If you read the best Black Panther comic book stories, they didn’t make him Star-Lord like he did recently on the animated What If…? show, but he did go to space. Some of the most difficult things he had to deal with were in the multiverse and right here at home on Earth, like cosmic supervillains and even simple human cruelty.
Black Panther has been a big part of Marvel Comics for almost 60 years, and he has been in a lot of important stories during that time. These are some of the best because they show why he is so important not just to the Marvel Universe but to the superhero genre as a whole, too.
1. The Black Panther!
In Fantastic Four #52 and 53, the story of Black Panther’s beginning is told. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wrote the comics for these issues, many Black Panther icons were already in place at the start. The name, costume, and some of the mythology of the character are close to being fully formed at this point. The story is also important because this is the first black superhero not just in Marvel Comics but in mainstream comics, making this storyline important in the history of the comics world.
2. The Bride
“The Bride” is a storyline. Black Panther #14-15 in 2006 is important because it brings together two of the most powerful characters in Marvel Comics at the same time. The X-Storm Men’s is married to Black Panther in this story arc, making her the queen of Wakanda, which is a country in Africa. History: The story arc is important because it brought together the Avengers and X-Men. It still has effects today. Their relationship is still important in comic books, even though they are no longer married. As Krakoa and Wakanda learn to live together, their relationship is one of the main factors.
3. Kilmonger’s Rage
Because Killmonger is one of the coolest bad guys in the Black Panther movie, his rage is shown in “Killmonger’s Rage.” This story is in issue #18 of the third volume of Black Panther comics. It gives a lot more information about Killmonger’s character and motivation. Author Christopher Priest makes the character, who was first shown in the 1970s, into a complicated person who learned the values and habits of the outside world. After this issue, he might be T’Challa’s most dangerous enemy.
4. Strum Und Drang
A lot of people who like comic books know that Marvel Comics stories about fictional countries like Wakanda and Latveria are often at odds. “Strum und Drang” takes that idea to the next level by putting Wakanda at war with Dr. Doom’s Latveria and Atlantis, led by Namor, at war. In this story, T’Challa is shown to be both a national leader and a superhero. This makes it easier to see how different he is from his enemies in other countries, and it also shows how much of a national leader he is. In Black Panther (vol. 3) #26-29, a story line that could be used in the MCU ran.
5. The Man Without Fear
Batman and Black Panther look like they have a lot in common at first, but they are very different. And the “Man Without Fear” story arc has a lot of fun with that, thanks to Francesco Francavilla. His dark art right away reminds me of Batman: The Animated Series’s look and feel.
But David Liss throws a few curve balls here. To make ends meet, T’Challa has to work as the manager of the diner, but he also has to figure out how to be a hero. Seeing this side of T’Challa is what makes it work.
6. Enemy of the State II
How does a king keep himself, his country, and its most important thing safe? If someone is a threat, he keeps an eye on them. This can be seen in “Enemy of the State II.” As a result, some of the dignified African dignitaries’ friends might turn against them. Tony Stark is one of them.
The two characters are master manipulators who play a chess game with each other and their assets that is always fun to watch. It’s a question of who can be two steps ahead of the other at all times. This shows that even though T’Challa is physically strong, he is also one of the most clever and intelligent characters in the Marvel Universe.
7. The Client
‘The Client’ is the arc that really made the Black Panther and Christopher Priest a match made in heaven. T’Challa goes from Wakanda to New York City to look into the death of a young girl. Priest shows off the skills and dignity that make T’Challa different from other superheroes.
Priest uses an agent from the Office of the Chief of Protocol, Everett K. Ross, as a way to “bridge the gap between the African culture that the Black Panther mythos is steeped in and the mostly white readership that Marvel sells to.”
He also adds new elements to the mythos, like the Dora Milaje, the female bodyguards of Black Panther.
8. A Nation Under Our Feet
‘A Nation Under Our Feet’ shares its name with Steve Hahn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the rise of African American political power in the six decades after the Civil War. It puts the Black Panther in direct conflict with our ever-changing world.
To borrow a couple of lines from Frank Ocean that pretty much sum up this story arc: “A mob is like a king to a person. When it comes to God, who is a King? What is a god to someone who doesn’t believe in anything?” There is a lot of political intrigue in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book, which is about T’Challa, who loses control of his country because of civil war. He has to think about how he feels about his family, his people, and the Black Panther mantle.
Brian Stelfreeze is a great artist, so it never hurts to have him do the art even when the story is going a little slow.
9. Panther’s Rage
Don McGregor’s “Panther’s Rage” was the first time that the hero went into a new place. He didn’t let T’Challa be a sidekick to the Avengers. Instead, McGregor made T’Challa the center of his own story and his own country for the very first time.
McGregor and a group of talented artists, including Rich Buckler, Klaus Janson, and Gil Kane, were finally able to deepen the mythos of a character who had only been a guest star in other comics before this. When they created a history and supporting cast for the country of Wakanda, they also made Erik Killmonger the first villain to appear in the movie.
10. Who is the Black Panther?
How do you follow up Priest’s run? It’s Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.’s show, “Who is the Black Panther?” They get to go back and look at who T’Challa is and what the title of Black Panther means in the Marvel Universe with this show.
When Hudlin told us about T’Challa’s personal history, he linked it to Wakanda’s political one. This showed us what makes the man and how the country shapes him as a person and a hero. When T’Challa meets Storm and fights against the threat of American Imperialism, he makes a bigger point about how Africa and other countries that want to colonize it have a relationship with each other.
Hudlin told his readers that “the personal is political,” and this has been cited as the source for Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of the Black Panther in the movie “Black Panther.”