Black Panther Motion Comic Review

Usually we here in Australia get things last, but for some reason we got this first, in January 2010 and the DVD release in December, although the series was originally supposed to air on iTunes. Well, it did, but was pulled off after 3 episodes for some reason but has now been released on DVD in America too. Created in conjunction with America’s BET network, it stars Djimon Hounsou as the titular hero, Kerry Washington as his sister (and future Panther) Princess Shuri, Alfre Woodard as U.S government agent Dondi Reece and Jill Scott as Storm from the X-Men (and his future wife).

I’ve never been a huge fan of the classic character, but his comic series lately has been great, as he’s taken over protecting Daredevil’s old haunt of Hell’s Kitchen in New York. Written by novelsit David Liss, it’s the only Marvel title I’m buying regularly.

This DVD is broken down into 6 chapters, for about 2 hours of fluid motion comic animation goodness. Marvel also have motion comics based on Iron Man: Extremis, Astonishing X-Menand Spider-Woman available.

This series is based on the Who Is Black Panther? arc form a few years ago by writer Reginald Hudlin and artist John Romita Jr.

It begins in 5B.C when invaders try, and fail, to get in to Wakanda and we are introduced to their never say die attitude and advanced technology.

Taking things to the present, we see Stan Lee (well, hear) as an arrogant general in the White House and learn that Wakanda has never been invaded, and have a flashback to 1941 as a fresh faced and oddly voiced Captain America tries to do so.

Classic Panther baddie Klaw is the main antagonist here. He soon recruits Batroc the Leaper, here reimagined as a less lame and agile French hitman, and Cannibal, an imprisoned man who becomes a woman (yep) to get revenge. Klaw wants T’Challa, the current Black Panther dead, as Klaw killed T’Challa’s father 15 years earlier, but was left with one less hand. Igor, otherwise known as the Radioactive Man also shows up and causes earthquakes. Klaw also gets help from the Black Knight (who is loaned from the church) and his handy Pegasus who leads the troops with a speech about a “holy crusade.” Hudlin does a great job with these villains, and not having them show up in their whacky costumes (well apart from Juggernaut, who’s stuck in his) and not really using their codenames, keeps it all more grounded than a traditional superhero story would be.

The animation is generally fluid and doesn’t look stilted, like you may imagine for a motion comic. The colours work well, from the dust and dirt of Wakanda’s past to its hi-tech gizmos, and New York streets. At times the faces resemble the work of cover artist Dave Johnson, and that’s good.

Adding to the cameos, Cyclops, Wolverine and Nightcrawler show up as they battle Juggernaut, before Klaw recruits him. If surviving an assassination attempt/invasion from warlord Mbutu wasn’t enough, the Queen Mother keeps pressuring him to get married and provide a royal heir, prodding him to get together with “that nice, mutant girl.” Classic. That’d be Storm by the way, and we also see how they first met as children. An army of Dethloks made from dead U.S soldiers also show up in the midst of the chaos.

Yes, there’s a lot happening, but the story starts small and builds to a great final battle and Hudlin never allows the burgeoning cast to get out of his control. Really, all most people will know about Black Panther is that he rules Wakanda and it’s the only place in the world that has the powerful mineral, vibranium. Hudlin builds the world here though, giving depth to the nation’s culture and politics, but not in a dreary way. If you’re new to the character, or the Marvel Universe at large, this is an entertaining entry, and does well to present some usually goofy villains in a more streamlined, modern way.

It also has a pretty cool theme song and Juggernaut colliding head on with a rhino, and throwing a cow at a jet, to boot.

There are no extras on this Oz DVD release, besides trailers for the Astonishing X-Men, and Iron Man: Extremis motion comics which both look visually dazzling. Below is the opening credits sequence.

Daredevil #512 Preview

Say farewell to Matt Murdock, at least until his new Daredevil Reborn mini-series starts in January. He’ll be replaced in his own book by Black Panther as the series becomes Black Panther: The Man Without Fear in December’s 513th issue. Official details and preview below.

Your First Look at DAREDEVIL #512

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Daredevil #512, the landmark final issue from writer Andy Diggle and artist Roberto de la Torre! In the wake of the shocking conclusion of SHADOWLAND, Hell’s Kitchen has been thrown into disarray and Matt Murdock is among the missing.  Does the mantle of Daredevil now rest with a dead man? And are his friends, lovers and allies able to cope with what he wrought, let alone atone for his sins?  It’s the dramatic last stand of a Marvel icon as this era of Daredevil comes to a close, only in Daredevil #512.

DAREDEVIL #512 (SEP100605)

Written by ANDY DIGGLE

Pencils & Cover by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE

Rated T+ …$3.99

FOC-10/29/10, On-Sale-11/24/10

New Black Panther Cartoon on iTunes

The long talked about animated series based on the recent series that brought the classic character to the front of the Marvel U once more is out next week. Full details below and more screen shots including Captain America, Black Knight and Juggernaut fighting a rhino (yep) right here.

Marvel Announces Release of BLACK PANTHER: WHO IS THE BLACK PANTHER?

Marvel Knights Animation is proud to announce Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther?, a twelve-episode, weekly, all-new series debuting on iTunes, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Zune and PlayStation®Network on June 23rd.

Inspired by the acclaimed graphic novel from respected filmmaker/producer Reginald Hudlin and legendary comic book artist John Romita Jr, Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther? introduces viewers to the Black Panther, the warrior king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced nation in the heart of Africa . As outside forces conspire to plunder this proud nation, the Black Panther will face his greatest threats as he meets Klaw, the man who murdered his father.

“The positive responses to news of the show have been so overwhelming, it’s great to finally make the Black Panther series available to everyone,” said Hudlin. “Audiences get caught up on many levels – seeing John Romita Jr’s art come to life; the quality of the voice work by an award winning cast; the boldness of the politics, the music and humor. But see it for yourself!”

Romita Jr added, “The reaction by any person, upon viewing footage of a black panther, is universal: Awe. There is no more elegant a creature on the face of the planet. The creation of the character by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in a turbulent political time, maintained that quality. Reggie Hudlin’s updated version follows that and adds an amazing, cinematic flair to it.  In my opinion, reading, and now viewing, the Black Panther series is much akin to witnessing a panther in person. Enjoy the elegance of the story, the elegance of the actors, their voices, their words, and….the imagery.”

This exciting series also features the voices of major celebrities including Academy Award-nominee Djimon Hounsou as Black Panther; Jill Scott as Storm, Kerry Washington as Princess Shuri; Alfre Woodard as both  Dondi Reese and Queen Mother; Carl Lumbly as Uncle S’Yan; and comics legend Stan Lee in a special role.

Learn more about Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther? right now at www.marvel.com/blackpanther

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