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Marvel Television held a special event for the Television Critics Association this past weekend which saw the casts and creators of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "Marvel's Daredevil," "Marvel's Jessica Jones," and "Marvel's Luke Cage" come togeth...Read More »
Read through some of T'Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!
Jack Kirby’s BLACK PANTHER series only lasted 15 issues from 1977 to 1979. The character moved around from place to place, starring in stories in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS and guesting all over, but he didn't regain a solo series until 1998 when writer Christopher Priest debuted BLACK PANTHER with Joe Quesada and Mark Texeira. The first eight issues of that series also included the artistic talents of Joe Jusko, Vince Evans, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Palmer.
That first story, called “The Client,” started with a trip to the United States for T’Challa, his bodyguards Okoye and Nakia, the older warrior Zuri, and a contingent of scientists so that the Black Panther could track down the murderer of a young girl who acted as the face for a charity he supported called The Tomorrow Fund.
Before leaving, T’Challa had opened a part of Wakanda for refugees from nearby warring lands. The problem, though, was that many of them hated each other. Conflicts easily and quickly erupted, but with their leader out of the country, Wakanda remained open to manipulation by a man named Achebe.
In addition to searching for the murderer and worrying about his homeland, Black Panther also soon found himself dealing with street gangs, Kraven the Hunter, the previously decommissioned Wakandan black ops squad Hatut Zerze—also known as the Dogs of War—oh, and the devil.
As it turned out, Mephisto helped Achebe gain the upper hand in Wakanda, which led to T’Challa’s temporary exile from his home. The devil also played with the Dogs of War, especially their boss the White Wolf, and even helped a bunch of hoods hire Kraven.
Even with all of this going on, Black Panther remained a staunch hero who planned to do the best by everyone involved. He struggled with responsibilities between the dead girl and the troubles back home. He also made sure that his agents followed the laws of the U.S., which meant no killing. Though T’Challa took out many of the elements standing in the way, Achebe and his ilk still remained to pester him further into the series run.
Secrets of Wakanda
Readers found out about all of these adventures, along with healthy doses of Wakandan and Black Panther history, thanks to Everett K. Ross, an employee of the U.S. State Department. The character actually first appeared in KA-ZAR #17, which Priest wrote.
One of Priest’s major additions to the Black Panther mythos in this arc, though, remains the Dora Milaje, which translates into “adored ones.” The women—in the case of these issues Okoye and Nakia—came from various tribes and act not just as bodyguards, but wives-in-training, though T'Challa himself claimed that last part as purely ceremonial. As Ross explained in issue #3, acts of romantic intent from the king “would be a declaration of intent. And the girl could never marry anyone but the king.”
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The following is an excerpted transcript of a group therapy session. Deadpool (Wade Wilson), Solo (James Bourne), Stingray (Walter Newell), Foolkiller (Greg Salinger), Slapstick (Steve Harmon), Masacre (Real Name Unknown), and Terror (Shreck) attending with Tim Stevens overseeing the session.
TIM STEVENS enters the room, looking down at his clipboard
TIM STEVENS (beginning talking without looking up): Thank you so much for your patience. I hope you didn’t mind waiting in here. It’s just been a very unusual day Mr…hmm….Wadiekinspoopoo? Do you mind if I just use your first name, sir? Wilson, is it?
DEADPOOL: You know you can call me whatever you want, Doc. We’re besties!
TS (going pale, looking up from his clipboard): Oh no. NO! No, no, no. I told you. Never. Again. NEVER!
DP (moving in front of the door): I’m not like that anymore, honest! There was this other guy. Not nice. At all. Madcap. Anyway he and I were sharing a body and…well, look I’m not like that anymore. I’ll be serious. I won’t even talk about your wife. Even though…damn! You know. Anyway, I don’t do jokes as much anymore.
SLAPSTICK: That’s my job!
TS (sagging at the shoulders a bit, sliding into his chair): And you are?
SS (jumping off the filing cabinet, flattening and expanding accordion style): Slapstick, Mr. Mental Health Man, sir!
TS (sighs): Of course. Listen. Wade…. I’m supposed to see other clients during this time.
DP: I took care of it! Sent them all down the street to that Mexican food place. With vouchers! See, I’m a new me.
STINGRAY: Did you not make an appointment? When I was an Avenger we always made appointments. I don’t think we should jus—
TS (squinting): Walt?
SR (smiling): Yep, it’s me. How are you, Mr. Stevens.
TS: So very disappointed in you, Walt. This doesn’t seem like the kind of healthy choices we discussed.
SR (visibly shrinking in his seat): Oh…
TS (gesturing to the rest of the room): And the rest of you.
SOLO: I’m James Bourne, sir. Read what you did for veterans a few years back. Really appreciate that.
TS (shaking head): Surely you can’t expect me to believe that’s your real name.
S: Yes sir, it is, sir. Maybe you know me better by the name Solo though? While I live, terror d—.
TS (waves his hand): Right. Yes. I remember now. Dangerous loner. Violent murderer.
S (smiling): Yes, sir!
TERROR (feeling TS’s eyes): I’m Terror. Or, you know, Shreck, I guess. I’m kind of the normal one.
TS: Of course you are. And, to be clear, that’s Shrek, like the troll?
T: He’s an ogre. And no. We spell it differently. I have a “c” in mine.
TS: Fine. Wonderful. So—
FOOLKILLER (excitedly cutting off TS): What’s the rent on this place?
FK: Just curious. I just got my own thing up and going in Queens, but it’s nowhere near this nice and—
TS: You’re a therapist?
