Quote1 Mr. Keith reached out to me weeks ago, claiming some affiliation to Wakanda. I had never heard of him, and I would have dismissed his claim... except he used an antiquated channel on the Kimoyo-net. One that only my inner circle knows exists. Quote2
-- Black Panther

Appearing in "We Are The Streets: Black Against The Empire"

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Synopsis for "We Are The Streets: Black Against The Empire"

In 1956, two men, Frank and Ezra, are amassing weapons in a Harlem sewer. Though they pause to admire the Wakandan technology of the weapons, their minds are on their business - the group they plan to found, called "Harlem's Crusade". China, Madripoor, and the Philippines have all recently started super hero teams, and Ezra plans to start another - a revolutionary force to hold off evil.

In the present day, Black Panther and Blue are standing in the modernized sewer base of the Crusade, trying to solve the puzzle surrounding the life and death of Ezra Kieth. Black Panther explains that Ezra contacted him several weeks ago, on a secret internal channel known only by the inner circle of the Wakandan king. At the time, Wakanda faced rebellion, but now, he has come to investigate if there was a breach.

Marla, the woman showing them the base, waxes of how much it would have meant to Ezra to see these two heroes in this space, and how he had been waiting for them to find him. Ororo asks what she means, and she says that a campaign of the powerful against the powerless has been waged upon black people for many years, and Ezra had wanted them to join his efforts to bring justice. Black Panther dismisses her hope, saying he is a foreign head of state on a mission of national security, and did not come to bring revolution. Marla accuses him of not knowing who he is.

Ororo tries to defuse the brewing argument by asking why Ezra, so sure they would find his cause, would reach out so soon before his death. Marla admits that she doesn't know, but that he had grown obsessed with a new luxury condo complex on 116th Street called "The Renaissance," part of a gentrification effort called SoHa. Blue and Black Panther are doubtful that Ezra would have assembled a super hero team to fight condominiums, but they decide to check it out.

Using his new "Luke Charles" identity, Black Panther makes an appointment for a viewing, and the two walk through SoHa in fashionable civilian garb. As they walk, Black Panther sees the effects of the gentrification on the local residents, and thinks of Wakanda's age-old policy of isolation as a tactic against rapacious empires. And how walls cannot defeat empires, but only redirect their hunger. Blue is silent, watching for Americops, and Black Panther muses that annulling their marriage in the wake of the Phoenix Five incident was a mistake, one he only sees now that he has survived a multiversal collapse.

The realtor at the Renaissance, Cal Collins, is a young white man, a graduate of E.S.U.'s black studies program, who likes Frank Ocean's music, high-priced cocktails, and 1920s fashion. As his technology scans the apartment building, Black Panther makes a note to research and sample as many of Cal Collins' interests as possible. When pressed on the issue of crime, Cal Collins admits that there has been some trouble lately due to the depressed local economy, but that community investments like the complex and surrounding businesses will bring an influx of money and make Harlem great again. Blue and Black Panther's reaction is poker-faced.

Soon after, Black Panther is finishing his research while singing Frank Ocean. This amuses Blue, but the good-natured banter is tinged with regret as the two are reminded of their failed marriage. Black Panther forges on, pointing out that based on his scans, the Renaissance has a hidden elevator in the south wall, which leads to a reinforced subterranean bunker. The building is owned by Paragon Properties, a company that has made donations to New York politicians, but which has no permit to build on that site, and whose employee, Cal Collins, has no realtor license. Black Panther's conclusion is that the Renaissance is a front, a conclusion which hardened when he discovered the outline of the complex - the skull-and-octopus symbol of Hydra.

Ororo's mind immediately turns to Misty Knight, who is investigating Ezra Keith's death, and whose life is surely in danger. Across town, Misty Knight goes to visit an old friend in a building which suddenly suffers a rocket-propelled grenade attack. As Black Panther muses on the need to fight the insidious servants of greed and cowardice by engaging in conscious efforts of community-building, Misty's friend emerges from the smoke - Luke Cage, Harlem's defender!

Solicit Synopsis

• When the Black Panther makes it known that he too was an associate of Ezra Miller, the late Harlem community pillar and social activist who died in police custody, the case finds new life.

• Was there more to Miller than he let on? Was his activism a front for something larger?

• One thing’s for certain: What’s happening in Harlem is not new. It stretches back decades. The secret super hero history of the Marvel Universe continues!


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