Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Heart Shaped Herb

First Appearance: Black Panther’s Prey #2, June 1st 1991

Location

This special plant grows only in Wakanda specifically on Mount Kanda in a section called “the Valley of the Panther”.

What it does

The Heart Shaped herb has been described as a natural “super soldier serum” enhancing all of ones physical attributes to above peak human levels; enhanced speed, agility, strength, endurance, healing and senses. With senses enhanced the person can see in pitch blackness, track a person by smell and differentiate multiple smells in a given vicinity, easily lift a man with one hand and easily break a mans bones with a single punch. It also creates a connection between the person and Bast the Panther god.

Properties

Quoted from Wakanda scientist after examining the herb: “The poultice stimulated and accentuated the human being’s kinesthetic sense. The kinesthetic sense is the subliminal perception that allows human beings to close their eyes, yet know where the different parts of their bodies are. If you didn’t have this sense, you couldn’t pick your nose or wash your hair if your eyes weren’t open. The poultice, plus the stimuli of rigorous theological and physical training, heightened your kinesthetic sense. It heightens the proprioceptors (the proprioceptive system processes the orientation sense to the brain) and perceptions in your body. That is how you sense where a tree limb or a building edge is, know exactly where it is and never have a moment’s doubt that your fingers will close about it…The sacred anointment poultice has a second effect on your muscles and ligaments, specifically on the joints where bones connect and swivel, mesh and respond. There are receptors in these joints called the Pacinian corpuscles that carry the signal to the brain to fulfill proper movement. Somehow the poultice is absorbed into those receptors and makes them especially sensitive…This is what enables you to twist and dodge with unparalleled grace.”

Limitations

The Only people who can survive the ingesting of the herb are those of Royal Wakandan Blood or someone worthy. Those not worthy have either been poisoned by the herb or had their spirit devoured by the panther god.  It should be noted only Eric Killmonger has been known to survive eating the herb though he fell into a coma. When he awoke he had none of the enhanced powers.

How to get it

Their have been conflicting accounts of how one can gain access to the Heart shaped Herb. One way is to defeat the reigning Black Panther, then six of Wakanda‘s greatest fighters and various other challenges before being allowed to use the herb.In Black Panther: Deadliest of the Species when a Black Panther is appointed when another is incapacitated or dead they must walk barefoot across fire, dodge a series of arrows and spears, meditate without being stung for six hours in a pit of scorpions and then scaling a mountain unaided and then sneak or fight your way through more than a dozen black panther’s who guard the herb.

Ritual?

Their have been conflicting accounts of how one gains the powers of the herb. One account has the herb brewed and then it’s juices are applied to a wound made on the chest.

The Other is a simple eating of the herb which sends the mind to the realm of the Panther god to be judged.

Those known to have successfully used the Heart shaped herb

Bashenga- The Fist Black Panther

Azzari- The Wise

T’chaka- The Great

S’yan- The Swift

T’challa- The Most Dangerous Man Alive

Shuri- The Deadliest of the Species

T’chaka Jr.- The Panther

Sh’ri- The successor


Sh’ri- Black Panther

Created by: Jeff Parker and Salvador “Salva” Espin

1st appearance: Exiles #6, 2009

Nationality: Wakandan

Relatives:[Paternal] T’Challa/Black Panther (Father), Azzari the Wise (Great grandfather), S’yan (Uncle), T’chaka (Grandfather), Shuri (Aunt), White Wolf (adopted Uncle), Jakara (Uncle),  T’shan (Cousin), Bashenga (Ancestor)

[Maternal] Storm (Mother), Ashake (ancestor, deceased), Mr. Munroe ( Great grandfather), Harriet Munroe (Great grandmother), unidentified Kenyan Great grandmother, David Munroe (Grand father, deceased), N’dare Munroe (Grand mother, deceased), Vivian Munroe (Grand Aunt, deceased), Colonel Shetani (Great uncle), David Evan Munroe Jr. (Cousin)

Alternate reality siblings: T’chana (1/2 Brother), Azari (Brother), Becka Munroe (sister), T’chaka/Panther (Brother), Sky-Panther (Sister), Torrent (1/2 sister)

Skills and Abilities: Trained from birth in hand to hand combatant as a princess of Wakanda.

