Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-04-25 03:05pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-04-25 06:45am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-04-25 03:05am
Well, someone has to ('pretend to be') responsible for keeping outsiders out of the country, and it might as well be members of the Border Tribe.
True enough, though depending on the size of Wakanda and the size of the border tribe, the whole of border tribe might not have to pretend to be soldiers or police and some could pretend to be civilians.

Also depending what border zone of Wakanda is like they might not need that many disguised border guards, since if the borders are say for example thick jungle with few paths thru it anyone trying to enter wakanda unannounced probably already knows about the high tech nature and thus disguises would be pointless.
Sure fine. Note that I didn't speculate that literally every member of the Border Tribe probably has an AK. However, it may well be that enough have them (as props) to maintain plausible deniability as the armed militia that chases away intruders who try to sneak into Wakanda.

This would explain them having 'boxes and boxes' without necessarily having 'one for everybody.'
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-04-26 09:16am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-04-23 05:22pm
Is there a critical difference between the two to a non-Californian audience? ;)
About 370 miles :P
Probable reasons:

--Design choice during film-making, to reinforce the whole utopian ideal of Wakanda. Goes along with the comments during the chase scene where Shuri and Okoye are all 'guns, ugh, so primitive'.
--In-universe: cultural taboo against firearms in Wakanda/lack of need for them due to high tech... but that wouldn't do for telling outsiders as to why they don't use them, the cultural taboo thing might be a convenient fig leaf though.
--In-universe: perhaps illegal immigration/border-crossing isn't *quite* as much a concern as we think, has been in the past but for perhaps a generation, Klaue's attack aside, hasn't been recently. Thus the traditionally large Border Tribe forces are bored and raring for action. Part of this, as well, is that Wakanda is (supposedly) very isolated. Large snow-capped mountains on one side, near impassable (and populated with a rather hostile tribe to boot). Veldt/savanna on another side; this would be where the Border Tribe comes in. If they are bordering the Congo rain forest in central Africa, then that would be another natural barrier.
The impression I got is that Wakanda avoided a lot of unwanted attention by a combination of their geographic isolation along with their masquerade making colonial powers think they are so resource-poor that there was no point in trying to control that area. Even after the other countries found out about vibranium, they were under the impression that the metal in Captain America's shield and/or the metal that Klawe stole was the entirety of Wakanda's stockpile.

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-04-26 02:29pm

We discussed that; I have no great beef with it. At the moment I'm not as concerned with how colonial powers viewed Wakanda (though Wakanda and colonialism are another question, regardless of the border thing), more how they keep other Africans out.

Vibranium though, seems to be a rare and ridiculously capable metal. There's some implication that the raw ore is unstable in some form-- Shuri has to invent some kind of sonic barrier in order to move it by fast train. My thinking though is, either the stockpile that Klaue stole was ridiculously large-- the fact that Ultron was able to hold a landmass the size of a (very small) country with it suggests this-- or people are deliberately obtuse about how much vibranium is really in the world.

If Captain America's shield is literally the ONLY openly known piece of vibranium in the world, beyond perhaps the occasional artifact or two (depending on how you read museum lady's reaction to Killmonger declaring that the weapon in the case was vibranium), that raises the question of why scientists haven't tried to test the properties of vibranium further. One would think that an artifact or two might have been sacrificed for the sake of science. It also raises the question of why exactly Howard Stark used a random unknown metal to make the shield. He probably had at least some idea of its capabilities. I don't know how far 1930s-40s Western science could have gone with that.

The movie is pretty consistent in arguing that Wakanda is the ONLY source of vibranium. There's an Easter Egg in Iron Man 2 (IIRC) that suggests SHIELD is watching Wakanda (but then, they watched everybody). Perhaps Stark sent some men there because he found an artifact with vibranium and identified its origin. Old-school Wakandan artifacts were notably not as fancy as modern Wakandan vibranium technology (that we know of). I suppose he might only have known it's really good at absorbing/reflecting/whatever impact forces.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Imperial528 » 2018-04-26 02:46pm

Given that the Wakandans have holograms, couldn't the just disguise a vibranium-based weapon as an AK-47? Or just project images of them?