FK: I am. Just like you. Greg Salinger. I think we’re on some of the same boards.
TS: Oh god…I just referred a client to you.
FK: You did? That’s great! We should totally set something up where we—
TS: Because you have like…. five guns on you right now and you hang out with Wade.
FK: Oh…yeah…I can see that. I guess.
TS (quick to move on): And you? Wade’s brother?
MASACRE (shaking head): No. Masacre.
TS: And you speak Spanish? Any English?
M: Un poco, pero…. en realidad no.
TS: Mi español es muy malo y mi acento es peor. El traductor no está aquí hoy. ¿Tal vez te gustaría para evitar este absurdo ?
M: Sí mucho.
TS: Mi secretaria le puede dar instrucciones a la sala de cine. Tienen subtítulos en español para algunas películas.
M (standing, hustling out of the room): Gracias.
DP: Did you just dismiss a member of my team Doc? I bring you alllll this business and you—
TS: Wade, he speaks almost no English, my Spanish is awful, and I have no one to translate. Him staying is a waste of his time. This is why you make appointments.
SR: Like I was saying. When I was with the Av—
SR (quiet, eyes low): Sorry…
TS: So…why are you here?
SS (blurting out): I was sucked into a cartoon world and turned into a cartoon which sounds cool but isn’t for a lot of reasons one of which is I’m a teenager and have all these teen hormones but no “instrument” and that’s not cool but what’s worse is—
TS (holding up his hand to stop SS): That sounds like something for individual work.
S: My best friend and girlfriend betrayed me and left me for dead!
FK: I can’t stand fools! But I might also be one! And I haven’t had a poem published in years.
T: I’m fine, really. No issues here.
SR: I sometimes feel like maybe I should’ve pursued a different career? Oh and I guess I’m having what you might call an existential crisis.
TS (in frustration): Wade! Why did you drag these people to see me?
DP: We’re a team, Doc, see? Mercs for Money! But, well, we don’t, you know, feel like a team. Like I want to be “Grown Ups,” but we feel more “Grown Ups 2.”
TS: Ok. Look. We’ll try this. But and I can’t stress this enough Wade, show up and my office again without an appointment and I will call Cable.
DP: That’s not cool.
TS: I don’t want to, but I will. Am I clear?
DP (sulking, mumbling): I told them all you were cool. You’re not cool anymore.
TS (turning to the rest of the room): So, why are you guys a team?
S: Money! I’ve got a lifestyle to fund!
TS: The anti-terrorism lifestyle?
S: I mean, sure. But mostly just cool stuff and great food these days.
TS: So you’ve sold out?
S: Well…yeah…kind of.
T: I am also in it for the money. And body parts.
TS: Of course you are Shrek.
T: Did you forget the “c”? It sounds like you forgot the “c.”
TS (ignoring him): Greg?
FK: I also like money.
TS (rubs his temples): Anyone not in it for the money?
SS (raises hand): For the laffs?
SR: To make sure they behave?
TS: Bang up job Walt.
T: I also said body parts.
TS: But nothing else. No other…drive?
DP: What other drive is there?
TS: Well… As a therapist, we’re not supposed to be this didactic. But, to be honest, the faster I can get you all out of here, the better. All good teams have a common goal, an ethos. Even your Heroes for Hire are motivated by more than pure money.
DP: So, like…. chimichangas?
TS (exasperated): You don’t even like those best Wade! You prefer tacos. You. Just. Like. The Word.
Long awkward pause in the room
TS (heavy heavy sigh): Sorry. Sorry. Just…a trying day. The bottom line is a team without a common goal is just a collection of people. If money is all that motivates, the moment there’s a hiccup, the moment something goes wrong? The team will fall apart because in this world, with those costumes? There’s always some piece of human garbage or desperate desperate person who will pay you to commit terrible acts of violence. Why try to be a team when there’s easier money elsewhere, right?
SS: Oh my gosh! He’s right. What the h—
TS (cutting him off): Case in point. So, find a reason to be a team. Find a mission, a goal, beyond the paycheck. Hell even Roxxon has a purpose beyond making money and that place is like…the worst thing on Earth.
FK (whispering to S): Figures he’d be a leftie.
TS (glaring): For next week, I want you all to come back with a list of what are other reasons you might hit someone with a giant mallet or garrote someone or shoot someone 312 times.
SS: Like maybe someday being able to—
TS: Sure. That could be one of them. But maybe try to think of something more than yourself. Bring the lists back here and we’ll compare and discuss. See if maybe you guys have a chance.
FK (excited): That’s exactly how I would have handled this! We are SO alike!
TS: We really aren’t.
S (raising hand): If all my answers are “deading terrorism” would that be accepta—
TS: It would not. You only need to write it once and I’d like you to dig a little deeper.
DP: But we can come back.
TS (can hardly believe he’s saying it): …yes. For one more session. Then we’ll see.
SR: I’ll make sure we make an appointment this time!
TS: Walt…(sighs)…that’d be great, Walt. Great job.
TS stands up and opens the door gesturing them all out.
SR (to DP, overheard as they leave): See! I told you I knew them too.
The clients were immediately referred out to Doctors Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello with appointments on August 10 (file: DEADPOOL AND THE MERCS FOR THE MONEY #2) and September 7 (file: DEADPOOL AND THE MERCS FOR THE MONEY #3).
Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is an Outpatient Therapist who has experience in organizing and facilitating group therapy sessions in a number of settings with a variety of clients, including criminals. No joke.Read More »
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