Comics

Black Panther’s Unresolved Brain Aneurysm


In Left Unresolved, I spotlight storylines that have been, well, left unresolved.

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Rodrigo M., we look at Black Panther’s brain aneurysm and how it was just ignored.

It all started with a silent issue of Black Panther. Black Panther #39 was written by Christopher Priest and drawn by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond. It involved the Black Panther having to take on a brainwashed Iron Fist (the brainwashing was reflected in Iron Fist’s costume turning darker colors). Iron Fist beat the hell out of Black Panther, but Panther managed to get him through the brainwashing. Still, as you can see, Iron Fist gave Panther a tremendous beating…

In real life, Black Panther would be severely injured from this beating, but comic book superheroes tend to get past this sort of thing easily. However, Priest decided to subvert expectations and actually have there be repercussions to Iron Fist’s attack on T’Challa.

Over the next 10 issues, Black Panther begins to act erratic and also deals with visits from Magneto. Ultimately, we realize that Magneto is actually just a hallucination. We also meet a different version of Black Panther who acts much different from T’Challa. We eventually discover that this Black Panther is from ten years in the future and he is suffering from a brain aneurysm that is killing him. He eventually gets put into suspended animation, but is then killed while in the suspended animation.

This then leads to Black Panther #49, the final issue of the Priest/Velluto/Almond run on the series that produced some tremendous comic books.

“Magneto” forces Panther to realize the truth – that he is hallucinating him because T’Challa, just like his future self, IS suffering from a brain aneurysm, as well, which was brought upon him by the assault by the brainwashed Iron Fist back in Black Panther #39…

Panther can’t deal with this information, so even though he is in the middle of a tense stand-off between his forces and the forces of the evil Man-Ape, Black Panther lashes out at Magneto and tries to kill him, but inadvertently assaults one of his closest allies, instead. She survives, but it completely wrecks Panther. He can’t believe that he lost control like that.

So he then goes into seclusion and puts Wakanda under the control of the Tribal Council and, at the end of the issue, Panther disappears from his throne room.

The next issue introduced a brand-new Black Panther, Kasper Cole, as part of a last ditch effort to save the series, with Priest introducing a New York cop who becomes the new Black Panther.

In Black Panther #52, we learn that T’Challa is also in New York, hiding out in Brooklyn…

At the end of the series, in Black Panther #62, T’Challa gives Kasper a new costume and a new name, the White Tiger, and it seems as though perhaps T’Challa was back as Black Panther…

But the brain aneurysm plot was not addressed. It is likely that Priest planned on addressing it had the series gone longer, but since it ended at #62, he never got the chance. So how about other titles?

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