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-04-26 07:25pm

Imperial528 wrote:
2018-04-26 02:46pm
Given that the Wakandans have holograms, couldn't the just disguise a vibranium-based weapon as an AK-47? Or just project images of them?
that depends on the limits of that hologram tech. It could be possible that holograms good enough to fool a person up close need large facilities to project them, or small versions of it are simply too expensive to be common. Granted I've yet to see the film so if it shows the hologram tech to both small and plentiful I retract this statement.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-04-27 11:22am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-04-26 02:29pm
We discussed that; I have no great beef with it. At the moment I'm not as concerned with how colonial powers viewed Wakanda (though Wakanda and colonialism are another question, regardless of the border thing), more how they keep other Africans out.
Similar things could be at work here. If Wakanda has a reputation of being remote, poor, and of no strategic value, then other Africans might avoid it as well. Of those that persist, refugees are probably either turned away or transported elsewhere without bringing them into the interior of the country, while hostile militias are taken out and the circumstances covered up. Maybe the forces are killed, their bodies are transported elsewhere, and it's made to look like they fell victim to an ambush from a rival militia or wild animal attacks. It increases the reputation of the area around Wakanda being dangerous, making people in the area less likely to want to risk venturing through there, while not raising suspicions on the international level.

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-04-27 12:42pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2018-04-26 07:25pm
Imperial528 wrote:
2018-04-26 02:46pm
Given that the Wakandans have holograms, couldn't the just disguise a vibranium-based weapon as an AK-47? Or just project images of them?
that depends on the limits of that hologram tech. It could be possible that holograms good enough to fool a person up close need large facilities to project them, or small versions of it are simply too expensive to be common. Granted I've yet to see the film so if it shows the hologram tech to both small and plentiful I retract this statement.
Without spoilers:

Most of the Wakandans that we see have access to a portable hologram system, apparently their equivalent to a cell phone, via the technological bead bracelets they wear. The capital city is concealed by either a cloaking field or (more likely) a massive hologram. The Wakandans have technology to remote-pilot vehicles via a holographic simulation which the pilot sits within; it's a pretty good simulation.

So I'm not concerned that a Wakandan could hide a vibranium weapon with holograms; that's probably quite likely.

Where the monkey wrench comes into the spokes is that those aren't bullets the vibranium weapons are firing...
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Vendetta » 2018-04-28 05:52am

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-04-27 11:22am
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-04-26 02:29pm
We discussed that; I have no great beef with it. At the moment I'm not as concerned with how colonial powers viewed Wakanda (though Wakanda and colonialism are another question, regardless of the border thing), more how they keep other Africans out.
Similar things could be at work here. If Wakanda has a reputation of being remote, poor, and of no strategic value, then other Africans might avoid it as well. Of those that persist, refugees are probably either turned away or transported elsewhere without bringing them into the interior of the country, while hostile militias are taken out and the circumstances covered up. Maybe the forces are killed, their bodies are transported elsewhere, and it's made to look like they fell victim to an ambush from a rival militia or wild animal attacks. It increases the reputation of the area around Wakanda being dangerous, making people in the area less likely to want to risk venturing through there, while not raising suspicions on the international level.
To be honest one of the main groups of people Wakanda would be persistently fighting to keep out would be rhino poachers.

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Zixinus » 2018-05-05 07:12pm

The thing about "lol supertech from vibranium" is that there was also a a line somewhere in the comics about Wakanda being a nation of geniuses. Also, it is a brainbug. If you go back to the first depiction of Black Panther, this wasn't the case and it was the Black Panther all by himself that modernized the country relatively recently. "Wakanda is a supertech utopia made by black people" is an idea that developed and matured over time.

But Wakanda rather obviously is an African-American's utopic fantasy of Black Unconquered Nation that superseded their own country in most respects (except democaracy, which was actually a topic of a civil war in current comics). It is a narrative that is counter-racist (outside Wakanda, most comics would have unlikely to have features a city of superior technology that wasn't made by whites or aliens) that sadly still works on racist logic (race is key, Wakanda MUST mean black). In the comics there was an emphasis on actual science and engineering, with T'Challa also being a scientist that was Tony Stark's equal as well as a strategic genius. The idea that Wakanda is a country where the "black" race was never "held back" by outside influence, you'll see the superior race undertone easily lead to "nation of geniuses".

That said, I do have one explanation that is partially supported by the canon: Bast, plus the rest of their gods (they have their own pantheon, can't be bothered to look it up atm) influence. They take a present role with the country. Wakanda wasn't just depicted as technologically superior, but spiritually superior. The heart-shaped herb wasn't the Wakandan equivalent of a super-serum. It was used to help one reach commune with Bast herself and it is her that grants the power of the Black Panther (which included supernatural powers). If you did not meet Bast's approval, you died. The Black Panther wasn't just king, but the pope of Wakandan religion as they (there were female Black Panthers) represented Bast (all the statues? They were for Bast, not just the king).

The herb was supposed to be the final test for becoming Black Panther (the challenge thing was actually meant to be public event where anyone could challenge the king, thus ensuring that the king was always physically capable). This goes further, with the nation retaining supernatural knowledge as well as scientific, or with little separation between the two. There are actual priests and shamans of supernatural power in Wakanda on-call.