Powers: As the Black Panther of her world she must have ingested the heart shaped herb which granted Superhuman physical characteristics such as enhanced strength, Speed, senses and vitality like all other black panther’s and a connection to Bast The Panther God.

Biography

The only other child on her earth besides T’chaka of Storm and the Black Panther. When he was presumed dead after disappearing she took the mantle of the black panther.


Sky Panther

Created by: Christos N. Gage and Tom Raney

1st appearance: Avengers Academy #12, 2011

Nationality: Wakandan

Relatives:[Paternal] T’Challa/Black Panther (Father), Azzari the Wise (Great grandfather), S’yan (Uncle), T’chaka (Grandfather), Shuri (Aunt), White Wolf (adopted Uncle), Jakara (Uncle),  T’shan (Cousin), Bashenga (Ancestor)

[Maternal] Storm (Mother), Ashake (ancestor, deceased), Mr. Munroe ( Great grandfather), Harriet Munroe (Great grandmother), unidentified Kenyan Great grandmother, David Munroe (Grand father, deceased), N’dare Munroe (Grand mother, deceased), Vivian Munroe (Grand Aunt, deceased), Colonel Shetani (Great uncle), David Evan Munroe Jr. (Cousin)

Alternate reality siblings: T’chana (1/2 Brother), Azari (Brother), Becka Munroe (sister), Sh’ri (sister), Panther/T’chaka (Sister), Torrent (1/2 sister)

Skills and Abilities: Trained from birth in hand to hand combatant as a princess of Wakanda.

Powers:Unknown

Biography

Nothing is known about her except she’s the daughter of T’challa and Storm. She has her mother’s trademark white hair, worn in a Mohawk like her mom once did along with a black striped two piece body suit adorned with bones.


Avengers Movie Trailer and pics!!!

What could be more lovely and heart warming than the high quality Teaser trailer for Joss Whedon’s 2012 epic “The Avengers”  found at the end of the Captain America Movie? NOTHING I SAY! NOTHING! Even after the Stolen Script incident I can’t wait to see the Nick Fury Assemblage come next year! Get excited with me below! :)

 


Why? A Tale of Black Panther Comics

As I sit here waiting for the next issue of Black Panther Most Dangerous man Alive, despite the shoddy false advertising which threw me for a loop recently (Black Panther Man without fear #517), I got to thinking

 

Why is Marvel still trying with the Black Panther?!

I hear allot of bitching and moaning about what Marvel should or should not do with T’challa but Marvel has tried to keep things fresh and keep the Panther on store shelves consistently for over 16 years. Ridiculous you say?  Well sorry Mr and Mrs negative. Take a chill pill sit back

hold up!

wait a minute!

Let me school you!


Instead of going back to the beginning I’ll start with the 90′s and how marvel has tried various things to garner interest in the first ever Black Superhero.

Before Priest (1994-1998)

Before priest was tasked to helm Black Panther the 90′s saw T’challa in “Black Panther’s Prey” which was a beautifully drawn four issue limited series released in 1991.  He made cameo’s all over the marvel universe and was a mainstay of the fantastic force team which he funded from 1994 until 1996 which ran for eighteen issues.

After the limited success of these series Marvel decided it was time to revamp the Black Panther and Christopher Priest was tasked with making the Black Panther relevant to a whole new generation of readers.

 

Priest’s Black Panther Run (1998-2003)

Critically acclaimed and loved by fans. To even suggest it was not a work of art is blasphemy! But what did it do? Black Panther at around 1998 entered the scene with a bang, selling more than 54’000 copies of its first issue the Black Panther was back and more visible than ever. Priest introduced many concepts such as the Dora Milaj, the tale of Hunter and the Hatut Zeraze, technology beyond your wildest dreams and action, wonderful glorious over the top action which saw T’challa become hardcore. He confessed to joining the avengers simply to asses there threat level, he took on a crazed Iron Fist and lived to tell the tale, he defeated Tony Stark/Iron Man and Magneto,  he reintroduced and in some instances revamped classic villains such as Malice, Man -Ape and Eric Killmonger with new twists and made them not just a threat to the panther but to the whole Marvel universe.

Sure everyone thought Priest’s run was perfect but I didn’t.

