Author Topic: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1  (Read 7614 times)

Offline Salustrade

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Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« on: May 04, 2014, 05:37:30 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 1

Wakanda, legendary African Nation famous within the 616 MU for being virtually unconquered for since inception. (regardless of internal politics and coups)

We were first introduced to this mysterious nation all the way back in 1966 alongside the introduction of T'Challa, the Black Panther in Fantastic Four #52 when the eponymous Prince of the Wakanda's invites the FF to his land and then proceeds to test himself against the entire group in a battle of strength and wits that must have come as a bit of a suprise to readers who actually got to read this book when it originally came out.

Over a number of years, T'Challa and Wakanda were portrayed as being an exotic land of many distinct possibilities but through all of these portrayals the fact that Wakanda and it's most famous son were an anomaly in a fictional universe were people of African descent were usually depicted stereotypically and in many ways, it can be argued that a dogged refusal to mave away from these stereotypes has always been one of the biggest obstacles that have stood in the way of bothe T'Challa as a character and Wakanda as a concept.

Both concepts were introduced back in the 1960's by the OG Architects of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby but unlike many of Stan and Jack's creations from that time period, T'Challa still struggles for recognition amongst some of the same readers who claim that the lasting popularity of the Caucasian characters created back in the 50's and 60's owes more to the fact that they were created back then but the fact that T'Challa was also a 60's baby delivered by Lee and Kirby more or less exposes such ridiculous "explanations" false in the extreme.

Roy Thomas was an influential Marvel writer who played a part in diminshing T'Challa as a character when he wrote the Avengers book back in the 1970's and whether this was purely innocent or down to other unknown factors, the fact remains that he did probably as much damage to T'Challa's character as Fred Hembeck did to Jericho Drumm aka Doctor Voodoo.

This damage was gradually reversed by Christopher J. Priest when he reluctantly took on writing a character who for all intents and purposes, was seen as being something as a lame duck perrenial loser of a character within the 616 MU.

Priest single handedly re-introduced T'Challa back into the 616 as a confident, multilayered, enigmatic King on a mission who brooked no nonsense from friend and foe alike and that once again, set the character on a collision course with readers who had grown used to seeing Roy Thomas's take on the character and accepting same as being the definitive canonical definer for T'Challa as opposed to the more robust version of his character launched by Lee and Kirby originally launched in 1966.

Since then, Dwayne McDuffie, (RIP) Reginald Hudlin and David Liss all played their respective roles in chronicling the adventures of T'Challa and his supporting characters in a number of BP runs which met with varying degrees of success inbetween major derailments facilitated by writers like Jonathan Maberry via the Doomwar event and a multitude of writers from the X-office who have never at any given time, had anything positive to write featuring T'Challa pre, during and post the marriage between T'Challa and Ororo which was consequently deep-sixed during AvX.

AvX was the next event that came in the wake of Doomwar wherein T'Challa and Wakanda are continually put through the ringer to such a degree that both character and concept get severely trashed and destroyed whilst being dragged through the mud under the guise of benign creativity.

Unfortunately, the stories themselves by the very nature of the dialogue spouted by some of the characters involved and their in-story motivations given for their on-panel actions would seem to indicate that there's nothing "benign" about the manner in which T'Challa and Wakanda have been treated in the 616 MU in relation to the manner in which other similarly themed characters such as Black Bolt and Namor and their fictional kingdoms Attilan and Atlantis are concerned. (For arguments sake, I'll include Thor and Asgard in the mix even though the Son of Odin isn't a monarch at present.)

Black Bolt destroyed Attilan during Jonathan Hickman's Infinity event as part of an overarching plot device to usher in what I've decided to christen as being the Age of Inhumanity which in turn, necessitated the launch of an Inhumans book wherein the whole dispersal of the original Inhumans and the explosion of "New" Inhumans as a result of the Terrigen Mist, can be explored in greater depth with Queen Medusa's character being given a chance to grow and be developed further exponentially.

