Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in cinemas and people are loving it since it pays tribute to the lead actor Chadwick Boseman who died before the sequel went into production. However, there are still many questions in the audiences’ minds that require answers, and for that, we have DK’s Marvel Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide which explores the fascinating world of the King of Wakanda, who is not just a legend but a warrior, a hero, and a scientist, besides being the Black Panther.
This comprehensive book takes the readers back to the 1960s when comic book legends Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the world’s first African superhero Black Panther. Not only does it discuss the importance of their heroic effort but also the need for such a character, because those were the times when blacks weren’t considered equal in the United States. How Black Panther helped in giving the struggle a face and what adventures and collaborations made it popular, this book has it all.
With the help of stunning Black Panther comic artworks, this guide takes readers through the superhero’s evolution as well as his relationship with important characters, who were also part of the Black Panther film released in 2018. If you had no idea that Ramonda was the stepmother of the protagonist, who spent years in captivity before being rescued by Black Panther, or the reason why Killmonger or Ulysses Klaw oppose everything Black Panther stands for, then you need to go through this book.
Why is it necessary to read this book ‘before’ entering the cinemas for the sequel, you might ask? Well, the film might not be able to do justice to the returning and newer characters in the film, especially Namor: The Sub-Mariner or his cousin Namora due to time restrictions, but this book will have no such obligations. Here you can find everything and anything related to the Black Panther universe, including who were the first superheroes Black Panther battled, and how The Kingpin fits into his world.
Not only is it packed with relevant and updated information regarding Black Panther’s allies, enemies, and love interests, but it also discusses the many locations and weapons mentioned in Black Panther comics. It also explores the history of Wakanda in such a way that you might forget that it’s a fictional country and start believing that there is a Wakanda out there, hidden from the eyes of outsiders, protected by the Black Panther. After all, how can a fictional country be part of storylines as famous as “Panther’s Rage”, “Secret Invasion” and “Doomwar”, right?
One must commend author Stephen ‘Win’ Wiacek for this Black Panther guide which captures the essence of the character through the ages. He, as well as legendary writer Don McGregor who pens the foreword, explain that had it not been for Black Panther, racism might still be a thing in American culture. They also remember the visionary creators for inventing an unbreakable metal like vibranium and a mythological heart-shaped herb that gave the ‘super’ element to the world’s first African hero who vowed to defend his kingdom from foreign and domestic threats.
For me, the most important part of this guide was the timeline section, where in four pages the whole storyline of Black Panther is summarised in such a way that it makes readers want to read more. Without giving away any spoilers, the timeline tells readers what to expect from the book, and how to brace themselves for the many unexpected plotlines the book might reveal. After all, how many superheroes have worked side by side with their future versions, or have travelled back in time to save those who were deprived of their powers through deceit and magic? Not many!
Like all the other Marvel ultimate guides, this book combines visuals and text in such a way that putting down the guide becomes a difficult task. Not only does it take you from the Silver Age to the Bronze and the Modern Age, but it also explains why it was necessary for Black Panther to fight some villains whose ideology was crooked. It also explains the importance of Wakanda in the lives of many superheroes including Falcon, the Winter Soldier, and others who wouldn’t have been able to save the world on a regular basis without Black Panther’s help.
This guide is not just able to make the readers aware of one of the Marvel superheroes but also bridges the gap between the film version and the comic books. The writer paints a picture that discusses the semi-orphaned boy more than the King of Wakanda, because had his mother not died, and stepmother not been abducted, T’Challa might not have become the man he eventually did. Add to that the Wakandan culture, the advanced technology, as well as religion and mythology, and you have a kingdom where justice always prevails because the king has been trained to do the right thing.
Don’t worry if you don’t know why there is an all-female special force guarding the king, why Namor is more of a foe to Black Panther than a friend, and what makes vibranium so important for the outsiders that it has to be guarded with advanced technology not seen anywhere outside of Wakanda, because you aren’t alone. There are many more like you out there for whom Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide has all the answers. It’s a fun ride from the first page to the last and should help readers like you understand the background of Black Panther, and why he should be present in all our lives. -Ends