I was bored to tears long before the “enemy of the state” storyline wrapped up I had seen T’challa take on Iron Man, Iron Fist and various others but once the sci-fi stuff with Solomon’s frogs started I was picking it up out of reverence instead of enjoyment.Priest had essentially made the Black Panther into Marvel’s Batman and as a result was faced with a hero who was cool to read but lacked any kind of personality outside of being cool. Looking back it’s the same problem I had with DC comics Hal Jordan for most of his career he’s just not personable.

Christopher Priest’s last hurrah!

At no point during the run was I pulled into the tale or was I emotionally invested in the characters on the page. They were cool and iconic but there was a great divide between him and me. He lacked the down to earth charm of Peter Parker/Spider-man or Kyle Rayner/Green Lantern or Miles Morales/ Spider-man. None of the social issues one would expect a Black Superhero to deal with were brought to the fore. It was cool but fell flat on personality.

Things became exciting once again with the introduction of Kasper Cole a character who was a modern take on the Black Panther mythos. He had all of T’challa‘s personality traits stripped of the fiction of Wakanda. He was a Panther for the modern reader. Confronting reverse racism and baby momma drama was the reality kick the series had needed. Sadly I was one of the few still buying the damn book Black Panther sales fell to a low of a little above 15,000 (see sales figures for details). Marvel despite the sales slump charged Priest to continue the tales of Kasper in “The Crew” which sadly only lasted seven issues ending in 2004.

 

While Priest was putting the finale touches on The Crew marvel had already contacted Reggie Hudlin to fill some big shoes. Unlike Priest who took on Black Panther with no one looking and caught our attention, Reggie had to live up to Priest’s series, from both critics and fans. His first arc showed great promise “Who is the Black Panther‘s” first issue fell short of Priest’s first issue sales numbers BUT it dramatically improved on the final sales figures of Priest’s run it sold a whopping over 50’000 copies (See sales figures for details).

Enter Reggie Hudlin(2005-2008)

It appeared that the Black Panther was back but what most were unaware of was that this opening arc was to be a limited series. The massive sales figures prompted Marvel to turn it into an ongoing series. This probably explains the travesty which was the second arc involving the X-men. What Hudlin brought to the table was a streamlined royal family, he literally made the Panther behave and operate like a world class leader instead of just a superhero and a healthy dose of politics which felt different enough from priests run to warrant the new series; but critics and fans alike went to town on him. All across cyberspace came the complaining.

The wedding itself is the best selling single Black Panther issue in the history of the character topping 60’000 (See Sales for details). The problem though was not capitalizing on Storm’s inclusion in the series. To me this is where the shit hit the fan. Hudlin had literally married black superhero royalty but shuffled Storm into the role of “love interest”. That commanding presence she had for years in the X-men was subdued. Her fans lambasted Hudlin’s mutilation of her character and honestly this is where I think the internet started hating him. Storm fans are a very vocal and very fickle bunch and Hudlin had awoken an “ant nest of controversy” by not being able to cater to both fan bases.  When they joined the fantastic four and had their relationship penned by the master Dwayne Mcduffie’s things seemed like they could be getting better but once they left that team and Mcduffie’s pen I was ready to move on.

Boredom had struck again, their marriage was too perfect, sure I liked seeing them together but…..it was boring to read about it every month.

The Wedding of the Centry

They were a modern day Scott/Cyclops and Jean/Phoenix, claimed soul mates by everyone but watching the relationship was snooze-ville. The sci-fi stories that came out of joining the fantastic four were also not fitting for the character though they did have some impressive feats by both Black Panther and Storm. Despite the flack from fans and critics the series at its lowest sold about 19’000 copies (See sales for details) which tops the lowest of Priest’s run and finally ended in 2008.


Hudlin’s last hurrah with the panther began in 2009 and this is where Marvel starts trying new things. A female Black Panther takes the lead in this series and T’challa resorts to tactics last seen in the Priest run of drawing out his enemies while seemingly abandoning his nation.

Maberry eventually takes over a run best described as all out action.

Doomwar and Maberry (2009-2010)

But with Shuri taking over as the next lead protagonist to T’challa, Storm gets even less limelight and gets tragically written as almost neutered and out of her depth in Wakanda. The relaunch sold over 50’000 copies but was the fastest falling Black panther series ever as it ended with a little over 17’000 in twelve issues.

