Tag Archive for 'Wakanda'

Beatcast #28 - Wakanda by Nik Furious

Wakanda, an instrumental beat by Nik Furious. Thanks to Neal for turning me onto Tanya Morgan's She Moved Outta Cincy, a song that features a beat almost identical to this Nik Furious production. Of course, the insane infinity genius that he is, Nik Furious made this beat back in 2005... and it still sounds hotter than the Cincy beat! ZING! Be back next week to hear what the Unlicensed Attorneys at Law did on top of this track.

ComicShocker Week 16

Let's get things started with Reads You Need. This week, you need to read X-Men: Divided We Stand #1. From the outset, this book seems like a rather unspectacular exploration of several side characters in the X-Men Universe. And all of that is true… except for the part about it being unspectacular.

In fact, the case is quite the opposite. This comic book is particularly spectacular, mostly due to the tremendous amount of insightful emotion exhibited by the writers. It has a long list of creators and I can't remember all the names right now. However, the character lineup goes something like this:

A Cannonball story by Mike Carey and Brandon Peterson looks great and reads pretty well to start out the book. It's awesome for Cannonball fans, but it didn't do much for me as an add-on to the Messiah CompleX aftermath. The Nezhno story up next is interesting, and we get to see a civilian's view of Wakanda (which was extremely gratifying for me). The Northstar tale afterwards is actually a tale about one of the New X-Men named Vic (but I don't know the character by codename). The art by Skottie Young is interesting, but his story is just okay. The following piece about Hellion shows the emotional fallout of a troubled young man who reaches out to Magneto for solace. He finds none.

The final Scalphunter and Nightcrawler story by Matt Fraction steals the spotlight. This may just be Fraction's finest work to date. It's thoughtful, inspired, and emotional. Fraction discovers amazing potential in Scalphunter, a perpetual C-list X-Men villain. The intellectual analysis of his psyche is a fascinating journey and it gives me great confidence in Fraction's ability to write the X-Men (as his upcoming tenure on Uncanny quickly approaches).

As for other comics that came out last Wednesday, Marvel Adventures Avengers #23 brought Black Panther back for the second month in a row. Though the story oddly plays up Panther's connection to Storm as prime emotional motivation, Mark Sumerak doesn't butcher T'Challa's character concept like he did last month. It's a relief but it doesn't erase the bad taste in my mouth from Marvel Adventures Avengers #22.

In other Black Panther news, the character was announced as the star of a prime-time animated show on BET. Debuting in October 2008, BET president and Black Panther comic book writer Reginald Hudlin will write the series. The program will run for eight episodes, a bizarrely short number of shows. Still, I'm excited for this series and looking forward to the increased interest in T'Challa as a result.

EDIT: While we're on animation kick on the ComicShocker, here's an update on the status of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Apparently there was an Avatar panel at NYCC this past weekend, and it looks like we won't get new Avatar episodes on TV until July 2008. The weird part is that the Avatar Book 3 Vol 3 DVD (which will contain episodes that haven't aired yet in the USA, Canada, or any English-speaking country for that matter) will be out in early May 2008. Go figure that one out!

ComicShocker Week 12 2008

Marvel Adventures Avengers. One of my favorite comics coming out monthly right now. This month in Marvel Adventures Avengers #22, the creators decided to tackle the concept of the Black Panther. Being the T’Challa aficionado that I am, I’m going to be hard to please. The bad news is that the Black Panther was portrayed out of step with his usual character in this issue by ignoring key traits all while depicting his piece of Africa as an antiquated and backwards nation.

First of all, we never see a glimpse of Wakanda’s technological ability. The entire core concept behind the existence of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s Wakanda was that the nation was a secret hotbed of technological advancement buried deep in within the heart of Africa. This was supposed to create a contrast between the notion of technological superiority and rural African location – essentially, the concept of Wakanda took a backwards 1960s stereotype and flipped it on its head.

But here in Sumerak’s Wakanda, we really only witness the backwards stereotype. There’s not a hint of T’Challa’s scientific or technological prowess. And, in my opinion, to deprive the character of this aspect of his being is to take the science and technology out of Iron Man or Hank Pym (the latter, coincidentally, was another character recently tackled by Sumerak in this series… yet he appeared with his technological cunning intact).

Enough ranting. I could go on and on. It’s this simple: Mark Sumerak dropped the ball on T’Challa’s characterization and his depiction of Wakanda. He wrote the Wakandan military force as shirtless men just barely wearing enough to cover their crotches. He made them jump around with spears. He failed to incorporate the main element of Wakandan culture that makes it most interesting and exceptional. Instead, he focused on the notion of Wakanda's isolationist politics. The final product is a story set in a stereotyped and antiquated version of Africa not at all in step with the modern world.

To add insult to injury, did the editor proof the colors here? Everyone has blue eyes. That includes the Black Panther. I’m no comic book historian, but this could very much be a first for the King of Wakanda. Ulises Arreola, colorist on this book, needs to do a bit of homework next time. Even Wolverine, a character fairly well known among comicdom to have brown eyes, gets the blues too.

I could continue to pick this apart. Suffice to say that the Black Panther did not get the royal treatment in Marvel Adventures Avengers this month. I’m not going to stop picking the book up just because of this. The stories – on the whole – have been solid. I’m just very let down by a series I typically expect to give my hopes a good lift.

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