- Black Panther - Panther's Rage
Author: Sheree Renee Thomas
- Series: Black Panther
Publisher: Titan Books
- ISBN: 9781803360669
- Published: October 2022
- Pages: 325
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 14/10/2022
- Language: English
With the new Black Panther film arriving soon in cinemas, Marvel fans are extremely excited to see what is next for the people of Wakanda. The first film was excellent, but even with all its colour and strength it could only scratch the surface of the comic book. There is a rich history to Wakanda and the character of T’Challa which no movie could ever hope to recreate. This prose adaptation by Sheree Renée Thomas of the classic Panther’s Rage comic book run will enlighten a reader to how much is yet untapped. New enemies, new powers, the undead and even dinosaurs.
After the death of his father T’Challa exiled himself to America and created a new life helping the likes of The Avengers and Fantastic Four. He even fell in love with a singer called Monica, but back in Wakanda a rebellion has been brewing. The followers of the mysterious Killmonger have been becoming more ambitious in their violence, burning villages, and attacking members of the state. T’Challa must return to his homeland and confront not only Killmonger and his army, but also the mistakes he has made in his own past.
Marvel have always produced some great looking comics, but some of the most vibrant and interesting have been in the Black Panther stories. Wakanda seems such a rich and exciting location, but even in the pane of an illustration you can only tell so much about a place. Thomas has taken on the unenviable task of describing these luscious locales in prose form. And does a great job.
The original Rage run by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler and Billy Graham has some of the most iconic moments for the Black Panther and is filled with some of the classic enemies and lore. Thomas covers all these areas, but also manages to give the story even more of a sense of place and history. On the pages of this book Wakanda feels like a real place even with all the innovative technology. It is the human elements that bring the reality. The politics, the history, the sense of duty and tradition. For all its advantages, Wakanda has some messed up politics and this story is the powder keg exploding.
Rage is a very comic book story, but Thomas highlights some of the more emotional elements to ground it. The love between T’Challa and Monica, or the story of a family ripped apart by war. The tale needs these elements of calm and purity, as around it are some explosive set pieces. If you thought the events of the movie were a little outlandish, the comic storyline is insane. Killmonger surrounds himself with Hench people who have their own powers; snake charmers, the ability to control the undead, even avatars of the Gods themselves.
The prose adaptation is faithful, so has an episodic feel in places. On more than one occasion the Black Panther is knocked unconscious and rather than saw his head off with a Vibranium blade while he is out, the baddies let T’Challa get back up again. This betrays the story’s comic roots but is also why we love it so much. So many action set pieces against outlandish enemies. Who doesn’t want to read a battle where the killers ride into the city on the backs of dinosaurs?
The all-out action and rolodex of classic antagonists will sate fans of the comic book characters and the source story. What Thomas adds to legend of The Black Panther is a deeper sense of characterisation and history. T’Challa feels like a real person fighting against his instinct to make others suffer. He is in love and ashamed of how he treated his people. The land of Wakanda is also treated perfectly, I learnt a lot of how the society worked and how the ordinary Wakandian felt. Panther’s Rage is a must read for any fan of The Black Panther, even those knowledgeable in all things Wakanda will come away with some new insights.
Written on 14th October 2022 by Sam Tyler .