Not deterred Marvel launched Doomwar to resolve the plot-lines left over from this series with villain Dr.Doom. They tossed in the x-men, fantastic four, War machine and Deadpool to boost sales. It was mildly successful as the series began with 40’000+ (See Sales figures for details)without any publicity because Marvel in it’s infinite wisdom threw their publicity behind the far inferior “Siege”  which had one white character going bat shit crazy while killing a white god etc. Six issue in the Doomwar series ended with about 20’000 + (See Sales figures for details).

 

What was Marvel to do?

The Dismal Klaws

In a testament to the faith Marvel had in the Black Panther they launched three very different Black Panther books, “Klaws of the Panther” a direct Follow up to Doomwar, “Flags of our fathers” a prequel by Hudlin and relaunched Black Panther staring T’challa as Black Panther: Man without fear.

Reception for Flags of our Fathers was lukewarm at best with a start of 20’000 and an end of 12’000 (See Sales figures for details) it was obvious fans were not overly enthused or interested in the tales of old Panther Azzari despite the inclusion of Captain America.

 

Read our in depth Interview with Reginald Hudlin here

 

Klaws of the Panther was weird and suffered from broken and just plain terrible art! Klaws was the worst selling Black Panther series to date despite throwing in Spider-man and Wolverine it started with a little over 16’000.

Man without fear 2010-2011

Enter David Liss who moved T’challa out of Wakanda. As illogical as it seemed since it was out of character especially given what became of his nation after Doomwar concluded. It worked! Critics loved it and fans……well some of them did too. sales?

Not the boom of the Hudlin or Priest Highs but a moderate success as the first issue sold about 30’000 copies. This series found Marvel trying allot of tricks to boost sales.

A touted battle between T’challa and Luke cage which was simply advertising because the two panels dedicated to the scuffle was so paltry it was less than meaningless. The latest sales gimmick appears to be the mystery of the American Panther which I guarantee you will not be T’challa despite all the online Hoopla. The greatest strength for the book is the street level action that makes T’challa feel right at home.

Fear indeed!

These are the stories in which he shines and David Liss’s writing is growing on me with every passing month questionable advertising or not.

 

Read our in depth Interview with David Liss here

All I can say is Marvel you have tried just near everything to keep the Black Panther a viable and visible Black Superhero for check it over 16 years from 1994-2011 and the only thing left for fans to do is put out or just shut the #!*& up! You wanted a black writer? Been done! A white one? Done again! Crossovers? Done! Gender change? Done! Status changing events? yeah Done as well! Do Black Panther fans know what the hell they want?

Do you agree of disagree?

Let your voice be heard!

Sound off below!


Spark-Flow Studies

Spark-Flow Studios is a black owned film and animation production studio in the greater Washington DC area. When I saw their animations I knew you guys would get a kick out of it! :)

Power Man-Victor Hernan Alvarez

Power Man-Victor Hernan Alvarez

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Created by: Fred Van Lente and Mahmud A. Asrar

1st appearance: Shadowland: Power Man #1, (2010)

Nationality: American

Team Affiliations: None

Legal Status: U.S citizen with no criminal record

Weight: 160 lbs    Height: 5’9

Eyes: Brown        Hair: Black

Relatives: Shades (father, deceased), Maria Alvarez (mother),

Skills and abilities: Kun Lun style martial arts skills thanks to his powers and further training by Iron Fist himself. He’s also proficient in the use of computers.

Powers: He can absorb chi energy from his surroundings without the need to meditate or concentrate. This chi energy enhances him to the point of  invulnerability; he’s been shown surviving point-blank gunfire and surviving the bombing of his home; Superhuman strength allowing him to trade blows with Luke Cage.

Since he absorbs chi, chi based attacks like Danny Rand’s Iron fist technique and Hand ninja dis-corporation are rendered useless due to him siphoning off the energy faster than it can be used. Since chi is life energy Victor can absorb the very life force of those around him though he has not mastered it. When his building was destroyed he absorbed all the life force of those who died and as a result seems to have gained the accumulated knowledge there in. His martial arts prowess comes from Javier one of Iron Fist’s most prodigious students whose life force he absorbed. Additionally when he hits things while using his powers they tend to explode.

