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10 Essential Black Panther Comics Everyone Should Read

The most anticipated and best reviewed of the year. Wonderful The movie has finally arrived and it has lived up to its massive hype. King T’Challa’s sixty-year comic book history was a great reference point for director Ryan Coogler in the film sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Over half a century of rich mythology and character lore can seem a bit intimidating to those who want to immerse themselves in comics. Fortunately, there are some epic essentials that give fans a glimpse into Black Panther’s past, present, and future.

10/10 Black Panther: The Complete Collection Volume One Introduces Key Allies

Black Panther: The Complete Collection Volume One by Christopher Priest, Joe Quesada and Mark Texeira introduces familiar elements used in wakandan forever —especially with regard to the allies and adversaries of the Wakandan protector. Agent Everett K. Ross gets a great introduction and layered backstory, just like the Dora Milaje.

Black Panther’s rogues gallery and complicated friendships are explored through the weighted dialogue between the villains, Dr. Doom and Klaw. The story ends with T’Challa heading to New York to meet with the United Nations, where he discusses diplomacy and political rhetoric with Namor and Magneto during a heated but amusing discussion.

9/10 Black Panther: The Man Without Fear is the ultimate redemption story

A section of the cover of Black Panther The Man Without Fear

One of Black Panther’s most iconic and memorable redemption moments is featured in the pages of Black Panther: The Man Without Fear by David Liss and Francesco Francavilla. In the graphic novel, T’Challa is stripped of his Wakandan throne and powers from it, forcing him to adjust to life as a new person.

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Facing poverty, T’Challa reluctantly accepts an administrative job at a local New York diner, where he must navigate a strange but uncertain field of self-discovery. Along the way, she realizes that she cannot ignore the call to heroism and that he must find a way to return to what he knows and loves best.

8/10 Fantastic Four #52 The story of Black Panther began

A portion of the cover of Fantastic Four #52

Fantastic Four Volume One #52 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, Sam Rosen and Stan Goldberg is the essential introduction to Black Panther, told in two parts. The second half of the story takes place in The Fantastic Four Volume One #53.

In the issue, Marvel’s First Family explores the country of Wakanda and has a chance to meet T’Challa. During the initial meeting, Black Panther bests each member of The Fantastic Four in an effort to test each of his fighting skills. The issue ends on a cliffhanger, but he makes fun of the story’s central villain, Klaw.

7/10 T’Challa solves a cold case from New York City in Black Panther: The Client

A portion of the Black Panther The Client lyrics page

Agent Everett K. Ross and T’Challa team up to solve a cold case in New York City in Black Panther: The Client By Christopher Priest, Mark Texeira, Vince Evans and Joe Quesada. In the story, Black Panther demonstrates his keen detective skills when he travels to New York to investigate the murder of a girl.

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During the investigation, Black Panther learns that the murder is related to a larger political threat that ultimately leads T’Challa back to Wakanda with Ross in tow. This is a unique entry in the Black Panther franchise, as the story unfolds in part through the perspective of Agent Ross, who serves as the pseudo-narrator.

6/10 Black Panther Mantle Features a Transition of Power in Doomwar

A portion of the cover of Black Panther: Doomwar

Black Panther: Doomwar by Reginald Hudlin, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Eaton, and Shawn Moll is ultimately a Shuri story that focuses on the royal mantle of Black Panther. The story begins with T’Challa being incapacitated after a near-fatal attack by Doctor Doom.

As Shuri assumes control of the Wakandan throne and the mantle of Black Panther, he faces great struggles to hold the African nation together while deciding how best to handle Doom. Adding to the intrigue already present, the story features cameos from The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and Deadpool.

5/10 Rise Of The Black Panther #1 – #6 Is The Ultimate Father And Son Story

Cover of issue #1 of Rise Of The Black Panther

The rise of the black panther is a six issue story directed by Evan Narcisse, Paul Renaud and Javier Pina. The crux of the story revolves around the reign of T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. Each issue delves into the mythology surrounding the king and his relationship with his wife, Queen Ramonda.

The series is also about the brutal assassination of King T’Chaka by outsiders from the kingdom of Wakanda and T’Challa’s reluctance to become the new king. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story and a better inside look at the relationship and love that T’Chaka and T’Challa had for each other.

4/10 Jack Kirby’s Black Panther Volume One Features Kooky Yet Unique Storytelling

Black Panther Volume One Cover by Jack Kirby

Black Panther co-creator Jack Kirby got a chance to show off his original take on the titular character in Black Panther Volume One. Kirby wrote and illustrated the collection, which included the first seven issues of the Black Panther title.

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This collection is iconic not only because Kirby wrote it, but also because it’s one of the first Marvel stories to showcase Afrofuturism. The stories feature some strange villains like the Six Million Year Old Man and King Solomon’s Frog, but those villains find their place and add to the arc’s unique brilliance.

3/10 T’Challa tackles racism in Jungle Action #21

Inner panel from Panther's Rage- Jungle Action #21

Jungle Action Volume 2 #21 by Don McGregor, Billy Graham, Bob McLeod, Phil Rachelson, Marv Wolfman and Harry Blumfield features T’Challa tackling racism. In the story, Black Panther travels to Georgia to investigate some of the major social issues and prejudices taking place in the Deep South.

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While investigating the mysterious death of a young woman linked to a shady land deal, Black Panther discovers that a local KKK chapter is to blame. During a standoff in a swamp, Black Panther’s attacks gain the upper hand and leave him for dead. Black Panther then pulls himself together thanks to his heart-shaped weed and saves the day by bringing the Klan to justice.

2/10 King T’Challa meets his queen in “The Bride”

Black Panther and Storm unite

Black Panther: The Bride takes place in Black Panther (2016) volume four Problems #15 Y #sixteen and then Reginald Hudlin and Scott Eaton retell and repackage in trade paperback. The story follows Black Panther’s marriage to the X-Men’s Storm and is considered one of Marvel’s biggest and most historic events.

The wedding took place during the first Marvel Civil war and featured a celebration and truce between the two, who had different views on the conflict. The dissolution of their union later had devastating effects for the Avengers, X-Men, and the greater Marvel Universe.

1/10 Killmonger’s Rage Reveals the Complexity of Black Panther’s Archenemy

A portion of the cover art of Black Panther Volume Three #18 Killmonger's Rage

Black Panther Volume 3 #18 by Christopher Priest, Kyle Hotz, Eric Powell, Steve Oliff and Paul Tutrone explores the complicated relationship between T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. In the issue, Killmonger becomes the antithesis of Black Panther when his Wakandan upbringing and ideologies become corrupted.

The story really expands on Killmonger’s complexities, character, and motivations, while solidifying him as one of Black Panther’s most formidable adversaries. Finally, killer’s wrath it also offers a mirror of what T’Challa would become if he succumbed to those same influences.

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