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Kieran Frost

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Subj: WOW! Okay, sold. I'm gonna go look for some tradebacks for Priest's run.
Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 08:57:54 am CDT (Viewed 152 times)
Reply Subj: Re: What is so great about Priest's run? What I really mean is: Why SHOULD I Love the Black Panther Comic?
Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 05:42:46 pm CDT (Viewed 5 times)

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I'll try to explain it...

Priest's Black Panther series lasted from 1998 to 2003 (62 issues). I would say that Priest is one of the best Panther writers so far. 

His version of Panther was like a mixture of Batman and the villain R'as Al Ghul. Panther was mysterious, aloof, calculating and always putting the needs of his country and his people FIRST, no matter how much that put his own life in danger. No one knew what Panther was thinking, or what he was up to. When they assumed he would turn left, he would turn right. When they expected him to do B, he would turn around and do C, E and J. Mysterious, just like a cat.

Panther was ruthless, but only for the greater good of his own people. He was not ruthless just to be mean like Doctor Doom or Norman Osborn...Panther's resolve and dedication to the throne drove all of his actions.

And it was this dedication to his people/throne and his ruthlessness that often caused conflict between him and his enemies and also between him and his allies. His allies were often upset with him when he acted ruthless because they expected him to act more like they did. But by necessity, Panther had to act like a KING rather than a SUPERHERO because his country's welfare was ALWAYS at stake.

And it was also this behavior that made Panther one of the loneliest guys in the world, because he had all of this drama he had to deal with...keeping his country safe while fighting off foes from all over the place, and it placed a huge burden on him.

Some common complaints about Priest's Panther series was that Panther ALWAYS WON and never lost. This generalization could not be farther from the truth. Yes, Panther had numerous contingency plans (like Batman), and he won a lot BUT while winning he also lost a few things along the way. It was like every time he won, he also lost at the same time. Panther's winning AND losing always seemed to be balanced during that series.

During Priest's run, Panther lost:

1. One of his bodyguards (Nakia/Malice: she was in love with Panther and eventually went nuts and became a villain. She was like a member of his family, and she betrayed him by trying to kill people who he cared about.)

2. His ex-girlfriend Nikki (they had been lovers years before while T'Challa was in college). At some point in the series, she was killed by one of Panther's enemies.

3. The trust of the Avengers (during this run, Panther revealed that the real reason he had first joined them was to spy on them).

4. Another bodyguard (Queen Divine Justice) T'Challa, in a momentary fit of insanity (due to a brain aneurysm), almost fatally wounded her in a battle. She later asked to be excused from being his bodyguard.

5. His sanity (after a disastrous blow to the head by a possessed Iron Fist, Panther developed a brain aneurysm, which sometimes acted up and made him have delusions, like seeing Magneto and talking to Magneto when Magneto was not actually there.)

6. His fiancee (Monica Lynne) Panther proposed to Monica during Priest's series, but Monica turned down the Panther's proposal.
That's just a few examples of the times Panther lost during the series...but for some reason, people who claim that Panther always won NEVER seem to mention his losses. I don't know if it's because the people never actually read the series or not.

"Black Panther" written by Priest was also a political was less about people throwing physical punches and more about political manuevering between Panther and other world leaders.

At one point in the series, Panther ADMITTED to Storm that he was SCARED that he, because of his actions, would actually start a world war because he had REFUSED to turn over an innocent alien to her home country (where the alien would have been killed if she had been returned). Panther admitting that he was scared was definitely a major insight into Panther's personality. For a guy who ALWAYS seemed to be in control of any given situation, Panther admitted to Storm and NO one else that he was FRIGHTENED.

Another insight into Panther's personality was the fact that he was always feeling that he would never measure up to the legacy of his father, King T'Chaka.

For me personally? Panther was already cool when Priest was writing the character. He had been cool when Don McGregor was writing him, but Priest seemed to have taken T'Challa one step farther in his evolution as a character. Priest showed Panther using BRAIN POWER to overcome the odds (while at the same time falling victim to other odds).
If I had to make a sales pitch to people about buying the comic, I would say "Panther is a lot like Batman...although more ruthless and more determined...because he has a lot more to lose than Batman does." 

I'm not dissing Batman, because I think Batman is great (most of the time, and I think it would be cool if Batman and Panther teamed up at some point in a Marvel/DC crossover), but Panther has more at stake than Batman does. Batman fights for a city, whereas Panther fights for an entire country. But basically I think they are cut from the same cloth.

Panther is by no means perfect...he can be extremely aloof, calculating, distrusting and a bit paranoid when it comes to keeping the citizens of his country safe. But as a kid, he had been raised by his father King T'Chaka that a king like Panther would always need to be AT LEAST three steps ahead of his friends and FIVE steps ahead of his enemies (or something like that, I forgot the exact numbers). So behaving in such a way would definitely cause a strain between him and those whom he would consider his allies. A moment of weakness in a physical battle or a mental or a political battle is something that Panther CANNOT afford to have...because his entire country is at stake.

And all of these contingency plans and political manuevering and calculations and staying several steps ahead of his enemies and friends caused great mental upheaval in Panther's mind, ESPECIALLY after the physical altercation with a possessed Iron Fist. Toward the end of the Priest series, T'Challa had to remove himself from duty as the Black Panther. It had taken its toll, and T'Challa/Panther needed a break.

I'm wondering if most people who say Panther is bland and has a bland personality are thinking of his past appearances, where he practically did nothing but hop around after the Avengers and get dragged every issue in "Jungle Action" and get his costume ripped more and more with each successive issue of "Jungle Action."

The Panther portrayed in Priest's series was far more dangerous than any previous version of Panther...except for maybe his first appearance in which he hunted the Fantastic Four (and eventually lost...although he came close to winning).

And I accidentally said my real name in my first reponse to you. But I am Darius/moneyspider. I know we are supposed to stick to one name on the boards but I sometimes forget. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

That was a REALLY, REALLY good sales pitch. Shame Priest isn't on it now, and shame it's now a female Black Panther. Interestingly, I now see why people say the marriage was a bad idea, because it robbed T'Challa of his "darkness" in being alone (much like Batman). You can only brood so much when you are married to someone who's beautiful, powerful and who loves you. ;\) Good job selling me on it, sir!

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