WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Rise of the Black Panther #3
Rise of the Black Panther #3 retells the story of T’Challa announcing Wakanda to the world—and suffering an attack by The Winter Soldier as a result. With Black Panther tearing up the box office, Marvel has gained a new, crowd-pleasing star for their many ventures. And while Ta-Nehisi Coates’ main comic is about to see Black Panther head into space, Evan Narcisse’s Rise of the Black Panther series is digging into T’Challa’s early days as the ruler and protector of Wakanda.
Issue #2 saw Namor come to the reclusive kingdom and do battle with the Black Panther before the two teamed up to stop a rash of kidnappings. In condensing some of T’Challa’s early adventures for newer or curious readers, Marvel is also hinting at which elements of his history are the most important. Some of these events mirror key moments in the recent comics, as others allude to plots from the MCU (and what may be to come in the movies).
This week, for example, Black Panther faces one of his sparring partners from Captain America: Civil War for the very first time.
Rise of the Black Panther #3 picks up after T’Challa’s adventure with Namor and shows the young king revealing Wakanda (and their technology) to the wider world. We get to see how Iron Man, Luke Cage, and more heroes react to this news of a surprise superpower, all while delegates from the United Nations head to the secluded nation for the first time. But once the gates to Wakanda have been opened, a mysterious assailant is able to teleport in. One still being mind-controlled by Soviet/Hydra forces.
When the cloaked assassin arrives, T’Challa dons his new costume—which mixes Brian Stelfreeze’s design from the current Black Panther comic with the purple accents of the movie. Once he’s suited up, he quickly discovers the invisible antagonist is The Winter Soldier, formerly (and eventually) known as Bucky Barnes. T’Challa is able to take down Bucky and even temporarily make him lucid. But he’s soon teleported out alongside his accomplice and enters back into Hydra’s control.
Given T’Challa and Bucky’s interactions in the MCU, this comic is certainly made to cash in on the ‘White Wolf’ from this year’s Black Panther. But Bucky’s arrival in Wakanda isn’t the most shocking appearance, as the comic ends with Doctor Doom sitting on T’Challa’s throne and teeing up the next issue. Amidst all this action, we also get more of Erik Killmonger’s new origin story.
As it moves along, it looks more and more like his traditional backstory, but expect some twists connected to Michael B. Jordan’s updated take in Black Panther. For now, Killmonger’s rebellion looks to be a slow burn in Rise of the Black Panther.
Rise of the Black Panther #3 is available now from Marvel and comic book retailers.
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