Black Panther (4th series) #23

Issue Date: 
February 2007
Story Title: 
War Crimes- Part One

Reginald Hudlin (writer), Koi Turnbull (penciler), Don Ho with Sal Regla and Jeff de los Santos (Inks), J. D. Smith (Colors), VC’s Gent (Letters), Daniel Ketchum (Assistant Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor), Joe Quesada (Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

At the funeral of Goliath, Bill Foster’s family mourns his passing. T’Challa and Storm offer their condolences and any help they can give. The two heroes and the family then make statements to the press about the wrongness of the Registration Act and the disappointment in the Pro-Registration heroes. The Senators in Washington start a smear campaign against the Black Panther. On the show The Spin Zone, multiple American citizens express their issues with T’Challa and Ororo.

They try to find any dirt on Goliath, but can’t. They worry that this may become a race issue. At Bill Foster’s family home, his nephew speaks with T’Challa, asking to help out. T’Challa refuses his help now, but tells the young man he will be in touch.
On the way back to the Wakandan Embassy, Storm and T’Challa worry about the army they need to build if they’re going to fight the Registration Act. Once at the Embassy they are greeted by W’Kabi and S’yan. The two men ask for Ororo to leave, but T’Challa demands that she has a right to hear what they have to say.
The two start a discussion about their fears for Wakanda. They believe that T’Challa’s adventures in the west are hurting Wakanda. His foreign wife only adds to their fears that T’Challa is losing interest in his homeland. They worry that another will try to come in and lead Wakanda. The two men leave the couple alone to their thoughts. Storm begins to realize that T’Challa isn’t certain about what to do, though she offers to return with him. Outside, S’yan and W’Kabi believe they haven’t succeeded in changing T’Challa’s mind, but they did change Storm’s.
SHIELD watches the embassy and sees a group of vehicles leaving. Though T’Challa is not in any of them, he races beneath New York in the sewers. When he exits, he finds the Black Widow waiting for him. As she moves to fight him, T’Challa’s Dora Milaje take care of her fairly quickly.
Out on the street, T’Challa finds Steve Rogers posing as a mailman and follows him. Captain America is skeptical of who the Black Panther really is, and then why he is really there. The two begin to fight, though T’Challa just wants to talk. Their fight ends abruptly when Captain America mention Bill Foster’s death. T’Challa offers to supply Steve with weapons, but Captain America wants the Black Panther and Storm’s help.
Elswhere, the Black Widow reports to Iron Man. As they discuss T’Challa and Storm potentially bringing in mutant help, Tony realizes he needs to bring in the big guns. He turns once more to the Thor clone that killed Bill Foster.

Full Summary: 

At the funeral of Bill Foster, known more prominently as Goliath, T’Challa and Ororo stand in the rain with Bill’s family. Bill’s mother crouches and cries, yelling that with all the heroes’ powers they wrapped her son in a tarp and lowered him into his grave with a chain. T’Challa quietly offers to arrange a hero’s burial in a real coffin in Wakanda.
Bill’s sister snaps at T’Challa demanding if he can shrink her brother down, because she doesn’t even know that they tried. She then remarks that he, once known as Black Goliath, was killed by an Aryan thunder god. Before she can continue, her father stops her, yelling that that was not how he taught her. Mr. Foster tells her that what they did was wrong, but making claims about racial conspiracies detracts from the truth. Bill’s sister says that they don’t know anything and they have to consider all possibilities. She then collapses, yelling that she misses Bill and wondering how they could do this.
Cameras watch the funeral as a reporter explains that Goliath was the highest profile death in the battles over the Super Human Registration Act. T’Challa states that thanks to the Stamford tragedy, a man who has sacrificed for his community died and no one bothers to ask why. The Reporter explains that the Foster family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States Government, Stark Enterprises, and Fantastic Four Incorporated.
Mrs. Foster asks how her son being a scientist who helped people makes him a criminal. Bill’s sister insists that the Registration Act has made the world more dangerous, not less. Mr. Foster explains that he is most disappointed by Hank Pym, a close friend, who appears to be a co-conspirator in Bill’s death.

