Another memorable moment in the history of Black Panther is his participation in the Secret Invasion story by Marvel. This will also be recounted through the surprisingly thin three issues collected by Marvel’s Black Panther: Secret Invasion collection.
Secret Invasion was the Marvel crossover which followed shortly after Civil War. The Avengers discover that the Skrull Empire has infiltrated almost every major governmental, military, corporate, and superhero organization throughout the world. They also found a backdoor into the Starktech that had been incorporated into just about every facet of the American government and S.H.I.E.L.D after Tony Stark was appointed the head of the latter. This leads to all-out war as the Skrulls reveal themselves and begin taking over the planet.
This war comes to Wakanda, but Skrulls do not find the nation crippled as expected. Quite the opposite; the senses of the Black Panther were able to root out the infiltrators, leaving their decapitated heads at the walls of Wakanda’s capital for the Skrulls to see.
As such, the Skrulls must face Wakanda, led by T’Challa and Storm, head-on, and the resulting battle is a brutal struggle in the plains outside of Birnin Zana.
This a far more straightforward story, though it does throw a couple more twists and turns with the Skrulls thinking they still have some agents inside and T’Challa finds new ways to surprise the aliens.
That aside, it’s all-out war, and what is most striking about this tale is the brutality that T’Challa exhibits towards the Skrulls. That is why this arc sticks with me, because the lengths of T’Challa’s patience and what happens when it runs out is a big part of the character. Once you truly enrage the Black Panther, his vengeance will be cruel and absolute. He is a warrior and the leader of a nation. He doesn’t give the concessions that the likes of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four will give.
Seeing Storm tentatively follow T’Challa down this path is intriguing as well. She is an X-Man and more used to their style of heroism, though even they were leaning more towards brutality at this point. Regardless, she isn’t yet accustomed to the responsibilities the head of a nation has. This gives her an interesting arc in this story.
Jefte Palo and Lee Loughridge handle the art in this story. Palo gives the world a gritty style that leans heavier on a less-detailed and more cartoonish style. Loughridge’s color art is darker and compliments the grittiness. The book looks really good overall.
Black Panther’s Secret Invasion tie-in, while it seemed less integral to the main story than Civil War’s tie-in, is a gritty ride and works the story into the title fantastically. It’s a brutal story that shows the lengths T’Challa is willing to go to, and I highly recommend it for your trek through Black Panther.
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