Thor was nearly battered to death by Norman Osborn and his combined army of Super Villains and HAMMER during the Siege event wherein Asgard was virtually destroyed and consequently brought down by the Sentry.

But get this, no one celebrated the fall of Asgard or engaged in online-high five sessions when the Sentry brought the Asgardians home crashing down to Earth, and I definitely don't remember seeing any posts making excuses for Osborn's actions during Siege by way of very clear insanity, possession, mind control or any of the other convenient "explanations" that get bandied about by readers when their favourite characters are in the frame as was the case when Tony Stark and Reed Richards did their thing pre-Planet/World War Hulk and then further on during marvel's Civil War.

It was undiluted EVIL pure and simple on the part of Osborn, end of story.

In the wake of AvX where a Phoenix powered Namor and his Atlantean army launched an unprovoked war on Wakanda under the pretext of "rescuing" a mutant who through her own stupidity found herself in Wakanda. This attack, virtually destroyed Wakanda causing massive real estate damage alongside loss of life.

AvX also served as the foundation upon which the writers concerned, proceeded to dismantle the marriage between T'Challa and Ororo pre-Namor's attack on Wakanda so not only was Wakanda destroyed, the nations former ruler, T'Challa had his marriage derailed by the self same X-office who had consistently slagged of the character and his Nation for the full six year duration of the marriage between these two fictional characters.

So basically, AvX was a double whammy against the BP mythos that served to continue the theme of emasculating T'Challa's character and the smashing of Wakanda that was started by Jonathan Maberry's Doomwar.

It's important to note that Maberry really pulled a hatchet job on the marriage of T'Challa and Ororo by having T'Challa choosing Wakandan Vibranium over the life of his wife Ororo which in turn, fed into the tendency of anti-T'Challa readers to blame the fictional character for what they saw as the "marginilization" of Ororo during the period that Reginald Hudlin was writing the Black Panther book.

The fact that Maberry actually marginalized Ororo during Doomwar doesn't get that much milage when blame is being apportioned as to which writers have done Ororo dirty the most over the years, says a lot about some of the underlying double standards and possible prejudice that served as the primary foundation for a lot of the hatred that Hudlin faced when he was writing Ororo's character within the BP solo he was scripting at that time.

Namor's Atlantis was reduced to rubble by Shuri Queen of Wakanda, in direct retaliation for the Atlantean Monarch's unprovoked attack on Wakanda that came without warning in much the same way as Japan's attack on the USA's Pearl Harbour during World War 2.

And here's where a very interesting and revealing disconnect began to rear its ugly head on this and other similarly themed forums.

I remember when Namor was depicted decimating Wakanda with a Tsunami with his Atlantean Army and their accompanying sea monsters riding shotgun alongside their King.




There was mass jubilation amongst a number of anti-T'Challa/Wakanda, readers posting both within CBR as well as other forums on similar sites.

The comments were relentless in their crassness with many making jokes about Namor "teaching Wakandans how to swim" and other such offensive comments to this effect and the laughs and joyful merriment went on for an age without any of these readers actually seeing what Namor did as being wrong with some going as far as to claim that Namor was under the influence of a cosmic force and when questions were raised as to why the Atlantean army that accompanied Namor who of course, were not under the Phoenix Force's influence were blameless, the excuse given, was that the Atlantean Army where honor bound to heed the call of their King. (regardless of how crazy his commands or similar to Osborn's were at the time.)

Basically, "I was just following orders" was the justifying refrain that was being sung from the proverbial rooftops by some of these readers.

The derrisive laughter (at T'Challa and Wakanda's expense) continued unabated up until this happened...





And all of a sudden, the laughter stopped.

It wasn't fun anymore when Wakanda struck back, and the derisive smirks were wiped off of the faces of the fictional Namor and the anti-T'Challa/Wakanda readers who praised Namor's actions pre-Atlantis's humbling by Wakanda's armed forces.

The shocked silence was as deep as the airless space between planets and then came the howls of indignation.

Offline Maxine Shaw

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 05:49:11 pm »
Cliff notes, Maj. Cliff notes.