Elsewhere in a secluded room, a group of men sit around a long table and try to find dirt on Goliath. They realize that there was nothing remotely bad that they could dig up. One of the men explains that while Goliath wasn’t an A-List hero like Captain America, he’s the perfect test case. Another man shouts that the Black Panther is behind all of the problems that have arisen with Goliath’s death. Everett Ross laughs at that and tells him that the Foster family is filled with doctors and attorneys and they could have thought of it themselves. One of the senators says that the black vote won’t matter in the next election, while another worries that Bill Foster’s death will be spun to make him out to be another Emmett Till. As another senator asks who Emmett Till is, Everett Ross simply rolls his eyes.

At the Fosters’ home T’Challa and Ororo prepare to leave. The Fosters thank them for everything they’ve done. Goliath’s newphew asks to speak with T’Challa privately and the two head off. He tells T’Challa that he used to help Bill in the lab all the time, and that he is graduating from M. I. T. in two years. T’Challa thinks he is asking for money, but the young man quickly explains that he is also ROTC. T’Challa quickly tells the young man that he shouldn’t do anything illegal, his family is dealing with enough. Goliath’s nephew gets angry and asks if T’Challa is really on his side. The Black Panther states that he is, but that isn’t what his family needs. The young man states that he will crack the Pym Particle formula one day. When he asks for T’Challa’s help, the Black Panther says that they will be in touch.

Later, on T’Challa’s jet, he and Storm travel over the open water. Storm asks her husband if he’s found another soldier for his army. T’Challa explains that the boy is angry and intelligent, and T’Challa wants to keep him on the right path. He then says that he caught Ororo’s tone and reminds her that Charles Xavier once recruited her for his army. Storm looks at him and tells him that she isn’t criticizing. She says that they need soldiers and can’t rely on the X-Men. They have to build a new army in the United States. The two sit in silence for a moment and the Ororo asks if she told T’Challa lately that she loves him.

As the two arrive at the Wakandan Embassy, they’re informed that they have guests waiting. Inside, S’yan, T’Challa’s uncle, W’Kabi, head of Wakanda Security, and other Wakandan officials inform the Black Panther that they need to talk. W’Kabi asks that Ororo excuse them as they have family business. T’Challa gets angry and reminds them that she is queen and his family. S’yan accepts.

S’yan then explains that due to the importance of their conversation, they need to discuss it in person. They apologize for speaking bluntly, but things must be said. Ororo looks at them and is glad. She states that it is time she learns the business and she prefers a frank conversation. S’yan and W’Kabi glance at one another. S’yan explains that the council believes T’Challa’s recent adventures in the west are ill-advised besides the fact that he is breaking a tenant of Wakandan policy, but is also heading toward a US invasion of Wakanda.

T’Challa argues that the threat is there no matter what and that he wants to stop it here before the United States exports their ideas of “public safety” across the globe. S’yan wonders how long T’Challa will try to save America’s soul and govern Wakanda from afar. He then tells T’Challa that he has confirmed his countrymen’s fears by marrying a foreigner.

S’yan tells them that many feel T’Challa’s heart is no longer in Wakanda and Storm is a symbol of it. W’Kabi continues and tells them that someone will try to fill T’Challa’s throne. T’Challa asks if they blame all of this on Storm. S’yan explains that Storm is not to blame, but rather T’Challa’s foreign adventures and lack of interest in Wakanda. He ends this confrontation by reminding T’Challa that he is king and they leave him to think things over.

Soon Ororo and T’Challa are left alone. After some thinking and a long silence, Storm says that if he chooses, she will return to Wakanda with him. He snaps and asks if she think that is right. Ororo instead asks him another question. She wonders how long Wakanda will be able to keep its isolationist stance. As the two move close together, T’Challa responds, telling her that people have thought they would need to end that policy many times throughout history. She asks then if he doesn’t think they will try to invade Wakanda. He insists that they will try, that they always try because they don’t welcome them. Storm tells T’Challa that he doesn’t sound sure of what to do.

