What If…? episode #2 is a bittersweet goodbye to Chadwick Boseman and the MCU’s T’Challa, and it will likely send collectors scurrying for Black Panther’s first appearance.
Fans of Boseman and Black Panther will embrace this episode, and rightfully so. This is the final sendoff for an actor whose star extinguished much too soon. Marvel Studios has already announced that the role of T’Challa will not be recast. Thus, the second episode of What If…? is the farewell for both the actor and the character.
The episode centers on the overarching ramifications if the Ravagers had abducted T’Challa rather than Peter Quill. The result was a selfless version of Starlord, becoming the single most famous hero in all the universe.
Instead of following Quill’s inherent self-serving nature, T’Challa’s turn as Starlord is closer to an intergalactic Robin Hood. He inspires good in all those around him, including villains such as Nebula, Korath, and even Thanos, all of whom join the Guardians.
The selling point for this episode is mostly nostalgia. Along with hearing Boseman’s voice one final time, What If…? gave fans a trek to the past with Josh Brolin voicing Thanos, Benicio Del Toro as the Collector, and an added cameo at the end of the episode that I won’t spoil for you here.
While Episode Two did not give us any direct keys as we saw with Captain Carter and the Hydra Stomper, there was still a collecting fallout for two comics in particular.
FANTASTIC FOUR #52
There is no filling the void in the MCU left by Black Panther. Certainly, another character will take up the mantle, but there is no replacing the original. In the collecting world, nothing replaces FF #52 among Black Panther keys.
There has certainly been an uptick in sales this month as a direct result of What If…?. Ten different grades have sold online in August, the highest of which has been the 7.5. That particular copy brought $3,400 last week. One step below is the record-breaking 7.0, selling for a new high of $2,850 on August 15.
At the lower end, August has been a good month for the 2.0. On August 1, one copy sold for a record $750. Nine days later, it was still earning over $600.
Another key issue getting a bump from What If…?’s newest episode is Avengers #28 – the first appearance of the Collector.
After seeing Tivan on the What If…? teaser, fans knew to expect something from the character last seen in an Infinity War cameo. This version of the Collector is beefed up and given major power upgrades to make him much more threatening than ever before. There could be enough excitement for the Collector as a nemesis that fan outcry could bring him back to the MCU.
His first appearance has been on the move as of late. An 8.5 sold for a two-year high of $425 earlier this month, and a 7.5, after reaching a record $270 in July, brought $173 on August 15.
A FITTING END
Marvel’s farewell to Boseman and T’Challa was what it should have been – a superhero elevated to legendary status. What If…? officially closes the book on the first Black Panther, and now we can look to the future for who will fill those shoes.