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Off My Mind: What's Going On With Black Panther?
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
Is he lost? How many different directions will he take?
Black Panther first appeared back in Fantastic Four #52. This was before he would become king of Wakanda and used the Fantastic Four to prove that could defeat them and be worthy of leading and protecting his country. Soon afterwards, he journeyed to the United States and became a member of the Avengers.
This was the Black Panther I first knew. He was a leader but felt more like a superhero. Despite returning to his country, he continued to appear in different issues, usually fighting supervillains rather than actually leading his country.
Now that he's staying in Hell's Kitchen and soon to be wearing the American colors, which is the real Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda or superhero adventurer? == TEASER ==
It always seemed that Black Panther was torn between Wakanda and the United States. He returned in his Marvel Knights series and had a Washington D.C. envoy. Then he married Storm (of the X-Men) in a huge Wakandan ceremony. Rather than rule side-by-side in Wakanda, they soon ended up as members of the Fantastic Four when Reed and Sue wanted to take a vacation from the team. They did return to Wakanda only to have T'Challa injured and his sister, Shuri, take on the mantle of Black Panther.
While no longer possessing his former powers, he accepted Matt Murdock's offer to become the new protector of Hell's Kitchen while he tries to sort out his own issues after his possession during Shadowland.
Under a new guise, Black Panther is now living as Mr. Okwonko, the owner of a small diner in Hell's Kitchen. I'm digging his current adventures but it feels a little strange that he left Wakanda once again and has virtually no contact with his wife these days.
To add to the strangeness of his current activities, it appears that he will going in yet another direction as the American Panther. The images have been out for a couple weeks and honestly, I thought it might be some sort of April Fool's Joke.
Then again, there's no definite confirmation that it will actually be T'Challa under the Captain America-inspired costume. Maybe this has something to do with Steve Rogers not necessarily wanting to return to being Captain America. What if Steve wanted to make the Captain America Corps a reality?
Most likely it will be T'Challa going through another change or perhaps it's someone else trying to lure Black Panther out for a fight. He has been making his share of enemies in the short time he's spent in Hell's Kitchen.
The real question is, what should Black Panther do? Is he better off in America fighting crime alongside his superhero friends? Should he try actually spending time with his wife and the X-Men? Is it time he returned to Wakanda and reclaimed his role as the Black Panther? What is the deal with the American Panther costume? Is it a good idea for a temporary guise or just a really bad one?