WARNING: Spoilers for Rise of the Black Panther #5
The latest Rise of the Black Panther comic sees T'Challa fighting two of his half brothers - the White Wolf, and a new secret sibling he had never known before. We'll soon see a Dora Milaje comic where Okoye, Aneka, and Ayo team-up with Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers. But before that, the early years of T'Challa's life are being explored in a limited prequel series.
Rise of the Black Panther kicked off showing T'Challa and Namor's first fight before doing the same with the Winter Soldier and Doctor Doom. The series has also slowly been showing us the origin of Erik Killmonger, changing things a bit from his previous comic book backstory to make his plight more sympathetic. Though he still differs a bit from the MCU take on the villain, it seems Marvel is trying to thread the rogue back into the Black Panther pantheon after the character's modern absence from the page.
This week, Killmonger leaps forward in his villainous evolution - while T'Challa learns some secrets about his family.
Rise of the Black Panther #5 picks up from the revelation last issue that one of T'Challa's family members is responsible for opening the country to Doom's meddling. As such, things kick off with a very out-of-character T'Challa attacking his half-brother Hunter aka the White Wolf.
MCU fans may be confused by the person bearing the name after Bucky Barnes became the movie version of White Wolf. But Bucky actually borrowed the moniker from a long-established comic character who T'Chaka took into his family when Hunter's parents died. Since then, he's lead the Hatut Zeraze (the War Dogs), who act as Wakanda's secret police.
As most superhero fights tend to do, the battle cools down when it's revealed that T'Challa has another half-brother: Jakarra. Another comic book deep-cut, Jakarra debuted in Black Panther #6 back in 1977. A child that King T'Chaka had with another woman, Jakarra tries claiming his supposed birthright by exposing himself to raw Vibranium, mutating himself into a monstrous creature. He died four issues later, but Rise of the Black Panther condenses things in the retelling.
Jakarra isn't a kingdom-ending threat, thanks to Black Panther's renewed romance with Storm, which brings the X-Woman to his aid. But Black Panther learns there are far more secrets in his family's history than he's comfortable with. This actually helps the story mirror the MCU a bit, with Jakarra taking the place of Killmonger as a secret family member.
The issue also sees Killmonger begin to murder—in brutal fashion—a number of high-ranking Wakandans as part of his own efforts to take control of the country. His drive for conquest looks similar to the Killmonger of the MCU, and with just one issue left in this origin series, the rise of the villain will likely be the conflict that defines the series.
The issue is packed full of great moments for fans of T'Challa's comic history, while also pointing towards some future stories for the king of Wakanda—though they'll have to wait as Black Panther is heading to space.
Rise of the Black Panther #5 is available from Marvel Comics and comic book retailers.
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