Black Panther is the hot Marvel character with the excellent movie doing amazing business at the cinema and creating a major buzz around the world. Black empowerment is high on the agenda these days and for good reason, many people are waking up to the issues certain societies systematically continue to have. Of course this empowerment is met with opposition which is idiotic but provides good material for writers. With that said let’s check out what makes the list.Wee note, there’s a serious lack of Jack Kirby stuff on here as while I love his stuff I just haven’t read enough of his Panther work so I can’t put it in.
15. Avengers Of The New World-2017
Part of author Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent Black Panther run that helped reignite interest in the character (the film obviously being the main reason) this arc looks deeply at faith and religion within Wakanda. Black Panther has a strong connection to the gods of Wakanda and this story delves into those connections.
14. Everything Dies-2013
Jonathan Hickman is a cracking writer and he’s helped by some impressive art from Steve Epting on this, the first arc of the third volume of New Avengers. This was the beginning of an epic story that ran for a good couple of years and there’s a lot going on as a new Illuminati is formed by Tony Stark and he tries to recruit Black Panther, a villain causes havoc on Wakanda, killing young warriors as Black Panther tries to defend them in an excellent scene and some tough decisions need to be made such as destroying a wold to save their own as they are on course to collide…..will they do it?. Villain Black Swan is an interesting new character.
13. The Black Panther-1966
…and so it begins, the introduction of the man everyone is talking about fifty plus years later. Straight from the pages of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s classic Fantastic Four run and some of the pair’s best work on the series came around this time. Black Panther made his debut along with the villain Klaw as he invites he Four over to Wakanda in order to prepare for a battle against his nemesis.
12. The Bride-2006
Reginald Hudlin’s Panther run was a fun one and with the exception of this arc there weren’t many earth shattering moments but it was just a solid, fun wee run. With this arc though, hoo boy it set the forums buzzing with the Wakandan king marrying an incredibly popular member of the X-Men in STORM!. It was weirdly timed though as it happened during the epic Civil War event but thankfully it doesn’t get too involved and bog down the focus which is the big wedding. The main criticism that holds it back from being higher on the list is how rushed their relationship was.
11. See Wakanda And Die-2008
Another arc that ties into a major marvel event but this one incorporates itself perfectly into it with the Skrull invasion infiltrating Wakanda. The Skrull are a group of aliens who can disguise themselves as anyone and cause havoc. Black Panther is prepared though and what follows is a violent exploration of how protective and proud the Wakandans are of their homeland. Jason Aaron is a cracking writer and he nails the people of Wakanda perfectly in this short but powerful story with interesting art from Jefte Palo.
Part of Christopher Priest’s brilliant and (in my opinion) defining run on the character, this story brings back the enemy Eric Killmonger who is more popular than ever now because of his portrayal by sexy Michael B. Jordan in the movie. Seriously…..sexiest villain in a Marvel movie. Anyway, this arc brings him back to the comic after a couple of decades away since the Panther’s Rage arc and solidifies him as a great antagonist.
9. Panther’s Rage-1973-1975
This was the story that introduced us to Killmonger and showed what a menacing villain he could be.An array of legendary artists like Billy Graham, Gil Kane and Rich Buckler flesh out Don McGregor’s story about the battle for control of Wakanda.The movie clearly took a lot of inspiration from McGregor’s run.
8. Black Panther: The Man Without Fear-2011
In the fallout of the disappointing Shadowland event in which Daredevil tried to infiltrate The Hand organization and use it for good only to become possessed and act as a nefarious leader he has purged the demons from his soul and is out of the game. Meanwhile Black Panther has destroyed Wakanda’s vibranium sources in a battle with Dr Doom, leaving the nation in disarray. He relinquishes his position as leader and is now powerless. He takes on the mantle left by Daredevil thousands of miles away in Hell’s Kitchen and becomes the new street level hero in New York. It’s intriguing stuff.