I didn't have a problem with T'Challa choosing the vibranium over his wife. Why should millions of people die for one woman? When you sign up to take care of your people, you take care of ALL of your people. Storm knew that, and she never would have respected T'Challa if he sacrificed his country for her.

But that is the only - and I mean the ONLY - thing Maberry ever did right in his entire disastrous marriage-wrecking run. What infuriated me is the casualness in which he went about it. Because Maberry is a no-talent hack, he failed to depict T'Challa as someone who made an agonizing decision. There is so much that could have happened there - so many things that could have been said between them. Even showing Storm shaking her head as if to say "don't do it" could have depicted some sort of understanding. Or T'Challa just saying, "Ororo, I'm so sorry." And let's not even get started on how Storm was depicted from day one - petulant and mouthy and brainless. Just waiting for her husband to come rescue her - and being stupid enough to publicly say so. Nothing says "more chains and more guards" than letting your jailers know that your man is coming to kick your ass.

If you want to find a place where the marriage went downhill, look no further than Maberry's pen.
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Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 05:55:05 pm »
Cliff notes, Maj. Cliff notes.

I didn't have a problem with T'Challa choosing the vibranium over his wife. Why should millions of people die for one woman? When you sign up to take care of your people, you take care of ALL of your people. Storm knew that, and she never would have respected T'Challa if he sacrificed his country for her.

But that is the only - and I mean the ONLY - thing Maberry ever did right in his entire disastrous marriage-wrecking run. What infuriated me is the casualness in which he went about it. Because Maberry is a no-talent hack, he failed to depict T'Challa as someone who made an agonizing decision. There is so much that could have happened there - so many things that could have been said between them. Even showing Storm shaking her head as if to say "don't do it" could have depicted some sort of understanding. Or T'Challa just saying, "Ororo, I'm so sorry." And let's not even get started on how Storm was depicted from day one - petulant and mouthy and brainless. Just waiting for her husband to come rescue her - and being stupid enough to publicly say so. Nothing says "more chains and more guards" than letting your jailers know that your man is coming to kick your ass.

If you want to find a place where the marriage went downhill, look no further than Maberry's pen.

Lol @ the "Cliff notes" notes comment.

This was just part one in a six part series of essays that I posted over in CBR post my last banning and the "Reeboot" of that site.

I just want to pos them over here in their unedited form for anyone who wants to check them out.  :)

Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1-6
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 05:55:41 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 2


All of a sudden, Shuri was labled a savage "war monger" who had authorised a "sneak" attack on Atlantis that made her a "monster" as opposed to being a ruling Monarch who authorized a legitimate retaliatory attack against an enemy who had already declared unprovoked war against a nation that they'd never had any problems with pre-AvX.

Every excuse under the sun was given (by some) in defence of Namor the most prominent amongst said "excuses" being the one stating that Namor's actions against Wakanda could not be blamed on him by way of supposed Phoenix Force "possession."

The fact that Namor never apologized for what he did whilst supposedly being under the influence of a cosmic force, was further explained away by Namor apologists by way of his being a "proud" Monarch absolving him of doing the responsible thing by suing for peace as this would supposedly make him lose face.

Queen Shuri on the otherhand, was pilloried as being a blood thirsty war monger more interested in waging war at all cost and I found myself wondering what planet most of these detractors were living on to such a degree that I eventually had to pose the question as to whether the USA's retaliation against Japan for the Pearl Harbour affair could not be likened to the fictional Wakanda's retaliation against Atlantis?

To date, that question has been met with deafening silence.

In all my years of reading speculative fiction, I've never encountered a scenario were the perpetually repetitive destruction of a heroic protagonist and his/her nations is lauded by a cadre of readers with such vehemence and vitriol that in some cases, one begins to wonder how these readers actually feel about the real life equivalents (at least on physical appearance/ethnicity level) of these fictional characters?

But I digress.

The destruction of Asgard was not celebrated by any fans as far as I know, but the decimation of Wakanda first in Doomwar and more recently during AvX were roundly celebrated by detractors of T'Challa and Shuri as characters and their home, Wakanda as a concept which can only be characterized as being entirely disrespectful on every level imaginable.

