The three superheroes will clash for the first time in next year's Captain America: Civil War, the latest addition to Marvel's ever-growing cinematic universe.
Though a number of Marvel characters have graced EW's cover in the past, this week's marked the first time that a black Marvel character was featured and named, front and center. Despite that, though, a number of fans looking forward to the Black Panther's introduction into the MCU were irked at some of the magazine's flavor text it used to characterize the character.
In order to see what people are talking about, you have to see the full cover as will appear on newsstands later this week. In a number of places, Entertainment Weekly makes jokes referring to the Black Panther's feline motif:
People are taking particular with EW quoting the Black Panther saying "meow" as he stares at the reader head on. Writing for Hitfix, Donna Dickens argued that the cover mischaracterized T'Challa while also missing the chance to highlight his very, very cool origins.
"The King of Wakanda does not say 'Meow,' Dickens explained. "He doesn’t behave in a catty manner. He certainly doesn’t have time for day-drinking and petty squabbles while a camera crew eggs on the drama."
Dickens isn't wrong; you'd be hard-pressed to find a single panel of the Black Panther literally meowing at someone or getting daydrunk to amuse Andy Cohen. That being said, people are sort of missing two important points here.
Even though he's clearly the most interesting addition to the movie's cast (sorry, Martin Freeman) Civil War isn't about the Black Panther. In the books, Wakanda, and the Black Panther by extension, are known for being geopolitically isolationist.
The Black Panther doesn't usually get involved in the Avengers' affairs because he's got much more interesting and pressing matters to tend to at home. There are times, like when the world is going to be devoured or reality is being rewritten, that he'll deign to team up, but aside from that, he's fairly hands-off.
At its core, Civil War is clearly a movie about Captain America and Iron Man beefing over the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Shaw). The Winter Soldier was Cap's best buddy, but then he became a deadly assassin-cum-terrorist, and now the government wants to track all superhuman activity.
Iron Man's down, but Cap isn't and so they fight. Granted, there are larger implications and plot developments for the film but let's be clear here: This is an emotional conflict between three men who can't work their feelings out.
You might just call it…a catfight.
(Note that Fusion knows this particular man is Anthony Mackie.)
Really, though, this cover could have easily featured The Winter Soldier in the middle and considering how heavily featured he is in the first trailer, it's fantastic that EW decided to highlight T'Challa instead.
Fusion is partly owned by ABC, a member of the Disney family that also includes Marvel.