Michael J. Manacci

Speaking from a place of total honesty, my first exposure to his majesty, the king of Wakanda, was the 2018 blockbuster starring the late Chadwick Boseman. Growing up, my taste in comics was more in tune with DC than Marvel, so as one could imagine, I wasn’t familiar with Marvel’s heroes or, to a greater extent, their universe. Despite this, when I stepped out of that dark theatre one summer afternoon, I left with both a dynamo-level charged newfound energy and my near extinguished passion for creating comics having been reignited. To simply say I loved the film would never do the film justice. Not only did I enjoy the movie, but I enthusiastically indulged in the plethora of Black Panther comics in the weeks thereafter.

Set in the wake of the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Prince T’Challa of Wakanda has returned home to claim the throne after the death of his father, King T’Chaka. For the readers unfamiliar with the Black Panther mythos, the only way for one to dawn the mantle of Black Panther is to be of the bloodline of the first Black Panther. In short, to be Black Panther is to be the ruler of Wakanda. After passing the rituals which resulted in him defeating his rival from the Jabari tribe in hand-to-hand combat, T’Challa ascends to his rightful place as both the king of Wakanda and the mantle of Black Panther. Later that night, T’challa has a vision in the spirit world of his father, who convinces him that although he is still a learner, his time has passed, and it is time for T’Challa to be king.

Meanwhile, as T’Challa is becoming accustomed to his new position, a very haunting and yet familiar foe seeks to destroy not only both T’Challa and the Black Panther mantle but everything that Wakanda stands for along with it. This villain knows how to kill without the slightest remorse, has underworld connections to disappear without a trace, and quite possibly could have the right amount of experience and tactical knowledge to be the one to bring down any and all who stand in his way. You might ask yourself, “exactly who could possess such great hatred for our hero and his newly acquired kingdom?” None other than T’challa’s own cousin, Eric Kilmonger.

Earlier in the movie, it is explained that Kilmonger’s father is T’challa’s paternal uncle. Therefore, Killmonger should have just as much right to the crown as T’challa. However, Kilmonger’s father was banished from Wakanda for he chose a dishonorable life. Thus, Kilmonger’s father lost his right to claim the mantle of Black Panther and the throne. All hope seems lost when Killmonger seems to kill T’Challa in hand-to-hand combat and ascend to the throne with plans of using the immense wealth of vibranium that Wakanda has to conquer the world. However, all is lost as the leader of the Jabari tribe saves T’challa, and the Jabari tribe nurses T’challa back to health. T’challa, while in recovery, has another vision of his father. His father’s spirit tells T’challa that He is the rightful heir to the throne, for he has chosen to honor the legacy of their ancestors and chose to use the Black Panther mantle for good over evil. In one final showdown, T’challa overthrows Kilmonger’s regime and restores Wakanda to its rightful glory.

While both of them had the same royal lineage, Kilmonger came up the mean and tough way while T’challa lived a life of ease and luxury. For this reason alone, Kilmonger abhorred Wakanda and all it stood for. Indeed, he felt cheated and shunned because of his father’s mistake. Over the years, it made him bitter towards his family. So often, society and the world tend to hold us responsible for not just the past mistakes of ourselves but the mistakes of our fathers. But through the shedding of his blood on the cross for all humanity, Jesus Christ has given each and every human redemption and salvation from our past and the dysfunction and mistakes of our families. As a believer in Christ, You are not bound by your past mistakes; the debt has been settled.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 54:17 that no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord. A wise man once told me. “Life can make you bitter, or it can make you better.”

So, dear reader, you from this day forth have the opportunity to change from your past mistakes, your shortcomings, and your failures and make a choice to abandon your old legacy and forge a new one for not just yourself but for the generations that are to come after you. The iron is hot; will you choose to forge a new legacy?