This disrespect is ably enabled by a Marvel Editorial who allowed some of their writers to diminish the marriage between T'Challa and Ororo consistently up until AvX when the culmination of this process was fully realized.



The very deliberatness of this process was clearly illustrated by the trolling of T'Challa that has continued post AvX by most of the writers who were instrumental in destroying the marriage between T'Challa and Ororo as evidenced by (most recently) the cover of Deadpool #27 which I posted previously in this thread.



Jonathan Hickman for the most part, has restored Wakanda's pre-eminence as an indomitable warrior nation who rarely attack unless provoked themselves and he's more or less followed through on cementing Shuri as being a Wakandan Monarch who makes good on her promises and defends her nation and its people from the frontlines without fear or trepidation and for some, this is as threatening as what Hickman did with T'Challa first within the pages of the Fantastic Four before following through on the former Monarchs electrifying rebirth as chronicled within New Avengers #1.



The predictable accusations of "Mary Sue-ism" began to spring up left and right and to some degree, have continued to date with the primary difference being that Jonathan Hickman hasn't been beleaguered by the same levels of false accusations of boosting T'Challa's character at the expense of others that Reginald Hudlin, Dwayne McDuffie and Christopher J. Priest were inundated with when they wrote T'Challa.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to a lack of respect on the part of a Marvel Editorial who for whatever reason, have chosen to hinder T'Challa and the Black Panther mythos from maintaining the proper level of traction that they should have followed on from the foundations originally set by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

It's all about respect and to me, it's pretty much obvious that most of the professionals who've consistently misrepresented the BP mythos and the readers who enjoy said mythos, clearly have no understanding of the milestone that Stan Lee & Kirby achieved when they created this wonderful character and his fictional homelan, Wakanda.

End of.

Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1-6
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2014, 05:57:19 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 3

Reginald Hudlin

Jonathan Maberry

David Liss

Jonathan Hickman


Four writers with wildly divergent styles with the shared common denominator between them being the fact they've all had a hand in chronicling the journey of a character who divides opinion amongst Black Panther enthusiasts and those not particularly enthused by the attendant BP mythos.

Without further ado I introduce.....


Shuri: Queen of Wakanda




Shuri was first introduced to the BP mythos by Reginald Hudlin as T'Challa's retconned junior sister in the Who Is The Black Panther story arc that was originally meant to be an out of 616 MU continuity six issue mini-series.

Fiesty, opinionated and capricious in temperament, Shuri was nevertheless portrayed as being intensely competitive in nature with a constant need to prove herself against her older brother at every turn but her love for T'Challa and dedication to Wakanda was never in doubt as Hudlin had fun developing her as a character his daughter could identify with and look up to especially within a fictional universe where there have always been precious to few female heroic protagonists of worth let alone sper powered Women of Color.

The six issue mini was eventually upgraded to a full time solo book now firmly rooted in 616 MU continuity as Reginald Hudlin set himself to the task of chronicling the further adventures of T'Challa even as the Marvel Civil War event was gathering steam.

In those early days, Shuri was just a supporting character who was still being developed especially as Hudlin was quite focused on laying the groundwork for T'Challa and Ororo's impending wedding.

But as the narrative of the book progressed post wedding, Shuri began to become a lot more prominent following T'Challa's disastrous encounter with Dr Doom....



that led to T'Challa knocking on deaths door which in turn created turmoil within Wakanda due to the fact that with the nations Monarch being incapacitated, there was no one sitting on the throne.

The ante was further upped when Morlun appeared on the scene to absorb T'Challa's essence and it's at this juncture that the gradual elevation of Shuri's character began as she donned the mantle of the Black Panther to fight against Morlun and the threat he posed to her stricken brother and Wakanda.

Hudlin wrote Shuri as being an insecure character forced to face up to her fears and character flaws as she played cat and mouse with Morlun across the length and breadth of a Wakanda still reeling from the near death of their King.

