Sisters reading comics... Yeah, sure, let's go with that!
My sister is not into comic books but she knows that I am. She told me she “wants to read the Black Panther comics. The paper ones.”
My initial thought was, “No you don’t.” However, my sister is my sister and I want to support her scholastic endeavors… or whatever. If she thinks she wants to read comics, I’ll help her out.
The issue with helping my sister hop on the Black Panther bandwagon is that I don’t know shit about Black Panther comics, storylines, lore. None of it. I know he might have been married to Storm. I know he’s a Black African from a country that doesn't exist.
Fortunately, I am nerd enough to know where to look to figure out where along the Black Panther road might be the best flagstop to for hopping on.
Based on the events of the previous Marvel movies, specifically the Civil War storyline, it’s a matter of understanding the way the arcs are grouped and finding the relevant arc descriptions.
Too far back and it’s irrelevant to the Marvel Universe we’re immersed in. Too far forward and there’s an alien invasion or Black Panther is a woman and she’s fighting Doom.
TL;DR: start with 2005 -2008 Black Panther Vol. 4 by Reginald Hudlin.
It might take a while to catch up, but the best place to start is Black Panther Vol. 4 which started in 2005.
First, get into Black Panther Vol.1: Who Is The Black Panther which collects Black Panther issues 1-6 from the 2005 series.
Personally, I’d skip the following trade, X-Men/Black Panther: Wild Kingdom, because it’s an X-Men tie-in dealing with the House of M and that’s confusing and not relevant to what’s currently mainstream. The Avengers-focused portion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is skirting the whole Mutant thing.
Second should be Black Panther: Bad Mutha (Black Panther, vol 4, #10-13), followed by Black Panther: The Bride (Black Panther, vol 4, #14-18).
These will bring you to the most relevant (for us bandwagoners) of the trades: Black Panther: Civil War (Black Panther, vol 4, #19-25).
If you’ve stuck it out this far, you might want to continue on to the Skrull Invasion situation or jump to Volume 5 (2009) which features the she-Panther, Shuri in Black Panther: The Deadliest of the Species.
The movie, Black Panther, will be out in US theaters on February 16th, 2018.
Our special correspondent and writer, Tavia Lewis-Castagnozzi