Biography

Tragedy and Origin

Victor was born to Black Supervillain/former gang member and friend of Luke Cage who was known as Shades and Maria Alvarez. He idolized his father despite his past and often absence. After his father had reformed and was now just a peaceful racial activist his mother kicked him out of the house because she was tired of the upheaval he brought to there lives [Shadowland: Power man #2].

The Origin of Power Man from Shadowland-Power man #1 and #2 by

The Origin of Power Man from Shadowland-Power man #1 and #2 by Fred Van Lente and Mahmud A. Asrar

Victor now a teen was ready to leave with his father but wasn’t allowed to. His father wanted a different kind of life for him one free of being jailed and beat up constantly. Victor was upset and cursed his father right as the building was blown up by Daredevil villain Bullseye [Shadowland: Power man #2]. Victor miraculously survived the ordeal by somehow absorbing the chi of all those who had died [Shadowland: Power man #1].

The New Hero for Hire

Victor fashioned himself a costume and set himself up as a “hero for hire”. This brought him to the attention of Luke Cage and Iron Fist as well as the Hand who were now working for Daredevil in what they classified as Shadowland. Victor fought, superhero Luke Cage, and supervillains Cottenmouth, Nightshade, Comanche, Mr. Fish, and Cheshire. He barley managed to escape with his life [Shadowland: Power man #1 and Shadowland: Power man#2]. Found by his cousin Sofia he found a confidant and ally to aid him in keeping his super exploits secret from his family [Shadowland: Power man #2].

After recovering he was set up by Deadly Nightshade who lured him into a trap and managed to negate his powers. She proposes that he work for her after telling him his powers are a result of her technology which was present in his father’s goggles being lodged in his body when his building exploded. Unsure what to do, when Nightshade reactivated his powers he attacked Iron Fist [Shadowland: Power man #3].

Despite his seeming attack he quickly dispatched Nightshade and sided with Fist against her and her minions . before finally siding with Iron Fist and becoming his apprentice. Fist aided him in tracking down and rescuing his cousin Sofia from “the Hand”. In the end it was him who defeated their seemingly unbeatable foe and saved the day. Iron Fist then took Victor as his apprentice while giving him a job at the Rand foundation. Rand also provided a cover for Victor by talking with his mother Maria [Shadowland: Power man #4].

The Apprentice

Victor soon found out the life as the apprentice of Danny Rand was full of adventure as they battled the Commedia Dell’Morte and he met the mysterious Noir [Iron Fist and Power Man #1-4]. After this he made new allies with Arana/Spider-girl, X-23 female clone of Wolverine, Amadeus Cho former partner to Hercules and Kevin Masterson son of Thunderstrike. They were known unofficially as the “Chosen” during the Fear Itself Event [Fear Itself-The Home Front #5-7]. When the Avengers Academy expands and moves he is one of the people recruited [Avengers Academy #21].

During INFINITY he is seen working for Luke Cage alongside Ava Ayala in a new heroes for Hire trio. Despite being on Luke’s payroll they continued to have personality clashes [Mighty Avengers #1] . He was later one of the heroes drawn into conflict with Shuma Gorath alongside Luke Cage, Blue Marvel, Monica Rambeau and Ava Ayala [Mighty Avengers #1 and Mighty Avengers #2]. After the incident he joins Luke Cage’s Mighty Avengers team and shows a mutual attraction with Ava Ayala [Mighty Avengers #3 and Mighty Avengers #4].


X-men: Schism #2 Review

X-men Schism #2

X-men Schism #2

The X-Men event of the decade starts here! It’s never been a more dangerous time to be a mutant. Even with their numbers at a record low, the world refuses to trust mutant kind…and after a mutant-triggered international incident, anti-mutant hatred hits new heights. Of course it’s at this moment, when the mutant race needs most to stand together, that a split begins that will tear apart the very foundation of the X-Men. From superstar writer and Marvel Architect Jason Aaron and a full roster of comics’ top artists, this is an X-tale that will reverberate for years to come! Come October, the X-Men landscape will be irreparably changed.

