Even with Avengers: Infinity War‘s release, Black Panther continues to trend and come up in comic book film discussions. What is his net-worth? What is vibranium? What other technological advancements exist in Wakanda? What was he like in the comic books? Is Shuri smarter than Iron Man and Bruce Banner? Is Wakanda a real place?
Right on cue, Stephen Wiacek (a well-regarded, longstanding comics historian) and Dorling Kindersley’s incredibly comprehensive Marvel guide, which is masterfully put together, both in visual design and interesting content, seeks to answer every Black Panther question you might have. It is an all-there-is-to-know guide about T’Challa, the legend, warrior, king and superhero. It’s also an invaluable 200-page encyclopedia for the uninitiated who have finally decided to join the Marvel adventure.
From the moment you hold Marvel Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide in your hand, it’s clear that this is yet another high-quality tome. It’s become increasingly difficult to review these DK books over the years, mostly because they seem completely flawless. Of course, this Black Panther guide is no exception.
From the opening forward by Don McGregor (comic book writer and creator of Killmonger), who provides insight into the importance of the character in today’s society, to the colourful layout of comic book illustrations and infographics, this is a must-have book for fans by fans. The attention to detail is excellent as it chronologically examines all aspects of T’Challa’s origins and character, including his close relationships and team-ups in the comic books. Going back all the way to his original appearance in 1966, it’s literally packed full of information on the villains, locations, and more – all neatly displayed and easy to read.
The book is split up into ten sections – featuring sumptuous artwork, comprehensive clips, timelines and statistics – which show how the character has evolved over the years:
3. Man of Mystery
4. Defender of the Faith
5. Heavy Sits the Crown
6. Out of Africa
7. The Most Dangerous Man Alive
8. The End of Days
9. One and Future King
Wakanda is engulfed in mystery and Wiacek unveils it all – the culture, the religion, the tradition, the clothing garments, the mythology, the various tribes, and the Egyptian influence on their architecture. This is not your run of the mill reference book. It goes beyond just presenting facts, but also steers us to important highlights that have defined the character.
It’s easy to commend DK and Marvel on this release. It’s beyond being a mere cash-in. It’s a fun-to-thumb hardcover book that bridges the gap between the comic book mythology and the film. In fact, it ventures beyond that into the heart of the hero and does well to appease the appetite for unquenchable fans.
Over the years, Black Panther has had a profound influence on our modern culture and this well-balanced book reminds us why he is such an important character both in the MCU and society as a whole.
It’s available to purchase here: www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za
All images owned by Dorling Kindersley.