As T’Challa walks away, Storm tells him that it’s alright not to always know the right thing to do. T’Challa stops and tells her he has to when he’s king. Outside, W’Kabi asks S’yan if he believes they were effective. S’yan says that they did not change T’Challa’s mind, but they did change Storm’s. He says that they’ll be home eventually.

Back in Washington, the senators and Everett Ross continue discussing the problems with T’Challa. One person says that they need a better press release initiative because the Black Panther has much better press. They worry that the Panther is building support throughout Europe and the Pacific Rim. His influence is even extending to resistance movements in the US.
One senator wonders why Tony Stark didn’t just finish the job. Everett Ross interrupts and states that Jim Rhodes, better known as War Machine, called for a truce. He continues explaining that it was probably a good thing not making Iron Man fight in a fatal showdown with a popular African king. One of the senator agrees claiming that they would end up looking like Klu Klux Klan members and not patriots.

On a talk show called Spin Zone, the host explains to his viewers about the Black Panther and Storm’s vocal opposition to the Superhuman Registration Act. The show then shows different people questioning the King and Queen’s judgment. One person wonders about T’Challa’s friendship with the Avengers since he joined them just to spy on them. Another questions Storm’s intentions, wondering if any time there is bad weather it’s her fault or that she is allowing it to happen. A third talks of America overthrowing their king over two hundred years ago, so why does this king think he can tell them what to do? The host then informs his audience that the Black Panther has supporters in Namor and Dr. Doom, both of whom tried to overthrow the US in the past. He claims that these associations have forced black leaders to no longer support T’Challa. The host reveals that no one knows for sure if the Black Panther plans to meet with fugitives of the Registration Act.

A SHIELD agent watches the Wakandan embassy through a telescope. He informs his contact that six vehicles are moving out. When he asks if he should follow, the contact tells him they’ve got someone on the job. Another agent tells the contact that the six cars are splitting into two groups, but the contact can’t read which car T’Challa is in. The agents then say that the groups of three split further into six. In a sewer beneath New York, T’Challa runs through the mess in street clothes.

He emerges in an alleyway. He is greeted by someone asking him how he could have withstood fifteen miles in a sewer with his heightened sense of smell. T’Challa turns to see Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, leaning against a wall. T’Challa states that they do what they have to. The Black Widow is surprised that he knew she was tracking him the whole time. He explains that she is the best spy the Soviet system ever made, and people like him hire people like her. As he walks away, she starts to threaten him. He then explains that he would never fight a woman, he has people for that. She raises her wrist shooter.

Suddenly one of T’Challa’s Dora Milaje kicks her in the back. As the two begin to fight, the second Dora Milaje lunges down from above attacking with a wooden staff. Using her wrist shooter, she breaks the staff. The Black Widow realizes that T’Challa is getting away. Her distraction allows one of the Dora Milaje to punch her in the face.

Natasha turns and looks at them. She tells them they now have her full attention and that she is not playing any more. She smiles as she aims her wrist shooters at the two women. There is an empty click. Briefly she wonders what they did to her weapons, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She springs forward striking one of the Dora Milaje. The other, however, kicks the Black Widow in the head, slamming her face into a brick wall.

Out on the street, T’Challa finds an imposing-looking blonde mailman. He follows him, even down into a taped off subway. When the mailman finally stops and looks at the man following him, T’Challa merely greets the man calling him Steve. The mailman demands to know who he is.

T’Challa rips off his civilian clothes, revealing the Black Panther costume beneath. The mailman is confused to see T’Challa and demands to know how he found him. He asks if it was SHIELD, but T’Challa scoffs at that. The mailman whips out Captain America’s shield and flings it bouncing off the walls claiming that it could be anyone in the Black Panther suit. As the shield spins toward T’Challa’s head, he states that there are easier ways to do this. T’Challa bends at the last second so the shield flies harmlessly overhead.