Summary

All over the world the sentinels distributed by Killgore rage uncontrollably, the X-men scramble into action to save the very people who purchased said machines to kill them. On Utopia Wolverine tries to keep the children out of the clearly escalating conflict, Kid Omega then shows up on Utopia for sanctuary. Wolverine thinks they should hand him over to the Avengers immediately, Cyclops thinks differently.

Elsewhere Killgore’s friends broker a deal with some aliens and double cross them in the end to both get three billion dollars from the hellfire club and secure their cargo.

They keep Omega’s presence on Utopia secret much to Wolverine’s dismay. In San Francisco the mayor is opening a museum dedicated to Mutants, Cyclops decides to use the opportunity to show all who would do harm to mutants and Utopia that they are not afraid. He sends Magneto, Emma Frost, Namor, Iceman and Colossus with a contingent of mutant students.

Killgore predicted that Cyclops would send those exact mutants and prepares his team to crash the museum opening and exterminate the mutant race at once. Wolverine upset about his disagreements with Cyclops takes off on his own instead of accompanying his friends to the Museum opening, he watches from a bar on tv.

 

The Good

Art-Frank Cho’s art is lovely; it illustrates the action and emotion needed for this very volatile tale.

Cover-I enjoyed both the standard and the Variant cover, especially the variant which found the scantily clad Emma Frost and Psylocke flanked by hotrods Sunspot, Gambit and Namor.

Threat- Kade Killgore is a psychotic little monster hiding in a child’s body. Lat issue I said how unimpressed I was, this issue I am very impressed. He has such a childlike joy in causing mayhem and death. Highly reminiscent of the Joker from Batman running around in sheer bliss of the destruction he causes or Sabretooth destroying everything about wolverine’s life. How later writers handle his character will clearly make or break his long term villain potential. I’m also reminded of Fabian Cortex from the early 90’s. When he was introduced he was a formidable and very series character under Claremont but other writers literally made him a whiney coward who had “lucked out” in killing Magneto.

Killgore also has quite the like minded brood in his accomplices. The young blonde girl in particular is a very entertaining psycho of the highest order.

Morality- This issue presents us with another straw on the hump of the camel with Cyclops harboring the criminal Quentin Quire. Now I understand why Wolverine would want to hand him over to the authorities immediately since it would take all the targets now being aimed at Utopia elsewhere, on Quire.  For the safety and betterment of the nation of Utopia and ensuring the safety of its inhabitants Quentin Quire should be handed over to the Authorities.

On the other hand, Quire’s little spectacle has exposed the UN nations for the hypocrites they are. In X-men Schism #1 Cyclops made a speech that asked the UN to disarm all their sentinels. They claimed they had none, yet, when Quire made his display they armed and made ready sentinels they claimed they never had. Quire can be seen as a terrorist by humans yes but he can also be seen as a hero by the mutant race. He made them ready for the looming threat of extinction via Sentinels.

Now if Cyclops handed him over to the authorities he would be prodded, poked, tortured, experimented on etc. Why would Scott subject one of his people to human “justice” after all that’s taken place?

 

The Bad

Idie okonkwo- Hated this character up until Schism honestly. This issue she continues her mantra of “oh mutants are monsters” oh “I’m a monster”.  (Shudder) Can we give this pony a new trick please?

 

 

 

The Ugly

3.5/5


SDCC 2011: Misty Knight’s Villains for Hire

What’s the overall feel and tone that you want to convey with “Villains for Hire”?

We’d like people to be on the edge of their seats reading this one — it’s the dark mirror to the super-shiny, bright and breezy world of “Heroes for Hire.” Misty’s having to deal with some seriously dangerous people in the story, so it’s more serious and gritty, but there’s a thread of gallows humor running through it and some stunning action sequences that will hopefully make the price of admission worth it. Plus, we’ve thrown in a fair few twists and turns, surprise reveals and some jaw-dropping cliffhangers.

We’re having a blast writing this story as it offers us (and the readers) a glimpse into the dark, edgy corner of the M.U. that the villains occupy, where the only thing you can be certain of is don’t trust anyone, not even yourself!

“Villains for Hire” hits stores in November

Learn all about Misty Knight here


Steel Cosplay

The man of Steel is here!


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