If you just can’t get enough of Black Panther, I have some very good news for you. A brand new season of Disney XD’s hit action-oriented animated series Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is about to kick off in a big way this weekend. It not only launches Season 5 with a two-part special premiere, it also sets up the main thrust of this season’s storytelling focus, “Black Panther’s Quest.”
Over the previous four seasons, the gathered Avengers–which have included Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Falcon, Hawkeye, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and many more–have tackled the likes of Red Skull and Thanos before taking on the “Ultron Revolution” and “Secret Wars” storylines. Now, thanks in no small part to the smash-hit success of Black Panther and T’Challa in the MCU and Marvel Comics, the Wakandan King (and his sister) are headlining the adventure in a new globe-trotting quest. The hourlong premiere is a perfect way to set up Black Panther’s relationships with the other Avengers, establish the Disney XD version of his sibling rivalry with Shuri, and launch the duo into their own focused storyline.
Before we dig too deep into the review, here’s the two-part special’s trailer to bring you up to speed:
The Black Panther must decide his loyalties. Is he an Avenger first or King of Wakanda? As the mysterious Shadow Council rises to challenge Wakanda, T’Challa teams up with his sister Shuri to go on missions that no other Avenger can.
It’s a globe-trotting journey of espionage and mystery as old foes resurface and new friends are made. In the end, Black Panther must balance defending his home and stopping threats before they start. Is he a sword or a shield? Only he can decide.
Don’t miss the season premiere of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble: Black Panther’s Quest 9/23 at 9:00PM on Disney XD!
In this two-part premiere, Black Panther and Shuri aren’t going it alone just yet; this adventure is more of a team battle than a solo effort. James Mathis III has voiced T’Challa / Black Panther for quite a few episodes now, so his character’s rapport with the other Avengers–especially Tony Stark / Iron Man–is pretty well established. The newcomer this time, however, is Shuri (Daisy Lightfoot), who gets introduced to the Avengers at a welcoming party; she gets a sum total of 30 seconds to socialize before disaster strikes.
I’ll keep this review fairly spoiler-free since you deserve a chance to see how events unfold for yourselves this Sunday night, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the particular brand of villains who showed up to be the major antagonists of this hour and, possibly, beyond. The lead bad guy is voiced exceptionally well by Matthew Mercer, who’s quickly becoming a go-to voice actor for all sorts of roles as his range of performances continues to expand. Mercer’s villain and T’Challa have a history, and as his nefarious plans threaten both New York City and the Wakandan Embassy that resides within it (not to mention Shuri who is holed up within that), things between them get pretty heated.
But Black Panther shares the action and screen time in this battle against the baddies with all sorts of aforementioned heroes. The “heavy hitters” of Thor, Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel get their time to shine, though they’re mostly kept in reserve to fight against a massive enemy while the others–Iron Man, Black Panther, and Black Widow–track down the villain who’s causing so much trouble with his mysterious plan.
Some of the action along the way is a little silly, almost approaching Scooby-doo-like chase sequences, but other battles are reminiscent of some of the best toe-to-toe takedowns from Batman: The Animated Series; it’s that good. And while the action is entertaining, it’s the back and forth between the characters that’s the most enjoyable. Stark and T’Challa are rapidly becoming “buddies”, even if the Wakandan King isn’t too keen on it. Callbacks to the deceased Wakandan King T’Chaka are dropped frequently enough to remind you of the burden on T’Challa’s shoulders. Shuri, no princess in peril or damsel in distress, gets plenty of opportunity to foil the bad guys and quibble with her brother along the way. This is the dynamic that will likely continue in the episodes ahead as Black Panther and Shuri pick up where the premiere leaves off in order to hunt down their quarry to the ends of the Earth … or beyond.
Be sure to tune into Disney XD this Sunday, September 23rd at 9:00pm for the kick-off of “Black Panther’s Quest”, a promising new season of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.