53. The Way it Began

Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Three 53

Issue Fifty-Three

The second part of the Black Panther’s introduction doesn’t disappoint. It also doesn’t offend, and that’s worth saying up front. Although there is much stereotyping of the Wakandans, there is even more that is celebrated about them, particularly their intellect and integrity. They have their own culture and there are no excuses or apologies made for that. The Fantastic Four are not portrayed as being more “enlightened” or “civilized”.

In fact, the FF are now back to being caught a couple steps behind events. After enjoying T’Challa’s hospitality and hearing his origin story, they get caught mopping up Klaw’s sound animals until T’Challa resolves the situation with his nemesis.

But to back up slightly. T’Challa Is a man with a mission and a heritage. As a young boy, and heir to the chieftain of the tribe, he watched his father be murdered and his tribe all but destroyed due to Klaw’s desire to obtain the precious metal vibranium for his sound experiments. Another instance of white man’s greed. T’Challa manages to fight them all off, injuring Klaw’s hand, and Klaw vows to return for the vibranium.Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Three 53T’Challa’s reaction to this is very interesting. He vows revenge, naturally, but he also takes the long view. He sells off small amounts of vibranium for study at extremely high prices and channels all the money into making his tribe the most advanced society in the Marvel Universe.

Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Three 53When next Klaw does come to Wakanda (coincidentally when the FF have just arrived), T’Challa, as Black Panther, is ready and waiting for him and takes him down completely single-handedly.

Something interesting is going on with the character of Klaw, which is that we see him in this issue actually mid-origin. Right now we see him as a human, and watch him climb into his sound conversion machine.

Although it uses many of the rises and falls that have become common enough to be termed as an FF formula, it shakes it up enough to keep it fresh.

EVALUATION: 7/10Fantastic Four Issue Fifty-Three 53

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