragnarok).
The problem here (which is actually a gift in this case) is the simple fact that most people are unfamiliar with Black Panther outside his stellar, limited screen time in Civil War, but that is about to change entirely as his new solo flick is about to drop, so we thought it might be a good time to give you a crash course in Black Panther so you don’t go into this movie completely blind.
And as T’Challa puts it (Panther’s real name cuz we homeboys), knowledge IS power. Wait, Gi-Joe mighta said that. Either way, keep reading, this dude’s gonna drop your jaw right onto that creepily dirty theater floor!
What Do You Need to Know About the Black Panther Movie?
No one can argue that the movie looks badass. It looks so BADASS I just used capitals the second time.
Well, that’s one beautiful thing (among many) about the new Black Panther Marvel movie. We will get to see the follow-up to his “birthing” in the first film (Civil War) after his Dad died. That set the tone for the true origin story as well as some more exposition into just who T’Challa is and what he can do.
Basic info: Don’t think Black Panther was some side book Marvel made and didn’t focus on. Actually, it was Stan Lee himself who came up with Black Panther with the help of uber-famous comic artist, Jack Kirby. Kind of weird and maybe racist side note here: He was named Coal Tiger but within the YEAR of the launch of the book, the Black Panther political party rose up and many people think the name change to Black Panther was to cash in on that. For shame, but bygones at this point, dude has his own movie!
Also, side note to everyone at Marvel. Was ‘The Jaguar’ taken? because that would have worked really well, too and not had BLACK in the name, just saying.
Side note, for Black Panther 101, peep this real quick:
Marvel’s Batman (Someone Has to Say It)
I do tend to think, on the surface at least, Black Panther IS kind of Marvel’s Batman (not Tony Stark, sorry). Though with his birth nation and the politics involved, it gets much deeper. But if you are looking for true Black Panther 101, he IS Marvel’s Batman, from looks to powers (and there is NOTHING wrong with that as Batman is super badass, too).
He is essentially a very rich man (richest in all of comic books, btw, even beating Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark by BILLIONS, seeing as to how he RUNS HIS OWN COUNTRY) who is afforded the luxury of a badass suit with some killer tricks, as well as training, guidance, intelligence, and preparation.
Also, this is not a man born into riches who lost his family in a back alley after a broadway play. This is a man who did lose his Father, but it was not random and there were politics involved (I will not ruin any here for some of them will be played out in the film I’m sure) and he then used his Dad’s power and money to take the Black Panther cowl and fight for the good of Wakanda (his homeland).
But outside of super speed and abnormal strength and keen instincts, he cannot fly and 90% of what he does is fueled by his money, passion, morals, and genuine desire to rid his world of the people who stain it. So what I am saying here is, don’t be sad the last few Batfleck movies have sucked. We are finally getting a COOL Batman again, like the world deserves. It’s just in the form of a different movie.
He is just a panther and not a bat this time, which is cooler anyway because I would rather be chased by a bat than a panther, real talk! Bats are only scary until you are six. Panthers stay scary until you DIE.
What Are Black Panther’s Powers?
Joel Schumacher is reportedly very upset with the suits’ blatant lack of nipples.
I will kindly ask you to read the previous section, as my main point was that he has no real powers like most Marvel comic superheroes do. He cannot fly or shoot lasers out of his eyes. He cannot turn into diamond or pop claws out of his knuckles (though he DOES have some gnarly claws).
This is Marvel’s Batman (redundant much). A rich man with the urge to do right and protect the innocent by any means necessary after he experienced a tragedy.
That said, Black Panther could still beat your ass within inches of your life. All it takes is a sniff of the rare (faux) Wikiandian “heart-shaped” herb and the strength and wisdom of your forefathers floods you. No, really, that is kind of their thing, you’ll see it on-screen, I guarantee.
Now keep in mind, a few of the things Panther has done is:
Taken down a charging rhino (not the Spider-Man character, an actual Rhinoceros).
Stopping vehicles at full speed on the road.
Ripping Up full trees to use as baseball bats.
Now keep in mind, only told you THREE things out of about a million that have happened to Black Panther since his inception in the late 70’s, but to say he has NO powers isn’t fair. They are just not that of a god or an X-Men. Black Panther is more driven by principle and the genuine urge to do right than he is any superpower. It is just those urges GIVE him the power.
