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DVD Shopping Bag: Marvel Knights Blank Panther

A fun trek through the Jungle

By Robert T. Trate     January 18, 2011

Marvel Knights Blank Panther now on DVD
© Shout! Factory/ Robert Trate


Last year Marvel’s The Black Panther animated series premiered with little hoopla. In all honesty to this critic if it weren’t for a swag bag at the San Diego Comic Con I wouldn’t even had known the series existed. A total of 6 episodes were shown and that seems to be all she wrote for T'Challa and his adventures as The Black Panther. Shout! Factory this week is releasing the complete series on DVD as part of their Marvel Knights series (see Astonishing X-Men motion comic review). Yet there in lies the rub, The Black Panther series is an animated cartoon however, its animation is in the style of the old Captain America series (circa 1966) mixed with that of a motion comic. It is not a deterrent to watching the series, no if anything the theme song is; it just has a strange albeit unique style. The art is a perfect translation of John Romita Jr.’s work. It is so good that one wishes that Marvel would have spent the time and effort on Romita’s Eternals re-launch over The Black Panther.
The 6 episodes presented here, as I mentioned, are brilliantly animated. They tell not only the origin of the Black Panther but the history of his native land, Wakanda. The Black Panther is played by none other Djimon Hounsou, in a role that is perfectly suited for him. If anything this was the perfect audition for Hounsou to play the live action version if it ever came to fruition. Marvel was quick to wrap the Black Panther and Wakanda in the modern world. The U.S. government wants to establish a relationship with this very power and technologically advanced country. Not a huge problem but the U.S. is willing to do anything to get it done. The Black Panther also has to face a variety of Marvel’s shadiest characters that are all after the vibranium that Wakanda is in possession of. There is also an assassin hell bent on finishing off the Black Panther’s entire family, a job he started by killing off the Black Panther’s father. The story is actually pretty complicated and to top it all off the Storm/ Black Panther love story is here as well.
There is a great introduction to the character of the Black Panther in the very first episode. However, it is not T’Challa but his father as the Black Panther. Captain America arrives in Wakanda to stop a few Nazis and gets his ass handed to him by the Black Panther. In Cap’s defense, it was early on in his career but it nonetheless establishes the prowess of the Black Panther. There is a political side to the series and it is something that probably bored a lot of kids. In all fairness this series wasn’t really for them. This could be a reason why it lasted only a mere 6 episodes. For adults the politics is a bit boorish too. There is great humor to the series, which is yet something else the kids will not get. There are warnings for the violence at the beginning but for most kids that will only entice them further to watch it.
The style of the series, Romita’s art work brought to life, and the tying of numerous Marvel characters together is the appeal of this short lived series. It is easy to see the X-Men in an animated series but The Black Knight, Radio Active Man, Deathlock, or even Batroc the Leaper made it utterly refreshing. My best advice is to watch it all in one sitting. Completely ignore the terrible theme song and enjoy The Black Panther.
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Shock Corridor (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
2. Mutants [Blu-ray]
4. Buried (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
5. Animal Kingdom [Blu-ray]
Animal Kingdom Starring Ben Mendelsohn and Joel Edgerton
Animal Kingdom [Blu-ray]
Army of Crime [Blu-ray] Starring Simon Abkarian, Virginie Ledoyen, Robinson Stevenin
Army of Crime
Buried (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Ryan Reynolds and Samantha Mathis
Clubbed Starring Mel Raido, Shaun Parkes, and Scot Williams
Death Race 2 Starring Luke Goss, Lauren Cohan, Sean Bean, and Ving Rhames
Death Race 2 [Blu-ray]
Down Terrace [Blu-ray] Starring Robin Hill, Robert Hill, and Julia Deakin
Down Terrace
Eichmann Starring Thomas Kretschmann, Troy Garity, Franka Potente
Fire on the Amazon Starring Sandra Bullock, Craig Sheffer
Fire on the Amazon [Blu-ray]
Hunting Buddies Starring Brandon Van Vliet, Pete Duffy, Douglas Sidney
Jade Tiger Starring Lung Ti and Feng Ku
Lebanon Starring Reymond Amsalem and Ashraf Barhom
Lebanon [Blu-ray]
Nomad: The Warrior [Blu-ray] Starring Jason Scott Lee, Jay Hernandez, and Mark Dacascos
Stone [Blu-ray] Starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovovich
Takers Starring Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen
Takers [Blu-ray]
Triggerman Starring Ornella Muti, Paul Sorvino, Terence Hill
Kampfer Complete Collection
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Part One Starring Lindsay Seidel, Newton Pittman, Shay Moore
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Part One (Limited Edition) Starring Lindsay Seidel, Newton Pittman, Colleen Clinkenbeard
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom - 2 Starring Shay Moore, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Lindsay Seidel
Garfield Show: All You Need Is Love & Pasta
Marvel Knights: Black Panther Starring Djimon Hounsou, Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott
Secret of NIMH / Secret of NIMH: Timmy to Rescue Starring Elizabeth Hartman, Derek Jacobi, Dom DeLuise
Ernest Goes to Camp / Ernest Scared Stupid / Ernest Goes to Jail (Triple Feature) Starring Jim Varney
Paper Man [Blu-ray] Starring Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Jeff Daniels, and Lisa Kudrow
Paper Man
Criterion Collection
The Naked Kiss (Criterion Collection) Starring Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante
The Naked Kiss (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Shock Corridor (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, and James Best
Shock Corridor (Criteron Collection)
Colony of the Dark Starring Joan Dinco and David Rommel
Nite Tales: The Series Starring Flavor Flav, Gary Busey, Ray J, and Rodney Perry
Mutants [Blu-ray] Starring Michael Ironside and Steven Bauer
Roger Corman's Cult Classics Triple Feature (Attack of the Crab Monsters / War of the Satellites / Not of This Earth) Starring Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Richard Devon
Up From The Depths / Demon Of Paradise (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) Starring Kathryn Witt, Sam Bottoms, and Susanne Reed
21 Jump Street - The Complete Fourth Season Starring Steven Williams, Peter DeLuise, Johnny Depp
Dallas: The Complete Fourteenth Season Starring Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, George Kennedy
Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series Starring Eric Close, J.T. Walsh, Megan Ward, and Jeri Ryan
Justified: The Complete First Season Starring Timothy Olyphant and Walt Goggins
Justified: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]
Hey Vern, It's Ernest!: The Complete Series Starring Jim Varney
Merlin: The Complete Second Season Starring Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head
Simon & Simon - The Best Of Season 2 Starring Gerald McRaney, Jameson Parker, Eddie Barth, and Tim Reid
Thirtysomething -Season 1 Volume 1 Starring Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, and Peter Horton
Waking the Dead: Season 5 (BBC) Starring Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Will Johnson, and Felicite Du Jeu
Man With No Name Triple Feature Starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


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