Saturday, May 06, 2006

The SKY is on FIRE

Panel from Black Panther #15 (v4, June 2006). Word balloons by me.

This volume of Black Panther about Wakanda's king isn't as good as the Priest run but it's a bit more readable than many other current Marvel books. It's plodding along now but once the wedding of the Panther and Storm is forgotten (any day now) it may pick up again. I hope. Priest made T'Challa the smartest, scariest guy in the entire Marvel Universe and Hudlin has reduced him a bit in scope in my eyes.

I wasn't reading comics when Priest was writing the character because the amazing suckiness of 99% of the 90's titles drove me away from the genre, but I discovered it when I returned. I consider the Priest Black Panther run as one of the reasons I came back and I went and bought the entire run as back issues because of how much fun the title was.

One of the first comics I bought with my own money was the unfortunately titled Jungle Action #16 featuring the Black Panther. This issue was part 11 of the very long story arc Panther's Rage, written by Don McGregor and rendered by the late Billy Graham. This issue featured as villain one of the visually coolest baddies of the day, Venomm. Compared to the Black Panther's nemesis, the Spider-Man foe similarly named Venom sucks.

It's true.

All the symbiote-Venom does is pose on roof ledges and whip his drooling tongue around in the air. Big deal. And don't get me started on Carnage. Stupid.

Venomm, on the other hand, controls snakes with blazing emo and every time he and T'Challa met the Panther got his head handed to him. The only reason the Panther didn't get killed and snacked upon by snakes in Jungle Action #16 is because Venomm was weary of fighting in a revolution he didn't believe in. He later settled in Wakanda as a good citizen.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to follow the book back then because those were newsstand days and all I could reliably count on being in the 7-11 rack was the Fantastic Four and Superman. I bought the entire run a few years after because I'm a completist and I do love preachy 1970's Marvel comics. Panther's Rage is all about the original Killmonger saga and is worth a read if you get a chance.


  1. Panther's Rage = Awesome

  2. I haven't been reading the current Black Panther series, but I've been reading about it, so let me ask some questions to see if it's as stupid as I think it is:

    Is it true they are promoting the wedding of Storm and the Black Panther as some big surprise mystery? Didn't I see a comics cover that read "Who will be the Panther's bride?" Who doesn't know what direction they are going?

    Is it true they are now saying the current Panther is the son (or was it grandson?) of the classic Panther (the one who starred in his own series and was in all those FF Kirby issues? If so, when did this happen? When was the break when the new Panther came along? Where did the old one go--dead, retired, what? Is the Panther in Illuminati the young one or the old one?

    If this is true, then didn't I read they are basing the concept of Ororo and T'Challa being destined for each other on the back-up strip in Marvel Team-Up #100 (whose theme seems condescending to me at the time, even when I first read it as a tiny, tiny stuffed bull: "The only man Storm can really fall in love with is another black man, and we only have a few of those in the Marvel Universe!") If so--well, wouldn't that have been the original Panther, not the son?

    Oy. My head hurts and I think I'll lay down. I support the idea that continuity should be fluid and flexible, but surely peeing all over continuity isn't doing much good either, especially in a day and age when you're not really able to get many new readers on board but are looking for new ways to impress the same people who have been reading for 5, 10, 20 years.

    I'm not sending Miss Storm and Mister T'Challa this wedding present toaster I bought them until I find out the truth.


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