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December 19, 2022

Black Panther: Panther's Rage by Sheree Renée Thomas ~ a Review

by MK French

T'Challa brings his love Monica Lynne to Wakanda, but the country had destabilized in his absence. Erik Killmonger has fomented rebellion, and now he must battle for the soul of his country.

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book cover of comic book Black Panther Panther's Rage by Sheree Renee Thomas
October 2022; Titan Books; 978-1803360669
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); fantasy

This novel follows the comic versions of events, not the MCU. He did lose his father and Klaw was involved, but he was in Wakanda at the time. Fueled by rage and grief, T'Challa then spent the next year fighting with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. He was with Monica in New York, and he plans to marry her. His close friend is N'Jadaka, who accompanies him to Wakanda, where it all goes wrong from the start. Rebels are chanting Killmonger's name, disrespect the royals, set up suicide bombings, and torture or kill trusted advisors. Even finding out who Killmonger actually is doesn't help. More advisors are attacked, people are harmed, and there are minibosses who also pose threats. These villains have powers Killmonger gave them, and include Venomm, Malice, Baron Macabre, and King Cadaver.

The biggest change I found between the comics (which I haven't always followed) and the MCU is that T'Challa is highly emotional here. He is quick to anger, is wallowing in grief, and wants to use that temper in a fight. As much as he loves his people and his country, he feels that rule is a burden. He rises to the challenge because he's a hero and isn't the terrible person that Killmonger tries to paint him as. If anything, refusing to harm or kill the two traitors that keep showing up is an indicator that he isn't as far gone in his anger as he thinks he is. It's only because of his deep love that he can hate so much, and the betrayals hit him hard. He's so very human and feels like a much younger version of the T'Challa we see in the MCU, who has so much more grace and presence of mind. That comes toward the end of the book when he calls upon his inner reserves and rallies to the challenge that Killmonger poses.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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