Black Panther (5th series) #6

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
The Deadliest of the Species – part 6

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: 

Dressed as the Black Panther, Shuri faces Morlun and leads the demon away from her helpless brother and towards Zawavari’s hut. There, the shaman casts a spell to send Morlun to the astral plane, where T’Challa and Ororo are fighting for their lives. When Morlun arrives there, Death accepts his life, as he has far more to offer and lets the two heroes go. With the family happily reunited, they wonder why the Panther God let Shuri live when she failed. Zawavari explains that Shrui was allowed to prove herself worthy by fighting for her people, not for glory. She is now the true Black Panther.

Full Summary: 

Morlun has reached the helpless T’Challa, floating in his tank. Only Shuri, now dressed in the Black Panther garb, stands between him and his quarry. Little girls! he mocks. He slaughters their armies, tears the hearts from their champions. And now they send little girls against him. Little girls with toys, he adds, referring to Shuri’s spear. If this is the best that Wakanda can manage, then it deserves to die, along with its crippled wreck of a king!

Wakanda has never been conquered! Shuri snarls. Everyone who tries dies! She hurls the spear at him. Unimpressed, Morlun swats it aside. He sniffs, then admits intrigued there is more to her than meets the eye.

On another plane, T’Challa has refused to sacrifice his wife’s life for his own. Ororo reminds him that they have no choice. The deal was made with powers they cannot control and she is willing to pay the price. He is not. When he again refuses, she reminds him that some things are beyond control. Her victory was to save the man she loves. She begs him to live for both of them!

In Wakanda, Shuri dodges the attacking Morlun, who threatens to snap her spine and feast on her soul while she is dying. As she kicks him, she quips, before or after he swallows his teeth? He swats her away and she lands hard. No more quips? he mocks as she gets to her feet. Or is she saving her breath to beg for her life? He can’t kill what he can’t catch! she retorts and runs. Morlun races after her.

Shuri calls her mother, telling her he is out of the chamber and right on her heels. Ramonda tells her to remember the plan and assures her she is proud of her. Angrily, Ramonda then turns to Zawavari, telling him he had better be ready.

Shuri runs outside and jumps onto a glider. She flies upwards with it. He tosses a boulder after her and misses. Spears are loosed from the glider at Morlun and form into a net to capture him. He is dragged after the glider.

On the astral plane, T’Challa decides to stay here with Ororo if she is trapped here. She pleads with him to go. Wakanda and the world need him. He doesn’t care. She does, Ororo protests. She didn’t come here to make a suicide pact. She came here to save him and Wakanda. Would he have her sacrifice be in vain? This isn’t a storybook. This isn’t a happy ending. But it is the right thing to do, and he knows it. He kisses her.

In the real world, Shuri drags Morlun over the jungle. How far now? She asks and is told she should be seeing the hut any second now. How is the Adamantium net holding up? That moment, he has freed himself. Shuri gets ready as he threatens to make her suffer. She dodges his attack and jumps, telling him to keep the bike. It’s last year’s model. She somersaults and manages to break her fall, whereas the bike lands hard with an explosion.

On the astral plane, Death tells Storm time’s up. T’Challa doesn’t accept that. He’ll have to go through him to take her soul. How noble, Death mocks. Pointless, futile, but noble. The armies of the dead rise up again. Death tells them they can do this forever literally. He has infinite patience and an endless army. Then they will fight him forever! the Black Panther promises. Death warns them if they choose to manifest in physical form they must follow physical limitations. They will tire. They will be taken. His armies never will tire. The life cycle demands that a soul be given and that demand cannot be denied.

In Wakanda, Ramonda asks Shuri for a report. The package has been delivered, she replies, looking at Zawavari’s hut. Morlun steps out of the debris, asking where they were. The part where she kills him, Shuri snarls. He hits her and she smashes through the hut’s walls. He follows her inside. Looks like he finishes off the Panther lineage right here, he grins. To die with that knowledge must be terrible.

Ramonda asks Zawavari what the hell he is waiting for. He bites off a chicken head and begins the spell. Fire engulfs both Morlun and Shuri. Morlun is gone a moment later. Did it work? Ramonda asks. He thinks so, the shaman replies. Thinks? Shuri snarls. For what this cost them, he had better pray it worked!

On the astral plane, T’Challa and Storm are still trying to hold off Death’s forces when suddenly Morlun appears amidst them, confused. What do they have here? Death asks. He can hear the screams of ten thousands souls in that meat. He recognizes the smell of the magic and commends Zawavari for being a clever old bastard. He tells Ororo and T’Challa to shoo. He’ll see them later. Just like that? they ask. Just like that, is the reply. This meat is infinitely more satisfying. He gestures and they disappear.

Morlun snarls he will not fall to hiss wretched horde. Looks like they are going to do this the hard way, Death replies…

Ororo awakes, her husband’s name on her lips. Where is her husband? she demands. Ramonda uses a phone asking the doctor for her son’s condition and is told he has awakened and lives. It’s a miracle!

One hour later, T’Challa is in a bed and the others are by his side. Ramonda expresses her joy at seeing Shuri alive but she thought unworthy candidates get eaten by the Panther God. Shuri agrees. The Panther God gave his verdict that she was unworthy. Zawavari harrumphs disdainfully. It’s clear as day. The Panther God is subtle and wise. When Shuri failed the first trial, she assumed she’d failed entirely. Everything she’d trained for her whole life had come to naught. Yet, despite that blow to her confidence, she threw herself into the fight knowing that it was probably a suicide mission. Not for glory but for her people. In doing so, she became the Black Panther. Morlun sensed it. That’s why he pursued her so ardently. He wanted to feast on the one true Black Panther.

Ramonda hugs her daughter, happy both her children have been returned from death. Shuri looks at the devastation outside. She dreamed about this her whole life. She thought it would be a glorious moment of joy and excitement. A kind of party that would fill the entire country with laughter and songs. Not one filled with so much pain and loss. A great leader is not defined by the best of times but on how she guides her people through the worst of times, Storm tells her. So be it, Shuri vows.

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther I / T’Challa

Shuri / Black Panther III







Story Notes: 
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