How Marvel Is Changing the MCU’s Black Panther and Shang-Chi for the Worse

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WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Black Panther #1, available now from Marvel.

Ever since his first appearance over 50 years ago, Black Panther has been one of the most astounding figures in the Marvel Universe. From king of Wakanda to one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, T’Challa has fought against the forces of evil no matter what form they come in or what position he holds.

Unfortunately, staying ahead of his enemies has also led T’Challa to take some truly drastic measures, the likes of which few, if any heroes would understand. Of course, Black Panther isn’t the only hero to find themselves fighting a battle on two fronts, nor is he the only one poised to lose their standing because of it. In fact, T’Challa looks to be walking down the same dark road as Shang-Chi, and if the Master of Kung Fu is any indication, there might not be any coming back from it.

RELATED: Shang-Chi May Have Started Two New Civil Wars in Marvel’s Multiverse

Between his duties as the emperor of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda and his seat as chairperson of the Avengers, T’Challa has hardly had any time to oversee his nation on Earth. Thankfully, Wakanda’s recent shift to a parliament-style government has given the people the power to rule over themselves, all while providing their king a chance to focus on his other endeavors. During this transition, it is revealed someone has been unearthing the Black Panther’s darkest secrets in a deadly fashion, driving the hero to ask Shuri for help when Wakandan sleeper agents are uncovered and eliminated in the field.

That anyone could have known about the clandestine measures T’Challa took years ago to safeguard his country is bad enough, but dealing with the threat has also left him in a particularly precarious position. Despite his only recently increased dedication to the team, T’Challa makes the decision to step back from his duties as an Avenger in the pages of Black Panther #1 by John Ridley, Juann Cabal, Federico Blee, and VC’s Joe Sabino.

RELATED: No More ‘Avengers Assemble?’ Black Panther Debuts a New Team Catchphrase

The choice to take a leave of absence from the team isn’t an easy one to make, yet T’Challa can’t in good conscience continue to act as chair of the Avengers while cleaning up a mess he made behind their backs. It’s hard to imagine that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would support one of their own having dotted the globe with his own secret assassins, especially when they have so quickly turned on another fellow hero for far lesser crimes. (Then again, they did used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.) When Shang-Chi inherited his father’s dark legacy in the form of the Five Weapons Society, he was quick to establish himself as a benevolent figure, but that too has been changing, at least in other heroes’ eyes.

Over the past few months, Shang-Chi has brought his estranged family back together, all while working tirelessly to distance the Five Weapons Society from its villainous reputation. Despite everything he has done right, Shang-Chi hasn’t been able to convince his fellow heroes that the Five Weapons Society isn’t making him worse by association. This has put the Master of Kung Fu on a collision course with his greatest allies. And from the looks of things in his own corner of the Marvel Universe, T’Challa’s secrets are leaving him in the exact same position.

RELATED: Marvel Just Debuted Wakanda’s Black Ops Team – and It May Ruin Black Panther

Plenty of iconic Marvel heroes have found themselves on the other side of the aisle from their longtime allies before now, though it is rare that their own best efforts create such a great divide between them. Then again, it’s hard to imagine many people still being on Black Panther’s side once they discover just how far he was willing to go to keep Wakanda safe from the rest of the world.

If nothing else, this all serves to highlight precisely where T’Challa’s allegiances truly lie. With any luck, that uncomfortable truth won’t be the thing that pushes him away from the Avengers entirely, especially when there are already such powerful forces working against him.

KEEP READING: Is Marvel Turning Black Panther into a Villain?

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