Marvel’s Black Panther movie has prompted a lot of Balladeer’s Blog’s readers to ask for more and more items on the figure. My favorite was one from just today which said “I don’t like actually reading comic books but I like the way you describe them and review the stuff so could you do Panther’s Rage?”
Since many of the characters in the Wakanda vs Atlantis War made their first appearance during Panther’s Rage (1973-1975) I figured why not.
JUNGLE ACTION Volume 2 Number 6 (September 1973)
This 13-part story dealt with a rebellion aimed at overthrowing T’Challa – the Black Panther – as the ruler of Wakanda and replacing him with N’Jadaka/ Erik Killmonger. This was the rebellion that caused T’Challa to take a leave of absence from the Avengers in our previous Black Panther article.
Synopsis: The Black Panther has been agilely making his way through the jungle like Douglas Fairbanks, Sr in the Silent Movie The Gaucho. He’s freshly returned to Wakanda and is trying to recapture the rhythms of the kingdom he has spent far too much time away from in his adventures.
He comes across Tayette and Kazibe, two of Killmonger’s men, torturing an old man in a makeshift cage. It’s part of the rebels’ ongoing campaign of terror against all Wakandan villages and citizens who are still loyal to T’Challa (The Black Panther).
Our hero attacks and drives away Tayette and Kazibe, then frees their victim from the cage. The dying old man reaffirms his loyalty to T’Challa and says he never doubted that he would return to Wakanda to help his troubled people.
The elderly man then expires and the Black Panther carries his corpse back to Wakanda City, the capital, so he can be buried with royal honors. In his Royal Chambers T’Challa shares his sorrow over the man’s death with Monica Lynne, the African-American singing star that he is involved with.
Our hero is especially heart-broken over the way the man expressed faith that T’Challa would return yet the Panther still doesn’t even know the man’s name. Monica is having a tough time of things, too, since she is distrusted as an Outworlder, even by members of T’Challa’s own Royal Court.
A week after the man’s burial Killmonger’s armed forces obliterate another outlying Wakandan village that is loyal to T’Challa. The Black Panther and his own troops inspect the horrific aftermath the next day and see that all survivors of the initial attack were tortured to death.
At T’Challa’s side are W’Kabi, his Defense Chief and Taku, his Communications Technology Chief. They are sort of T’Challa’s Mr Spock and Dr McCoy, not just advising their King but are relationally close enough to him to often press assorted issues beyond the comfort point.
This time around, for instance, W’Kabi adds to T’Challa’s guilt – possibly deliberately – by observing aloud how long it has been since the Black Panther has visited many of the outlying villages like this one. Many of them have gone over to Killmonger’s side, preferring to ally themselves with an omni-present devil than with a frequently absent angel.
Killmonger and his large pet leopard named Preyy allow themselves to be spotted in the vicinity of Warrior Falls, the highest and most majestic waterfall in all of Wakanda. The Black Panther can move more swiftly through the jungle on his own and leaves his troops behind to confront Killmonger one-on-one.
The Panther and Killmonger battle atop Warrior Falls and, in the first of many such surprises featured in the Panther’s Rage saga, Killmonger so thoroughly outfights T’Challa that he deems him an unworthy opponent and sics Preyy on him instead.
The Black Panther defeats the leopard by forcing its mouth open in order to break its jaw. Killmonger resumes fighting T’Challa personally, defeats him and then throws him to his presumed death over the waterfall. His closing taunt to the Black Panther is “You have returned to the land of your birth, T’Challa, only to die here.”
(Significantly everyone else calls our hero Prince T’Challa or “My Chieftain” but Killmonger intentionally refuses to use the honorific.)
Okay, that’s this issue’s cliffhanger ending. I’ll spare you the even greater horrors of the lame Lorna of the Jungle reprint story that fleshed out the issue and just see you next time for Part Two.
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF THE RURAL HOME/ CROYDON SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MEMBERS OF INFINITE HORIZON CLICK HERE
FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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