Black Panther (5th series) #5

Issue Date: 
August 2009
Story Title: 
The Deadliest of the Species – part 5

Reginald Hudlin (writer), Ken Lashley (pencils), Paul Neary (inks), Paul Mounts (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), J. Scott Campbell & Edgar Delgado (cover), Sebastin Girner & Jody LeHeup (assistant editors), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Shuri has failed in her quest to become the Black Panther while Morlun is attacking Wakanda. During council, the Wakandans don’t know what to do until Zawavari points out the obvious, that usually the Panther God kills those who fail the trial. Shuri has learned some humility and decides to give it another try. While she gets ready, W’kabi and Zuri die defending her and T’Challa. However, their sacrifice is not in vain, as finally a new Black Panther faced Morlun. Meanwhile, in the realm of death, T’Challa is horrified to learn that Ororo made a deal to exchange her life for his.

Full Summary: 

Outside the walled border of Wakanda stands the smirking Morlun. Within Wakanda itself, he is watched from the military control room by W’kabi, who coldly orders the launch of dozens of missiles. As the dust subsides, W’kabi orders the fill confirmed. Instead, however, they find Morlun walking undeterred amidst the flaming craters, walking toward them. Blood of the Panther God! W’kabi whispers.

In another realm Death mockingly observes that Storm travelled all the way from limbo to keep her husband from taking the final walk. Angrily, Storm orders him to release T’Challa. Death mocks her threats. Since her species crawled out of the mud, he’s faced warriors who thought they had the power to take what is his. He feasts on their remains. Still held down by skeletons, T’Challa remarks that he has faced Champions. Has he ever faced a goddess? Ororo blasts Death away. Given new courage, T’Challa battles his captors, asking Storm to tear this world apart. Her winds gather him up. With a smile, Ororo greets her husband.

Elsewhere, Shuri awakes, expected by Zuri and S’yan. Zuri announces there is no time to waste. They need to get her fitted for her vestments right away. They are facing a very dangerous foe and are going to need her. She failed, Shuri admits. She failed her brother, her country. The Panther god turned his back on her. She is… nothing.

The two men look at her silently. Zuri points out that the Panther God left her alive whereas usually those he rejects die. Shuri admits she doesn’t know why. Maybe it’s her punishment. To live with the shame of failing everyone she loves. They face an impossible situation, S’yan announces. They need the Panther. All their other weapons have failed. Shuri demands to know what’s going on.

In another realm, Storm and T’Challa wonder if their foe is dead, if that’s even possible! Not dead, T’Challa decides as he looks at Death’s still form, but defeated. For now. He hugs her, relieved, and she kisses him desperately. Perhaps the poet is right, after all, he muses. Love is stronger than death. Life isn’t a poem, she replies sadly, and this isn’t a storybook. What does she mean? He asks. They’ve won. Now it’s time for him to go home, she announces. She means time for them to go home, he corrects her. There’s something he needs to know, she replies…

Reality where Morlun has proved unstoppable. Wakanda has thrown missiles at him; mortars and bombs, laser cannons, vibranium core nuclear-tipped shells and ground assault. They haven’t even slowed his approach. At this rate, he will breach the wall within the hour. All ground forces are ready to fight to the death, W’kabi announces. And they have no Black Panther, S’yan adds. They are out of option. They are Wakandans, Shuri insists. They don’t run out of options.

Via a commlink, she asks her mother what about Storm. Ramonda brushes her question off and asks W’kabi if he has made arrangements to move T’Challa out of the way. When Shuri insists, Ramonda replies darkly that Storm isn’t coming back.

In the other world, T’Challa reels at his wife’s revelation. How could she agree to such a thing?! That was the price, she tells him. A life for a life. Her life for one that matters more to every living soul in Wakanda. Who knew of these terms? he asks. No one but her and the witch doctor Zawavari, she replies He repeats the name, then refuses to accept this. There must be a way…

There’s nothing so delicious as hope, Death mocks. His queen agreed to the terms. The contract is sacred. Eternal. One soul comes in, one soul goes out. Of course, if the two of them were to decide to take a little walk with him, he’d be more than happy to-- T’Challa steps on the skull, ordering it to be quiet. All the other skulls begin to speak, telling him he can’t defeat Death.

In Wakanda, S’yan berates Ramonda for squandering their most powerful weapon. It was Storm’s choice to make, the queen mother replies. He finds that hard to believe, he replies, pointing out she may have killed them all.

Shuri addresses Zawavari, asking why he is smiling. He replies that Wakanda is in danger because they are all stupid and blind. They are killing themselves. People she loves are dying, she replies. If he has something constructive to say, get to it! Zawavari point out that the Panther god found Shuri lacking… yet she returned alive. Doesn’t she find that interesting? Hasn’t she wondered even for a moment if the life given back to her has some meaning? Some purpose?

Yes, she replies calmly. She begins to understand. The Panther God spared her even after she failed. Her pride was her defeat. She trusted too much in the scientific training she had been given. Too much in her fighting skills and tactics, in her right to become Wakanda’s weapon in her hour of need. Just as all of them trust too much in bombs and bullets and the advanced toys of war that only Wakanda can create. How like a daughter of modern Wakanda she’s become. Zawavari is right and she knows what they have to do. She orders Zuri and W’kabi to stand guard outside the chamber door while she makes preparations. They are going to kill Morlun.

Soon, the two warriors stand guard. He can’t believe they are following a plan cooked up by a madman and a little girl, Zuri sighs. Does he have a better one? W’kabi asks. Then stop complaining and brace himself for the red tide of blood and battle that is coming their way. That’s awfully poetic for a city boy, Zuri laughs. He thinks he stole that from somewhere W’kabi admits.

They hear a booming noise and get ready while in the chamber Shuri dresses in the Black Panther uniform.

Morlun enters through the wall he has shattered. The two warriors tell each other it has been an honor. “For Wakanda!” they shout and attack. Morlun impales W’kabi, then crushes Zuri’s head. He thought this was a warrior nation. Such a disappointment. Now for the main course!

He walks to the chamber were T’Challa is kept, already believing he can taste his soul. Suddenly a spear impales him from behind. Monster, Shuri, now the new Black Panther, announces. He has faced the muscle of Wakanda. Now he faces its claws!

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther I / T’Challa

Shuri / Black Panther III









Story Notes: 
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