From this, and this is where my speculation starts, you can see a similar attitude made for education as well as clear respect for knowledge. Knowledge has its own god, Toth IIRC. Consider that Wakanda's intelligence network didn't just take information about potential enemy's intentions, they took information about technology as well**. Combine that with a strong, spiritually-enlightened focused on education, the fact that vibranium is universally useful and that Wakanda is very rich (not just by Vibranium although I don'T recall how), and you have the basis of a virtuous cycle of technological development.


Of course, there was little time for all this in the movie. I would not be surprised if later on we see deleted extended scenes about Bast or that the religious aspect was taken out almost entirely except as background detail.
If Captain America's shield is literally the ONLY openly known piece of vibranium in the world, beyond perhaps the occasional artifact or two (depending on how you read museum lady's reaction to Killmonger declaring that the weapon in the case was vibranium), that raises the question of why scientists haven't tried to test the properties of vibranium further. One would think that an artifact or two might have been sacrificed for the sake of science. It also raises the question of why exactly Howard Stark used a random unknown metal to make the shield. He probably had at least some idea of its capabilities. I don't know how far 1930s-40s Western science could have gone with that.
In the comics, the current Black Panther's grandfather gave it to Steve Rogers after he helped repel a Nazi invasion to Wakanda (Wakanda gets lots of invasions). Depending on the comic, the Black Panther actually BEAT Cap (Cap was still inexperienced at that point).

How it got into Stark's hands in the MCU is unknown. All I can think of is that at that point the Allies have gathered up lots of weird stuff that the Nazis gathered up and Stark got his hands on all that. Then, being Stark, he experimented with it and produced the shield among other things. I do recall that Stark had several shields ready for experimental purpouses.

** Someone pointed out how a black person having access to delicate and secrative scholars would be strange in various times. Well, there are two simple answers to that: first, Wakandan spies had superior technology that likely included things listening devices; second, Wakandan spies could have simply made or gotten white (or Asian or whatever was necessary) agents that would have done the interrogation for them.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-06 03:49pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-05-05 07:12pm
The thing about "lol supertech from vibranium" is that there was also a a line somewhere in the comics about Wakanda being a nation of geniuses. Also, it is a brainbug. If you go back to the first depiction of Black Panther, this wasn't the case and it was the Black Panther all by himself that modernized the country relatively recently. "Wakanda is a supertech utopia made by black people" is an idea that developed and matured over time.

But Wakanda rather obviously is an African-American's utopic fantasy of Black Unconquered Nation that superseded their own country in most respects (except democaracy, which was actually a topic of a civil war in current comics). It is a narrative that is counter-racist (outside Wakanda, most comics would have unlikely to have features a city of superior technology that wasn't made by whites or aliens) that sadly still works on racist logic (race is key, Wakanda MUST mean black). In the comics there was an emphasis on actual science and engineering, with T'Challa also being a scientist that was Tony Stark's equal as well as a strategic genius. The idea that Wakanda is a country where the "black" race was never "held back" by outside influence, you'll see the superior race undertone easily lead to "nation of geniuses".
Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what it comes down to me re: Wakanda, cultural elements aside. Not that it's a BAD thing per se, African-Americans are just as allowed to have their super-tech African fantasy as Caucasians are our super-tech mostly-white Star Wars fantasy. But when it meets someone with actual knowledge of what 'real Africa' is like... well, it clashes a bit.

I suppose it's a bit of a comic-book version of Kwanzaa or something. I wonder if Black Panther ever got super-popular in like the 70s or something?
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Zixinus » 2018-05-07 11:40am

A note about Wakanda's educational system: in one of the recent Ms. Marvel comics there is a junior super-scientist genius boy who goes to Wakandan school (due to some complications with his scholarship, forgot exactly what that was about). There, he talks about barely keeping up and the teacher being very, very well qualified for his position. So Wakandan education being high is thrown around.
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-05-06 03:49pm

Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what it comes down to me re: Wakanda, cultural elements aside. Not that it's a BAD thing per se, African-Americans are just as allowed to have their super-tech African fantasy as Caucasians are our super-tech mostly-white Star Wars fantasy. But when it meets someone with actual knowledge of what 'real Africa' is like... well, it clashes a bit.
I guess that's true in general for African-Americans and their conception of Africa?

I heard the line "this is what Africa could be without colonialism" elsewhere about Black Panther. Which worries me a bit but then again, most people (myself included) have only vague ideas about what is truly required to make a high-tech civilization.
I suppose it's a bit of a comic-book version of Kwanzaa or something. I wonder if Black Panther ever got super-popular in like the 70s or something?
The problem isn't the fantasy, especially for something as fanciful as the Marvel universe. The problem would be is if racist thinking is allowed to be taken for granted and excused just because it is portrays blacks positively.

