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Reviewed by:
  • Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer
Smith, Ronald L. Black Panther: The Young Prince. Marvel/Disney,
2018 [272p] ISBN 978-1-4847-8764-9 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6

In this novelistic treatment of the Marvel superhero's origin story timed for the new movie, young T'Challa is sent by his father, the Black Panther and king of the hidden African nation Wakanda, to the south side of Chicago and away from the brewing war in their kingdom. He and his best friend M'Baku find being regular kids at middle school is challenging, and T'Challa is particularly troubled when M'Baku promptly ditches him for a group of tough guys rumored to be involved with the supernatural. This is a straightforward tale of good vs. bad, and Smith's no-nonsense, direct narration makes it easily accessible. The world building is achieved mostly through dialogue and short snippets of uncomplicated exposition, giving room for [End Page 221] readers unfamiliar with the Marvel universe. The action is somewhat limited to a single battle, but there's plenty of intrigue and tension in T'Challa's hunt for the source of the dark magic and its connection to Wakanda. Fans will notice allusions to T'Challa's future adventures as the ruling Black Panther, but even the comic-book averse will relate to T'Challa's negotiating of middle-school dynamics and may also appreciate his cleverness as he faces down his enemies. KQG



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pp. 221-222
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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