Shuri fought to buy Ororo time to travel to the realms of the dead to wrestle T'Challa's soul back from the arms of death and it was only through the joint efforts of both women that Morlun's plan was thwarted and T'Challa rescued from the death realm to start the arduous journey back to full health following Doom's murder attempt on his life.

Reginald Hudlin had Ororo playing a pivotal role on encouraging Shuri to step up to plate and take her place on the throne of Wakanda to provide leadership for the nation while her brother was still being nursed back to health.

Hudlin had both women relating to each other quite well with Ororo playing the role of older sister, friend and confidant to Shuri and taking her Sister-In-Laws advice, Shuri took her place on Wakanda's throne just as Jonathan Maberry took over writing duties on the Black Panther book following Reginald Hudlin's departure.

[/quote]


Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 05:59:11 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 4

Jonathan Maberry started strong with the Power arc but BP enthusiasts for the most part weren't particularly comfortable with Shuri as eponymous Black Panther and where somewhat hesitant to embrace her in the role despite the fact that Maberry (at that point) was writing a really tightly streamlined book featuring Shuri stepping up to the plate to handle Wakandan interests on the international scene whilst trying to establish who sanctioned the attempt on her brothers life.





Maberry continued to write a brilliant arc leading right up to the Doomwar event and that's when everything began to go to hell for the BP mythos.



Shuri was more or less the only character (apart from Doom) who came off looking dominant in Doomwar as T'Challa and Ororo were just made to look utterly ridiculous under Maberry's pen in what can only be described as one of the worst depictions of any characters in the history of Marvel Comics.

But in the aftermath of Doomwar, Jonathan Maberry's Klaws of the Panther mini-series featuring Shuri, was used as a platform to inexplicably trash the sisterly relationship that Hudlin had established between Shuri and Ororo by manufacturing a friction between the two characters that never existed.

Maberry further compounded this by portraying Shuri as a character with anger management issues and a generally irresponsibly rash attitude which was definitely at odds with her character as established by Reginal Hudlin when he originally introduced her to the BP mythos.

Consequently, by the time most BP enthusiasts had experienced the back-to-back nightmare presented by Doomwar and Klaws, it was safe to say that Maberry's claims to the effect that the Black Panther was one of his favourite characters was no longer being taken seriously.

Jonathan Maberry is a solid writer who in fact started out really strong with the Power arc in the (then) ongoing Black Panther monthly solo and it goes without saying, that Maberry is a respected writer with a strong pedigree in the Action/Horror genre.

Unfortunately, he didn't finish as strongly as he could have done with his own unique contributions to the Black Panther mythos.[/quote]


Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 06:05:15 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 5

In the aftermath of Doomwar many Black Panther enthusiasts greeted the news of T'Challa's new solo book with weary resignation and suspicion.

This was due to the weirdly improbable premise that had him relocate to Daredevil's stomping grounds to stand in for a Man Without Fear who'd just come out of the crazy Shadowland event.

Many of us questioned why T'Challa would once again, abandon his people after Doom's attack on Wakanda and some of us were puzzled as to why a character who was supposed to be such a consumate strategist would see cloistering himself away from his wife as being a wise decision.

Needless to say, David Liss had his work cut out for him as he chronicled T'Challa's adventures on the streets and rooftops of Hell's Kitchen and we also got to meet some interesting supporting characters such as Sofija along the way which was quite interesting.




The urban setting came across as being something of an ill fitting premise for T'Challa and some fans of the character (myself included) were quite voiciferous in or unhappiness about the state off affairs.




To David Liss's credit, he actively engaged with fans within the BP Appreciation threads as well as on the letters page printed within the BP book to such a degree that by the time the book was re-titled as Black Panther:Most Dangerous man Alive, most sceptics had begun to react favourably to Liss's more than able handling of T'Challa's character despite the crazy premise of a super genius intellectual slumming it in Hell's Kitchen.

David Liss also did much to rehabilitate Shuri's character in the aftermath of Maberry's Klaw of the Panther miniseries.