Of course, the comics have been slowly trying to expand Wakanda and its people to be more than just about that.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-05-07 02:59pm

Vendetta wrote:
2018-04-28 05:52am
To be honest one of the main groups of people Wakanda would be persistently fighting to keep out would be rhino poachers.
In that case, covertly armoring the rhinos and surrounding them with armed herdsmen who double as the Wakandan Army turns them into good bait, and it keeps a steady stream of foreign assholes coming in who no one will miss much. The international community won't complain as much if you stick a rhino poacher's head on the end of a pole, as if you do it to a normal person.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-05-09 01:02am

Someone actually made a YouTube video on this topic, and how, realistically, Wakanda should be less prosperous than it is due to isolationism and autocracy. As well as the relative value of Vibranium due to lack of trade outside their borders. Here's the link.

Though, this doesn't take into account the foreign education and sapping of outside knowledge through espionage.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-09 09:20am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-05-09 01:02am
Someone actually made a YouTube video on this topic, and how, realistically, Wakanda should be less prosperous than it is due to isolationism and autocracy. As well as the relative value of Vibranium due to lack of trade outside their borders. Here's the link.

Though, this doesn't take into account the foreign education and sapping of outside knowledge through espionage.
Without watching the video, but your post did make me think:

There has been the implicit assumption, I suppose, that Wakanda is just as closed to exit as it is to entry. Is this necessarily true? Because it would make sense for the Wakandans to conduct trade outside their borders. If nothing else, it allows them to assert their international status as a country, not just a random bit of Africa which is controlled by random tribes. And I can see them doing a limited trade in vibranium weapons of the fancy-rock-on-a-stick variety in order to purchase whatever raw goods aren't available in Wakanda. After all, they do have a Merchant Tribe; kind of silly to have one of those if they only ever conduct trade with their own people...

Conversely though, can you realistically only have your own people entering and exiting the country, and still completely deny entry to anybody else? In the modern day it might be possible; there's really not much reason NOT to do it... other than pretty much having zero diplomatic relations with anybody outside your immediate sphere of influence, because I can't really see having ambassadors from foreign countries who aren't even permitted to enter the country. In history, particularly the colonial period... it'd totally make the Powers that Be wonder what they were hiding.

At a certain point the whole "we don't let anybody in" thing has to flex. If there's a fake capital of mud huts or whatever that they let the foreigners visit, that's one thing (that I note we *never* hear about nor, IIRC, is ever mentioned in the comics). But that's only an assumption that such a thing exists.

Even medieval Japan (probably one of the historic parallels they were deriving Wakanda's isolationism from) still conducted trade at fixed ports with people from certain countries (the Dutch and Portugese come to mind).
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Zixinus » 2018-05-09 04:27pm

I would imagine that Wakanda created its own wealth just as it does espionage: using its tech superiority and well-placed wisdom to do everything under cover. So it would trade, but indirectly. In the past I'd imagine the Merchants simply pretended to be from somewhere else or used intermediaries. Today, I'd imagine Wakanda industry selling stuff through shell companies that on paper are owned by whoever but whose significant amount of profit comes goes to Wakanda. Possibly in form of things that Wakanda cannot produce. Ideally, it would be stuff like seeds or books that they can use to make more things themselves. They could also do stuff like have factories import materials, use Wakandan technology and vibranium process and export them as products that have neither.

The notion that Wakanda is completely self-sufficient is also there and a key element there. This is a big difference, because very few nations are self-sufficient. In the comics, where Wakanda lost all of its vibranium due to Doom (or rather, lost it all rather than let Doom have it), Wakanda did actually survive, although it was a big economic hit.

It is also possible that Wakanda's policy of immigrants and secrecy has changed over the ages. I mean, keeping Wakanda super-technology a secret must have been easier in the 1500 than in the 1800 and so on.

Also, Marvel does love isolated super-city states. There is Attillan and Atlantis.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-09 05:16pm

Yeah, I'm fairly sure Wakanda probably used to be more open, at the very least up until the colonial era. At that point they would have just been a myth to anybody outside Africa, similar to Prester John (hey maybe in the Marvel universe a Wakandan King *was* Prester John). That might explain the influx of different cultural garbs, though I would have thought that by the modern era they wouldn't resemble the original cultures they were derived from.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2018-05-10 07:01pm

Was Genosha also an advanced, isolated nation in the comics?
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Majin Gojira » 2018-05-10 07:12pm

Bob the Gunslinger wrote:
2018-05-10 07:01pm
Was Genosha also an advanced, isolated nation in the comics?
No, they were introduced as Aparthide South Africa enslaving mutants with power-negating collars and power armoured guards. Not unheard of in the Marvel Universe by that time, but just a little on the uncommon side.

Though what I mostly remember was from the 90s Animated Series, I think they may have had some ties to Apocalypse to justify the tech.
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