Some Idle Marvel Now! Speculation

Reading both the new Fantastic Four issue and the new AvX installment today, I had two thoughts about possibilities for those new books Marvel's been teasing for the insipidly titled post-AvX relaunch MARVEL NOW!, which is coming in October. Spoilers in this one, ladies and gents, so stop reading if you care.

Firstly, Fantastic Four #608 strongly hints that there's a new Black Panther comic coming. The book itself, for what its worth, is kind of mediocre. Although the art team of Giuseppe Camuncoli, Karl Kesel, and Paul Mounts put in an effort I'm going to go ahead and call generally rad, Jonathan Hickman is trying to tell two related stories at once, but ends up with too little room to properly tell either. One of them, sort of vaguely depicted on the cover, is a battle between the current Black Panther, T'Challa's sister Shuri and the Egyptian death god Anubis. Shuri gets help from Ororo and Sue Storm, and it's not quite clear what goes on or quite how the conflict is resolved, just that there's some fighting and that Wakanda's Panther God, who, T'Challa tells us, is actually Bast, ultimately decides to eat Anubis. I think. In the meantime, (incidentally, I think the ability to be two places at once is an advantage of deityhood that no one ever talks about) that very same Panther God is having a conversation with T'Challa and Reed Richards, asking the former about what he wants, making vaguely prophetic remarks to the latter, and, ultimately, giving the mantle of Black Panther back to T'Challa while indicating that Shuri is also going to hang on to the title and be queen of Wakanda. How can there be two Black Panthers?! Easy! T'Challa is going to rule in the country's Necropolis and be its KING OF THE DEAD. Which does sound pretty cool.

But the whole thing is sort of convoluted, and I don't quite understand what's going on or exactly what it's supposed to mean, but then again I'm not sure I'm supposed to, since, apparently, the reason Wakanda is going to need two Black Panthers (one to lead the country, the other to save it, so says the Panther God) is because first the country is going to have "a great fire in the sky" and then "the fire will bring great flood." Well, the since the fire is obviously the Phoenix (you know because the panel accompanied by the "great fire in the sky" text-box is the Phoenix, look right) and the "flood" is obviously Namor's attack on Wakanda (shown in today's AvX ish #8! -ed.), it seems pretty clear to me that the whole thing is going to be better explained in a new Black Panther series, written, hopefully, by Hickman.

Given that the last comic to star T'Challa was, although one of the highest quality books published by any mainstream comics company in the last few years and despite the presence of one of contemporary comics' great talents and a pretty significant not-comics writer, less then a best-seller, and that the one before that was even more poorly received, one wonders at the likelihood of a new book's success. But, then again, since Marvel appears to be doing all it can to sync up its movies with its comics, and since it appears that there's the possibility, however slight, of a Black Panther movie in the relatively near future, it's not a particularly surprising move. This new king of the dead status quo, though, seems like it might be a pretty good idea, particularly because it veers particularly close to one of my favorite elemants of The Immortal Iron Fist, namely, that Danny, as the Iron Fist, was the recipient of wisdom and history from every Iron Fist before him. T'Challa was always consulting his ancestors, but that aspect of the character is now being brought to the fore, with the Panther God having actually integrated all of their experiences into all of his personal experience. If I'm right, and only the people on the inside know if I am, and whoever does end up writing the book, if it isn't Hickman, who I think it must be, does a good job of developing and fully explaining what this new knowledge means, and then goes on to tell good stories with this new direction, then, who knows? Maybe the book will get a fair shake.

Oh, yeah, secondly, speaking of Danny-- does anyone else think that all of the K'un-L'un that we're seeing in AvX means there's going to be a new Iron Fist solo book? A man can hope, right?

1 comment: