As the next chapter of the Black Panther unfolds, Marvel.com has released a digital intro to the character, the Black Panther Saga. Introduced in the pages of the Fantastic Four by Stan Lee in Jack Kirby, the Balck Panther is the ruler of the secret nation of Wakanda, the only African nation to never be conquered. Resting atop a mound of precious vibranium, many have tried to invade Wakanda but all have failed to overcome their mighty fighting spirit.
A brave warrior and wise king, Black Panther is a member of comic book royalty who has the unique situation of being a former Avenger and member of the Fantastic Four. His marriage to the X-Men’s Storm also brings him with the realm of the mighty mutants, making T’Challa one of the most connected Marvel heroes.
The Black Panther graduated to a starring role in Jungle Action which won the character great acclaim thanks to the writing skill of Don McGregor. After his cult success, the odd Kirby run all but hammered the nail in the coffin for the character’s dignity. I’m a huge Kirby fan, but the later series was anything but a compliment to the action-oriented series by McGregor. Fans were furious and they let the publisher know with letters and low sales.
It would take many years before the Black Panther would regain his popularity in the third volume by Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira (of Ghost Rider). The third iteration got the character attention, but it was the fourth series by Reginald Hudlin that really won the dignity that the hero deserved. After four years, the series will be coming to an end to make way for a fifth volume shrouded in mystery.
Who will the new Black Panther be? Echo of Daredevil and the New Avengers? It remains to be seen, but it is going to be interesting to see what the next era will bring.