- Series: Black Panther: Epic Collection:
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Marvel (October 18, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1302901907
- ISBN-13: 978-1302901905
- Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Black Panther Epic Collection: Panther's Rage Paperback – October 18, 2016
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The stories include the two issue debut of the Panther from Fantastic Four #52 and #53 (1966).
Plus the entire run of Jungle Action's new Panther stories. Jungle Action #6 through #24 which ran bimonthly from 1973 to 1976. For Jungle Action #23 (a reprint of a Daredevil issue with Panther) only the new cover is printed.
I am kind of at a loss to explain why some of the Panther's other early appearances aren't included. I am talking about the FF Annual plus issues of Daredevil and the Avengers. Compare this to the first Moon Knight volume which probably went too far with the Defenders appearances. It seems like the editors change the rules with each volume.
The two issue run of the Fantastic Four from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduces the character. Rereading these books it is interesting to see what a large role Wyatt Wingfoot had during this time, he almost functions as a team member and gets involved in the battles.
A few other recollections that were probably dropped from the Panther Mythos was a scene of T'Challa ( Black Panther) smoking a cigarette. Also their is a reference to his Panther Powers which includes his ability to see in the dark. If somebody ever followed up on these I would like to know. Please leave a comment after this review.
We also get the introduction of the metal Vibranium and the Black Panther's arch enemy Klaw, the master of sound.
Don McGregor's 18 issue run of The Panther in Jungle Action is comprised of two long stories. Especially long for the mid-seventies. The Panther's Rage set in Wakanda runs a whopping 13 issues with the epilogue. While the follow up story set in the American South ran five issues.
Don McGregor broke into comics as a writer in 1971 working on Warren Magazines. To get his foot in the door at Marvel he started as proof reader a short while later. He worked his way up to the Editorial department. At the time Jungle Action was reprinting 50's white jungle heroes in stories he felt were racist. He proposed writing new stories with the African Hero as the lead.
Don McGregor is truly one of the great writers, but I had forgotten how wordy he is. For example in one scene where the Panther is prying the mouth of a crocodile open he talks at length about the state of the Crocodile's dental work. His teeth are covered in slime and rot and little parasites living in his mouth are festering on his gums.
The Panther's Rage is a great and intricate story with many themes. While the Action is continuous the back story are equally fascinating about Politics, Love, Betrayal, Loyalty, Honor, Greed , Jealousy and much more.
The basic plot is between The Panather and Erik Killmonger who like T'Challa has remade himself. Killmonger has a whole batch of evil lieutenants who sport clever wordplay names like: Venomm ( two m's and no symbiotic costume) Malice, Salamander K'ruel, Sombre, Baron Macabre and King Cadaver.
Monica Lynn his American Songbird girlfriend which he met in the missing Avengers issues is a big presence in this saga in which she is even jailed and accused of murder in a big subplot.
The Klu Klux Klan saga which moves the story back to America is also quite good and groundbreaking for its time.
The art for this collection is excellent including the opening salvo by the great Jack Kirby at the top of his game. Inked to perfection by Joe Sinnott. Rich Bucker starts off the McGregor run with some beautiful art before the ultra talented African American artist Billy Graham takes over as regular artist. Also worth mentioning is the talented Klaus Janson who inks a ton of the stories with his realistic style. Gil Kane does the lion's share of covers and a complete fill in issue. All these guys make this a book which is equally great with both writing and art.
The back of book includes an additional 20 pages of extras many from the collection of Don McGregor of scripts, sketches and unseen production work.
This is an outstanding work which needs to be in the library of any Black Panther fan. I hope the new movie and subsequent sequels not only uses the work of Lee & Kirby but also draws on the great material from McGregor, Buckler and Graham.
Besides the Fantastic Four all the issues were written by Don McGregor. There is a lot of praise for his writing style, which is more like a graphic novel or short story than a comic, with LOTS of writing, but I look at the content and have nothing but complaints.
To start, Fantastic Four 52-53 introduced T’Challa, the Black Panther and the world of Wakanda. He invites the Marvel super group to his country and defeats them and then they work together to fight one of the Panther’s long time enemies Klaw. T’Challa’s country of Wakanda is portrayed as a mix of the traditional and the highly advanced due to its vibranium riches.
This had huge possibilities, but what did McGregor do with it? Nothing. In fact, he threw the country backwards. Instead of a technological marvel, there are only signs of progress in the royal palace. Instead of being something that had enriched the people for centuries, McGregor has only T’Challa’s father just starting to use vibranium. The rest of the country remains poor and underdeveloped. For example, one woman had never seen a needle before when a doctor tries to give her a shot. None of the men wear shirts. Instead they run around bar chested and with loin clothes. The main story for two-thirds of the comic is Eric Killmonger and his minions, but half of the action is actually about T’Challa fighting the wild. He goes against rhinos, alligators, wolves, gorillas, snakes and even dinosaurs. It appears that given all the technological wonders Wakanda was supposed to have all McGregor could think about was Tarzan movies for inspiration where Africans are all stuck in the jungle. In fact, if Wakanda was place in real 1970s Africa they would be considered backwards and primitive.
The end of the series transports T’Challa and his girlfriend Monica Lynne back to her home in Georgia where he sister died in a suspicious suicide. The town her family lives in is dealing with the Klu Klux Klan that terrorized her relatives after the Civil War and continue to have a presence in the modern times. There’s also a suspicious cult group going around. What becomes of these groups is not known because Jungle Action was cancelled before it could finish. McGregor does a much better job when he’s back on American shores than dealing with Africa when he was completely out of his element.
Still, what I come away with after reading this book is too much verbiage by McGregor and an insulting image of Africa as some backwards jungle continent where even in what is supposed to be the most advanced nation in the world there is little civilization with most people living out in the wild. Since this franchise started in the 1970s there have really only been two writers that have given it justice. Those are Reginald Hudlin and Ta-Nehisi Coates. It says something that Marvel never found any competent people to run this character until the 2000s. People should skip this early garbage and just collect the comics by those two writers.