This week’s word is “Panther”
The release of the latest Marvel film, Black Panther, rapidly approaches. Right on cue, DK has brought out Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide. I’ve reviewed several of these ultimate guides here on GeekDad, and have found them to be invaluable, particularly to the uninitiated like myself. The pinnacle of the set has to be Marvel: The Ultimate Guide.
Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide continues the trend of excellence. From the 3-color stylized cover, right throughout the book, it’s a high-quality tome.
The book opens with a foreword by one of Black Panther’s writers, Don McGregor, that puts the character into a social context and gives some insight into T’Challa’s genesis and evolution. After a brief introduction that describes more about the inclusion of the Black Panther into the Marvel pantheon, it then has a timeline, of the type seen in all the DK Ultimate Guides. I’m not going to lie, these timelines make my fingertips tingle. Ok, that is a lie, they don’t, but let’s be generous and call it a “dramatic exaggeration.”
Once again, the book largely moves chronologically through the Black Panther’s backlist of stories, but it does combine a variety of eras on some of its pages as it takes in Key concepts, Key Characters, and the like. These “Key” components are a key feature of all the Ultimate Guides.
Over the book’s 196 pages you’ll find the following headings:
- Key Character. Starting with the Black Panther himself and including T’Chaka, S’Yan, and Namor the Sub Mariner.
- Key Comic. Starting with the Black Panther’s first appearance in The Fantastic Four (Vol 1 #52) and the first comics in the Black Panther series, such as Black Panther (Vol 1 # 15). More recently the book references Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive (Vol 1 #529).
- Key Ally. Including Shuri, Queen Mother Ramonda, and Doro Milaje. Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and The Avengers are in there too. The book comes right up to date with the inclusion of The Ultimates.
- Key Enemy. Featuring Klaw, Killmonger, and A.I.M. Thanos and the Infinity War is included later in the book.
- Key Storyline. Including “Panther’s Rage” – the return of T’Challa to Wakanda to quell a rebellion. “The Collectors” – detailing The Black Panther’s run-in with the Dragon Circle Cult, and T’Challa’s time in the Knights of Pendragon. More recent features storylines include the Doomwar strand and Man Without Fear.
- Key Theme. The making of a panther, the culture of Wakanda, and Defense of the Realm. The origins of Vibranium are also covered.
Should I buy Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide?
Like all the DK Marvel books, the attention to detail in this book is excellent. If you want to know everything worth knowing about the Black Panther, I imagine it’s between the covers of The Ultimate Guide. Black Panther is one of the lesser known Marvel heroes, especially for dabblers in the genre like me. Those who are drawn to the character through his appearance in the Marvel films will find this an invaluable resource for finding out more about this intriguing, historic, and important character. If you’re looking to read more into the Black Panther backstory, you’ll find many issues and series described in here for you to investigate.
If you’re already a fan of the Black Panther, it’s hard to imagine that you won’t like this book too. Like all the Marvel Ultimate Guides, it’s work of great love and affection for the icon it describes.
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