7. Who Is Black Panther?-2005
Part of the Marvel Knights series which was the equivalent of a 15 rated movie. More violent and adult based than the traditional Marvel universe but not as hardcore as the MAX series. Anyway this is Reginald Hudlin’s (who directed and wrote House Party with Kid N’ Play!…oh and he produced a little movie called Django Unchained too but….HOUSE PARTY) first arc and reintroduces Panther with an updated origin. It’s a tale of an uncompromising African hero and sees him as a more ruthless character than normal, there’s no quarter given or taken here. Hudlin had quite a long run on the series and while I haven’t read every single episode I’ve read more than enough to recommend the run.
6. A Cross Burning Brightly, Darkening The Night-1976
Oh boy, as culturally important now as ever, this controversial and powerful 1976 story from Don McGregor tackles racism head on with some shocking scenes, particularly for it’s time. African Americans are tied to horses and dragged through the streets, Panther is crucified on a burning cross and it’s all brought to life in stunning detail by artist Billy Graham who I know mostly from his great work on the early Luke Cage stuff. Panther’s love interest of the time discovers her sister has been murdered which takes Panther down to the deep south where he falls afoul of the Ku Klux Klan. Disturbing and thoughtfully written, looking at the ways these scumbags justify their actions and beliefs rather than just ignoring their side completely….no matter how ridiculous that side is.
5. Black Panther And The Crew: We Are The Streets-2017
A pulpy, noir six parter written by Ta-Nehisi Coates who has done a fantastic job with the character recently. An excellent team up book that sees a sweet roster of Panther, Storm, Misty Knight, Manifold and….LUKE FREAKIN’ CAGE!. What a team!. Yona Harvey’s art is great too and really suits the gritty urban noir thriller vibe.A young activist from Harlem is murdered which sets of a series of falling dominoes that uncovers plenty of nasty secrets.
4. Enemy Of The State-1999
Another arc from the brilliant Christopher Priest run. There is a LOT happening in this one and it’s a lot of fun with a pretty ferocious pace. The American government gets involved with Wakandan issues (shock) which causes Panther to come into conflict with The Avengers that would lead to some big reveals. Many of the plot points in this arc would end up going on for quite some time. There’s also a kick arse fight against Kraven The Hunter.
3. Panther’s Quest-1989
This classic arc from Don McGregor and Gen Colan was finally collected in tpb form a couple of years ago which is great as originally it was released in small installments through Marvel Comics Presents. Colan’s art is excellent and McGregor writes a powerfully political tale that sees T’Challa heading to South Africa during apartheid to find the mother he has never met. A brilliant and sober look at the real evils of society.
2. A Nation Under Our Feet-2016
The first arc in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent run sets the standard moving forward for the series .Of course getting a prominent black author to come in and tell tells relating to societies current problems (you know, like comics have always done?) so obviously it was attacked online by nitwits who get all of their political beliefs from youtube commentators who claimed it was all an SJW agenda. We live in an insanely stupid time.Wakanda is in ruins after a battle with Atlantis and Panther desperately tries to keep his people together while the temptations to grab power and exploit the weak is being taken advantage of by opportunistic citizens. Brian Steelfreeze who I mainly remember from the excellent 90s Batman series “Shadow Of The Bat” does the art and it’s very good.
1. The Client-1998
This story started Christopher Priest’s superb run on the character that really brought him into the modern (90s) day with an aggressive, mature and somewhat nihilistic style of storytelling. A lot of the story is told through the scatty narration of a political figure who has been hired to keep an eye on Panther as he is visiting America. There are supernatural goings on that could be big trouble for Wakanda in this eventful and brilliantly told arc. Mark Texiera and Vince Evans provide the grimy, gritty artwork and it really grabs the attention. A great place to start for those looking to get into the character.
Thanks for reading folks, let me know your thoughts on the list. I’m sure fans of the character have their own ideas of what I missed out or put too high and those that are looking to get into the comics I hope I’ve helped entice you more. Catch me @swing_kinker cheers.x