52. The Black Panther

Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Two 52

Issue Fifty-Two

This issue brings a return to form to the somewhat lower-steaks adventures of the Fantastic Four’s early stories. There is no world-threatening menace to be revealed here, instead it is another eccentric character with mixed motivations in tangling with the FF.

This time it’s the Black Panther, and it’s the first time anyone has seen him. He’s played ambiguously. The first we hear his name, it comes from a very colorfully dressed African man who has just presented the Fantastic Four with a flying car that is faster and more advanced than anything that Reed or Johnny has designed so far. Then he contacts The Black Panther with a device that baffles Reed. They have decided to accept his invitation to The Big Hunt.

It seems a fairly obvious set up, and the idea of an African race chasing white people actually falls just short of racism because this tribe is very technologically advanced and the Panther fights with much intelligence, nobility, and honor. There is nothing revealed about his character to show malevolence. At the end of the issue we find it was just a game and that they have earned his trust and the story of his origin, to be imparted in the next issue…Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Two 52An interesting element is the inclusion of Johnny Storm’s roommate, Wyatt Wingfoot, in the adventure. It’s not really explained why they transfer his sleeping body to Africa, but it’s lucky for them that they did since he’s the one who is able to free them from being trapped from the now-standard asbestos rooms, sleeping gases, and manacles. Wyatt’s the only thing that saves this issue’s plot from finishing as all the others have.Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Two 52It’s a fun issue and the perfect direction to take the team after the last couple adventures.

EVALUATION: 8/10

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