Under Mr Liss's more than able pen, Shuri was depicted as a reigning Monarch grown confident in her ability to lead both on the battlefield as well as within the boardroom which of course, came as a welcome departure from the "Paris Hilton of Africa" with "Anger management issues" persona that Maberry had chosen to mischaracterize her as being

Shuri worked in tandem with her brother and his allies to outsmart Wilson Fisk and eventually thwart his plans to take over Wakanda during the Kingpin of Wakanda storyline that saw out David Liss's eighteen issue contribution to the BP mythos befoe Marvel Editorial decided to inexplcably cancel the book that Liss had gotten readers to appreciate through sheer force of excellence.

T'Challa and Shuri were both portrayed as being supremely confident protagonists by the venerable writer without either character being diminished, short changed or chumped out and for that, David Liss remains one of the most respected scribes to have ever chronicled T'Challa's adventures within the 616 MU.

The fact that he also took the time out to remember that T'Challa and Ororo were still a married couple was also indicative of his genuine interest in both characters which was something the X-office remained resolutely resistant to acknowledging.


Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 06:07:05 pm »
It's all about respect baby. Part 6

Following on from David Liss's excellent work with Shuri's character, Jonathan Hickman continued this trend within the pages of New Avengers where Shuri is portrayed as having fully grown into her role as Queen of Wakanda.

Fearlessly leading from the front in Wakanda's defense, Shuri has proven to be a hands on Monarch unafraid to fight alongside her troops in much the same was as the case when T'Challa was on the throne.





And she has also proven to be quite decisive when dealing with enemies of the Wakandan State in a manner that reminds them why only a consumate fool would initiate unprovoked attack against Wakanda in the false assumption that there wouldn't be costly repercussions for such an affront.



Hickman has portrayed Shuri as being a strong, focused and decisive Monarch unafraid to ask hard questions or make solid decisons affecting her nation and its people regardless of personal feelings or familial connections and in this, Hickman has done much to make her a truly standalone character in her own right.

A character who like her brother, should really be appearing in a lot more books than New Avengers and in the wake of the numerous solo books that Marvel have launched recently featuring female protagonists, it's a bit ridiculous that Marvel are passing up a perfectly good opportunity to launch a solo book featuring either herself, T'Challa or both of them wherein their respective characters and Wakanda can be explored in more detail juxtaposed against the backdrop of international machinations within the 616 MU.

Respect for all of Marvel's characters is essential for the brand to grow exponentially snatching up all buying demographics especially those that have been ignored for way to long.

Respect, that's what it's all about baby.

Offline Mad Coco G

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 08:40:12 pm »
I wish David Liss's run lasted longer, so much awesome yet it never got the chance

Offline Maxine Shaw

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 09:39:08 pm »
I'd be a liar from the pit of hell if I said that I gave a single f*ck about Shuri to this day, but I'm glad that she's been fleshed out and given a proper chance. Now she's merely irrelevant as opposed to unlikeable.
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Offline Salustrade

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2014, 04:47:00 am »
I'd be a liar from the pit of hell if I said that I gave a single f*ck about Shuri to this day, but I'm glad that she's been fleshed out and given a proper chance. Now she's merely irrelevant as opposed to unlikeable.

Damn!

That's cold.  :-\

Offline supreme illuminati

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Re: Black Panther: It's all about respect baby. Part 1
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 01:55:01 pm »
I'd be a liar from the pit of hell if I said that I gave a single f*ck about Shuri to this day, but I'm glad that she's been fleshed out and given a proper chance. Now she's merely irrelevant as opposed to unlikeable.

Another post by the one, the only Maxine "to the Maximum" Shaw...
I AM THAT WHICH GODS,DEMONS,IMMORTALS AND ANGELS FEAR.I AM THAT WHICH PERFECTION ITSELF ASPIRES TO BE
BLACK PANTHER FANFIC:
http://archiveofourown.org/works/663070
Sub my YouTube with the world's first and only viral "capoeira" gun disarm technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM5F_qg2oFw