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Panther's Quest

Season One, Episode 11

Director(s) Sebastian Montes
Writer(s) Paul Giacoppo
Summary  The Avengers are reviewing the security tapes of Captain America's fight with Zemo, with an eye towards finding out more about their mysterious intruder. Stark admits he has some neat tech - grudgingly so. Captain America states that whoever it is, must be an ally and not an enemy, under the circumstances.

An intruder alert brings the Avengers to the Mansion's front yard, where they encounter the Black Panther in person. After making a personal assessment of the Avengers' combat skills in person, the Black Panther makes his pitch for them to help him regain the throne of Wakanda. The Black Panther shows the Avengers evidence that HYDRA is supporting the regime of M'Baku the Man-Ape in exchange for unlimited access to the Sacred Vibranium Mound.

The Avengers agree to help, and they're on their way to Wakanda. Thor is absent; he's not responding to his Avengers Identicard signal. They fly to Wakanda, but not on the Black Panther's chosen path; Stark is secure in the quality of the stealth technology on the Quinjet.
Wakanda defense tech is better, and the Quinjet comes under heavy fire, crash-landing in the heavy jungle canopy. As the Avengers regroup, the Black Panther declares that he will deal with the Man-Ape himself, and disappears into the jungle as the Wakandan army converges on the crash site. Iron Man sends Captain America after the Black Panther, leaving Iron Man, Giant Man, and Wasp to deal with the Wakanda army, HYDRA, the Grim Reaper, and Klaw.

Back in Wakanda, Klaw and the Man-Ape are negotiating with HYDRA for vibranium. The Man-Ape feels that vibranium and technology has corrupted Wakanda, and is all in favor of HYDRA taking it away - for a price. Klaw wants to gouge HYDRA even more, but the Grim Reaper gives him warning not to get too avaricious. Klaw declares that he has the only technology to effectively weaponize vibranium, and in turn warns the Grim Reaper not to try and freeze Klaw out. The Man-Ape recieves word of the Avengers' incursion, and becomes enraged.

In the jungle, the Black Panther is closely followed by Captain America. The Black Panther protests that he does not need Cap's help, but Cap points out that the Black Panther sought out the Avengers, and that Cap personally owes T'Challa one. The Black Panther moves forward again, asking that Captain America understand that the Black Panther must take down the Man-Ape alone, in memory of T'Chaka.

Meanwhile, back at the Quinjet, the other Avengers have defeated the Wakanda army forces that had attacked them. Ant-Man comments that the Wakanda technology that they used was far superior to what he'd expected, and fears to think of such in the hands of HYDRA.

The Black Panther issues the ritual challenge to the Man-Ape, but rather than accept, he sends his guards to kill the Black Panther.

HYDRA is extracting vibranium ingots under the watchful eye of the Grim Reaper when the Avengers attack. Ant-Man deploys an army of Army Ants against Klaw, while Iron Man and Wasp fight the Grim Reaper and his HYDRA agents. During the fight, the vibrations of the battle are being slowly, ominously absorbed by the surrounding vibranium ore. Klaw warns Ant-Man about the threat of the vibranium over-loading, and Ant-Man alerts Iron Man and Wasp, just as the Grim Reaper turns on Klaw. Klaw's sonic blaster sprays the ore around him as he falls, and the combination of forces turns Klaw into a creature of solid sound.

The new Klaw turns on HYDRA inside the mine, striking out with solid sound tendrils. As the Avengers defend the HYDRA agents and themselves against Klaw, the Grim Reaper orders HYDRA to take what they have and pull out.

Meanwhile, the Black Panther is fighting the Man-Apes' amazonian guards, who are about to impale the Black Panther when a shield blocks their spears. Captain America has arrived none to soon, and announces that the Black Panther may face the Man-Ape alone, but anyone else is fair game! The Man-Ape orders the guards to tear Captain America apart while he deals with the Black Panther himself.

The Avengers continue their battle against Klaw, while Captain America fights the royal bodyguards. The Man-Ape and the Black Panther throw down. The man-Ape cannot lay a glove on the Black Panther, who escalates to his vibranium weapons. On the ropes, the Man-Ape uses the sonic weapon given him by Klaw, the same weapon the Man-Ape used to hill T'Chaka. The Man-Ape is about to deal a killing blow to the Black Panther, but is distracted momentarily when a sonic blast from Klaw bursts out of the vibranium mine, through the wall of the Sacred Vibranium Mound. When the Man-Ape turns back to the Black Panther, the Panther has gotten back on his feet and is fighting his way through the sonic waves, striding towards the Man-Ape. The Man-Ape steps backward, but cannot escape the Black Panther's finishing blow.

Ant-Man comes up with a plan to contain Klaw's sonic form, while the Wasp distacts him.
Outside, the citizens gather to acclaim the Black Panther the King of Wakanda.

Klaw exits the Sacred Vibranium Mound, attacking everyone with concentric waves of sonic energy. Having formed a rough vibranium casing, Iron Man flies into the center of Klaw's sonic form, and encapsulates Klaw's sonic emitter in it. Klaw is contained.

The Avengers gather near the throne, where the Black Panther declares that Wakanda must update themselves from the Old Ways. The council will rule Wakanda in T'Challa's name, while T'Challa himself will venture into the outside world as an Avenger.


Outside the ruins of the Cube, a Hulkbuster unit is closing in on the former super-prison. One of the reconn force is snatched by the Abomination. The others retreat as a green energy dome manifests outside the Cube!
Commentary  Another exceptionally-strong episode from the AEMH team.

The Black Panther presented here is a hybrid of the classic Black Panther character, with some Christopher Priest elements thrown in; not only is this Black Panther possessed of the strength, speed, and agility granted by the Sacred Herbs and rituals of the Panther God, but T'Challa is also quite brilliant, augmenting the traditional with modern upgrades. His uniform is absorbent to all energy spectra, including Wasp's bio-energy blasts. He has vibranium weapons. He can fire vibranium blasts (presumably via those weapons). The Wakanda technology is decades ahead of its time; Hank Pym declares it so.

The Black Panther presented here is a strong character, and his interactions with the other members of the team are a delight to behold; Iron Man distrustful and jealous of someone with superior technology, Captain America respectful but stubborn, Ant-Man immediately accepting and collegial.

One of the oft-stated complaints with "focus" episodes is that the tight focus on one character often comes at the cost of neglecting the other characters, or making them look lesser than they are. The writing staff, under the direction of Christopher Yost, is adept at giving each character something in each episode, building characterization with skillful application, brick by brick. Examples from this episode include:

* Watching Stark get insecure about his technology vs. the Black Panther's was so much fun, especially since T'Challa didn't seem aware they were in competition.

* Captain America taking an order from Iron Man with which he clearly disagrees.

The animation is still kind of stylistic, but has already grown on me; I mean, its not the Justice League-like style, but it doesn't have to be; as someone who grew up cutting his teeth on Kirby, Heck, Perez, Robbins, and others from both Marvel and DC, not neverthing has to be "Neal Adams" perfect for me to appreciate it. Heck, I even came to tolerate the horrible anime-influenced style of the Teen Titans animation...

For the faithful, we're even treated to a full launch sequence for the Quinjets, which had my inner fan-boy cheering!
Notes Youtube:
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