Oh, and did I fail to mention his genius I.Q (he is considered to be as smart as Reed Richards and Tony Stark on an IQ scale)? Pretty impressive overall, huh?
Just look at the suit and think CatMan instead of Batman and it makes more sense, trust me. Of course, to say that is to undermine what makes Black Panther so damn special in the first place.
He is not some whiny, rich brat who grew up bitter. He is a man driven by morals and passion, and a man protecting an entire nation and race of people.
What Story Is Being Told in Movie?
Looks like the cover of a bangin’ new mixtape I intend to drop at some point.
At this point, that is the most mysterious thing about the movie. What Black Panther comic storyline is it taking, or is it telling a wholly unique tale? That we cannot fully answer yet.
I can tell you by some of the character reveals in the trailers that there are some characters and arcs that seem to be included, but for me to tell you anything I know or have read is too SPOILER risky, and I just don’t go there as a writer.
That is the other great thing about this film. If you are NOT at all familiar with Black Panther as a character, this will be your crash course (much like this article is a crash course for THAT crash course). Where most comics keep the politics on the sidelines, Panther steps up, is an intelligent story with some great characters and some truly unforgettable moments.
Also, the casting of this movie is top notch. Chadwick Boseman stole a great many of the Civil War scenes he was in (highway chase for the win) and there is a steadfast confidence behind his performance that commands respect (and not a lot of superheroes in spandex can elicit that sort of reaction). Plus, Danai Gurira is in it (also known as Michonne from The Walking Dead) among many other greats that are sure to light up the screen.
Let’s Talk About Race, Baby!
If I owned that outfit, I would never change. Ever. Even for funerals. Heck, ESPECIALLY for funerals!
I know no one wants to talk about race because we are at a very tumultuous time in the world right now due to many people from many circles and walks of life clashing, but we NEED to talk about race right now MORE THAN EVER and Black Panther is going to open a LOT of doors for those very much needed discussions.
Why has it taken this long for a true African American superhero to get their own movie (Blade series aside, there are now 100’s of comic movies that feature a total of like, three black people and that is not a fair representation of that race).
While we can say HUZZAH to Marvel for this and Luke Cage, both are born from the blaxploitation era, and it is really nice to see them getting a fresh coat of paint to make them more befitting of these modern times.
In other words, the Black Panther Marvel movie has NEVER BEEN NEEDED MORE BY SOCIETY! So while many ponder Black Panther’s powers, few are noting his (AKA this movie’s) inevitable outcome of opening the door for more African American superheroes, ESPECIALLY in starring roles and not all delegated to the background or “the bad guy” parts.
How Is The Actual Black Panther Comic Book?
You see that? That is Black Panther straight f*****g up Wolverine (and ALL THE X-MEN) with NO EFFORT.
Are you KIDDING ME? It’s great (right now) and it has had some great story arcs over the years but early on in the comic books and when Black Panther first came to be, race wasn’t handled as delicately as it should have been.
Thankfully, their aim was true and over time, the comic and character very much came into their own and were allowed to go some places, politically and otherwise, that we may have never seen in comics had Black Panther never been created or allowed to evolve as a character.
But there are some GREAT RUNS, and I will give some of you some examples in case you want to familiarize yourself a little more with the character before you see the movie.
Here he is punching Red Skull’s JAW OFF HIS FACE:
Your KIND? What do you mean by that?! Oh, Nazis. Fair enough, they do suck at life.
I mean, what else do you people NEED? This shit is top shelf, and that is TWO PANELS I randomly picked out of a billion.
And in the comic storyline right now (which I won’t ruin but is awesome and should be picked up by all), Storm from X-Men got married to Black Panther (and that is a team-up I can get behind, literally, as I am attracted to them both) and some of the stories they are telling in the most recent run is up there with Fraction’s Hawkeye work and some of the other best titles of the last half-decade.
And If You Don’t Know, Than Now You Know…
In closing (I love to close my articles with ‘in closing’ so there is no confusion that I may have started at the bottom and worked my way upward, which exactly no one does so I have no idea why I always say in closing), Black Panther is awesome, you need to see the movie, and I say ‘In Closing’ WAY too much when closing my articles.