Captain America, now in his full suit, catches his shield. T’Challa asks just to talk, but Captain America won’t have it. He punches the Black Panther in the face. T’Challa cradles his jaw and switches into his battle armor.

As the two start toward one another, Captain America asks why T’Challa came there. The Black Panther explains that he wants to show Steve that there is a better way to win the war than fighting. Steve scoffs and says politicians talk and get nothing done, he’s a soldier. The Black Panther says that he is Captain America, the symbol of the United States. He could change people’s minds if he talked to them.
Captain America asks how many more heroes have to die while opinions change. This stops the Black Panther. He takes off his mask and asks how the Pro-Registration heroes could kill Goliath and just go on. Captain America explains that Bill Foster was one of them, a scientist and a hero, yet Reed Richards and Tony Stark don’t get it. He states that there is only one way to win this war.

T’Challa looks at his old friend and tells him that there is no way he can win this. Steve is relying on old SHIELD equipment, he needs a tech source. Captain America asks if T’Challa would supply him. The two men look at one another and says that he would under the table. Steve then asks what if they find out, or what if he needs more than weapons. He asks what if he needed warriors like T’Challa and Storm. T’Challa stops and says that he joined the Avengers because he feared an event like this. He states that he quit another group for the same reason, and now it has come to pass. Captain America looks at T’Challa and asks if he can help them get to the Negative Zone and break into the 42.

The Black Widow explains to Iron Man that she had to fight two people, so he needs to lay off her. Tony Stark says he can’t argue since T’Challa, with no powers, cut through his chest plate. He then says that if Jim Rhodes hadn’t jumped in, he would have the whole problem solved. Natasha, looking rather beat up, reminds Iron Man that with Wakandan technology and the help of T’Challa and Storm, they could tip the scales. The Black Widow then worries that Storm might rally mutants to get involved. Iron Man thinks for a moment. He looks down and decides that it is time for the big guns. On a table lies the prone form of the Thor clone that killed Bill Foster.

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther


Black Widow, Iron Man (pro-registration Avengers)

Thor Clone
Captain America

Dora Milaje (Black Panther’s Body Guards)

Everett Ross



Bill Foster’s Father

Bill Foster’s Mother

Bill Foster’s Nephew

Bill Foster’s Sister
Spin Zone Host

Louis Farrakhan

Al Shaprton

In Footage


Thor Clone

In Description:

Black Panther

Iron Man


In Memories:

Black Panther

Captain America

Dr. Strange

Iron Man

Mr. Fantastic



Hydra Agents

Story Notes: 

This issue is a part of the Civil War crossover. After a delay between issues #3 and #4 of the Civil War mini-series, the end of the event was revamped. More crossovers were added, including issues #23-25 of Black Panther. Also issues #19-22 were unofficially a part of the crossover, though issues #19 and 20 did not have the Civil War logo, nor did the first printing of #21.

In the credits, this is listed as a Marvel Comics and Aspen Comics production.

Bill Foster, Goliath, was killed in issue #4 of Civil War by a blast from the Thor Clone’s hammer.

Emmett Till was a young African American teenager from Chicago. While he was visiting relatives in Mississippi, he was brutally murdered. The main suspects, both white men, were arrested, though later acquitted for their crime. Emmett Till’s death in 1955 helped spark the Civil Rights movement.

M. I. T. is short for Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a very prominent college that focuses on technology.

ROTC is short for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. It is a college based program that is often used as a recruitment tool.

Pym Particles are the tiny particles that Hank Pym, Yellowjacket, uses to shrink and grow in size. Goliath, Wasp, and Ant-Man have all also used Pym Particles to alter their size.

Steve Rogers took the identity of a mailman in Civil War #2 when he had to go underground.

In the Negative Zone is a giant prison Reed Richards and Tony Stark built to hold the heroes and villains who refused to register.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: