Over the course of the last few of years, Marvel has definitely put Black Panther through the wringer. He was incapacitated after an attack on Wakanda in the Black Panther ongoing series, recovered, left Wakanda for New York City and took over as the protector of Hell's Kitchen following Daredevil's departure after the Shadowland event. He's done more in the last year than a lot of characters do, well, ever. Which is why it will be so strange to see T'Challa's current series come to an end following the release of Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #529. According to the solicit for the title, which we announced in November would be the last in the series, issue #529 will be a "status-quo changing series finale." What does that really mean, though?
After taking over Daredevil's title, the book was renamed Black Panther: Man Without Fear beginning with issue 513 and later Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive starting with issue 523.1. The focus has been on T'Challa working alone, something he has insisted upon doing in order for him to figure out who he is again. Yet, it's not as though T'Challa is without responsibilities. The former King of Wakanda is still married to Storm, and it's surprising that he would leave his younger sister, Shuri the current Black Panther regent responsible for an entire nation -- particularly after the events of Doomwar which left Wakanda more or less vulnerable.== TEASER ==
With his series coming to an end, many were left wondering "what's next" for one of Marvel's most iconic characters. After gracing the cover to AVENGERS #19 and the announcement that the Avengers would be getting a new team together, many speculated whether T'Challa would join his old friend Captain America as an addition to the Avengers. When Steve Rogers asks him, he turns the Captain down stating that he stated "I'm just not there right now, I have things to do here."
Okay, what things does he need to "do there" that we don't know about, because with the end of the series in the beginning of February, no one really knows where T'Challa is going to be. Rather than agreeing to join the Avengers, T'Challa suggests that Storm join the team because the team needs "a powerhouse."
For the last year we've seen the character embark on a journey of self discovery, turning down any help his wife has to offer him and going so far as to get frustrated with her when she tries to help him out. So what's next? Will he return to Wakanda? Will he reconsider and join the Avengers? It does sort of make sense that he might.
Throughout his series, Black Panther has been adamant about not getting any kind of help from anyone -- he has insisted on taking care of business, fighting Fisk and The Hand on his own, and he's done an okay job. But when he realizes that his tactics alone aren't really working in issue 526 of Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive, he calls on some help from Falcon and Luke Cage. The three characters, according to the solicits for the next three issues, will be appearing in the series together. Maybe after this final fight with Fisk will lead T'Challa to reconsider joining the Avengers? Perhaps that will be the "change in the status-quo"?
Let's talk a little bit about Storm, shall we? The two characters have spent little (if any) time together over the course of the last year, which is kind of sad. Unlike the Reed Richards and Sue Storm relationship where the two characters clearly love one another, work well as teammates and neither is overshadowed by the other, we don't get that with T'Challa and Storm. The relationship, which at one time had so much potential, has stagnated considerably over the course of the last year; leading me to believe that Marvel might be planning to pull them apart. Perhaps placing an X-Man like Storm on the Avengers just in time for the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN event will force Storm to choose between the two. And if T'Challa reconsiders and joins the Avengers, then Storm's decision could cause a rift between the two.
What do you think the future holds for T'Challa? Have you been keeping up with his series? Do you think he and Storm should remain together, or do you think that they will be torn apart with the launch of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN?