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Cover Date: September 1973
Cover Price: US $ 0.20
Issue Tagline: The Man Called Kill-Monger!
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue
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PANTHER'S RAGE PART 1! Plus, featuring the first appearance of Erik Killmonger.
T'Challa returns to Wakanda to find his kingdom in turmoil by a menace from within.
Lorna, The Jungle Girl (1954) #6
Aventure dans la jungle (1973) #6
Black Panther (2016) TPB vol. 02
Black Panther Epic Collection (2016) TPB vol. 01
Die Offizielle Marvel-Comic-Sammlung (2013) HC vol. Classic 28 (116)
Essential Black Panther (2012) TPB vol. 01
Marvel Masterworks: The Black Panther (2010) HC vol. 01
Marvel's Black Panther Prelude (2017) TPB
Killmonger hitched a ride back to Wakanda "during that time we had the trouble on Panther Island". Panther Island, to my knowledge, only appeared during Fantastic Four annual #5, although the Avengers are shown in the panel (which also says that Killmonger first recognized the Panther in the States when he saw him with the Avengers).
OK, a bright spot in these mid-70s doldrums. Here we have a book that was originally jungle story reprints, and the editor Don McGregor decided to create some original material. Working with the interesting Rich Buckler and the experimental Klaus Janson, he created a series about the Black Panther that is quite good, and very different. The Panther never contributed much in the Avengers. This was partly due to the fact that the technological aspect from his first appearances in the FF were ignored, so he was basically just a guy in a suit that was good at jumping around, and partially due to the fact that he didn't have much of a personality. McGregor definitely addresses the second problem. McGregor's T'Challa is developed subtly, and his love, his conflict, his philosophy, and his quiet sense of humor all show themselves from time to time.
As for the first problem, McGregor sets up an interesting conflict between the new technology and the old tribal ways in Wakanda. This was perhaps necessary due to the few depictions of Wakanda post-Fantastic Four #52-53, which mainly showed a primitive setting and not Kirby's techno-jungle.
The Black Panther and his soldiers, as well as his adversaries, do use technologically advanced devices and weapons, but they are viewed with distrust by a percentage of the Wakandan population. This gives a good explanation as to why T'Challa may have eschewed such gadgets, especially during times when his subjects were doubting his commitment to them.
One potential area of complaint in this series is its wordiness. There are often huge chunks of text, and even people's dialogue is very verbose.
This is not the wordiness of a Roy Thomas, however. It isn't just exposition that duplicates the efforts of the art. McGregor's captions and word balloons compliment the text, often addressing issues on a different level than the visual.
The art is very good. Buckler's figures are strong and realistic, which is especially enjoyable at a time when so much of the art looks rushed and sketchy. Janson's inking adds a further dimension, however. Unlike most inkers, he is not afraid to be seen, and his use of shadow and darkness will define this series even after Buckler leaves.
These first three issues set the stage for the Panther's Rage series. The Panther rescues an old man from a pair of goons (the two henchmen, Tayete and Kazibe, whose unfortunate encounters with the Panther will be a source of subtle comic relief throughout this series)...
but the man dies soon after. This is the opening salvo in a civil war launched by Erik Killmonger. Taking advantage of the unease among the people due to technological improvements that T'Challa has introduced and the fact that he has spent so much time away from the country (and the fact that he brought an outsider, Monica Lynne, home with him), Killmonger leads a rebellion that results in the massacre of a village. Panther hunts Killmonger down and the first issue of this arc ends with Killmonger defeating the Panther and throwing him off a waterfall.-- SUPERMEGAMONKEY'S COMIC'S CHRONOLOGY
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