Strange Days For Black Panther

Marriage problems and alternate dimensions give T'Challa a major headache

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By Eric Drumm

BLACK PANTHER #32
cover by Billy Tan

It seemed only natural for a power couple like the Black Panther and his bride Storm to fill in for Reed and Sue Richards in the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately for the warrior king, his life has been flat out weird ever since! Taking on giant bugs, zombies and spats with his wife, T'Challa has hardly had time to breathe lately. His troubles are only getting worse with BLACK PANTHER #32, and writer Reginald Hudlin assures that things are only getting hairier. The Black Panther may be a super hero, but that's just his hobby. As King of Wakanda, an entire country looks to him for guidance as well as protection, so T'Challa has trained himself to

BLACK PANTHER #32
interior art by
Francis Portela

honor his forefathers and carry on the legacy of the heroic Black Panther. When Reed and Sue Richards asked him and wife Storm to cover for them, Black Panther assumed yet another leader role. "When you're the king, who was the son of king, that whole leading people thing comes naturally," Hudlin reminds of Black Panther's domineering personality. "It's the family business. He's got a different style than Reed, but everybody respects each other so it works." However, it's always a bad idea to mix business with pleasure, a lesson Black Panther is learning the hard way. All the craziness of their FF adventures has put strain on his marriage, and as a result things have been

BLACK PANTHER #32
interior art by
Francis Portela

tense with Storm. Insecurities lurked underneath, and it took a visit to a zombie world to force them to the surface. The whole super hero thing has always caused a point of contention with Reed and Sue, however they always manage to stick it out. Will this be the same for Black Panther and Storm? "No real relationship doesn't have problems," points out Hudlin. "But both of them know that they make each other better, so they are committed to making it work." Lately, tiffs with the wife have been the least of the Panther's worries. To stop a giant bug monster from eating New York, Black Panther was forced to resort to an old (but very risky) Wakandan trick—King Solomon's golden frogs. Possessing the power to travel

BLACK PANTHER #32
interior art by
Francis Portela

through time and space, Black Panther used the frogs as a last resort. The new Fantastic Four averted disaster, but ended up in an alternate reality! Completely lost and with zombies nipping at their heels, the frogs have bounced our heroes around so much they don't even know where they are. It might be bad luck, or perhaps the jerky little frogs might have an agenda of their own. Regardless, the way home seems out of sight. "The frogs are quite suspect in their behavior," notes Hudlin. "They are clearly putting them in harm's way. But how do you get home from the wrong end of the universe? And what if the frogs, who can travel through space and time, don't want them to get home?"

BLACK PANTHER #32
interior art by
Francis Portela

The end of BLACK PANTHER #31 saw Panther and crew bounced to yet another strange world, but before they could get their bearings, they were zapped unconscious by a couple of suited wise guys with Tommy guns. One of the sleazeballs mentioned something about an "arena." That could mean a lot of things, but none of them likely good for our heroes. "[BLACK PANTHER #32] is a callback to one of my favorite Fantastic Four stories of all time, when The Thing is captured by

BLACK PANTHER #32
interior art by
Francis Portela

Skrull slavers to a planet based on 1930's mobsters," explains Hudlin. "But there will be some interesting changes since their last visit, and I promise my readers that you'll never expect the twist in part two." Take some advice from your pal Black Panther: next time a friend asks you to fill in for him for a while, think long and hard before saying yes. Also, be wary of dimension traveling golden frogs in BLACK PANTHER #32, written by Reginald Hudlin with art by Francis Portella, on sale November 21.

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