Pursue The Panther

Avengers #74

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #74

Plot Summary

Staring intently at the TV, the Avengers cannot believe what they are hearing. The news announcer informs the audience that the Black Panther has turned to a life of crime and the Avengers take it upon themselves to capture him, less they also be considered criminals. So far his criminal acts to date have all been directed towards those suspected of supporting the Sons of the Serpent. The news anchor states that this must imply Black Panther is African-American and that he is leading a new form of militant. The Avengers contest this assessment as it goes against the character of the man they know, but again the news shows Black Panther actively involved in crimes and fighting back against the police. Concluding the broadcast is a recently received tape from the Supreme Serpent. The villainous leader slanders the Avengers before declaring that the Sons will unmask Black Panther within a few short hours.

In the bowels of the Sons’ submarine Black Panther is forced to watch the broadcast, driving him to further frustration. The Panther is disgusted by the idea of being used to incite civil unrest or even a civil war and declares his intention to obtain his freedom. Adding insult to injury, the news report is followed up by a new episode of the Dan Dunn Show. Dunn immediately begins to provoke Hale by demanding to know what he will do when Black Panther is unmasked to be an African-American. Although Monica Lynne tries to argue that these are the actions of a single man, Dunn vehemently insists that it is a referendum on the cause of all African-Americans. Further, Dunn manages to maneuver Hale into a position that he knows will compromise Hale. Dunn finally provokes Hale to the point where he physically attacks Dunn. Even within the television station’s control room racial tensions are already beginning to flare to a dangerous point. As Black Panther watches, he correctly judges the basics of the Sons’ plan and the precarious position he finds himself in. The Supreme Serpent informs him that soon he will be used to ignite the national powder keg.

The Avengers have taken to the streets in an attempt to hunt down their wayward teammate, dividing in order to cover more ground with their limited time. Vision pass through the ground in order to walk through the sewers while Yellowjacket is swarmed by autograph seeking teens. In order to get back to his work, Yellowjacket is forced to shrink so that he can make his escape. Goliath has a less pleasant experience as he is mocked up passers-by and confronted by a police officer directing traffic. Only Wasp is successful in her mission to find Black Panther, discovering him while robs a jewelry store and assaults the salesman. Wasp takes a moment to inform the rest of the Avengers and then confronts her wayward teammate. As she fights with him, Wasp begins to suspect that this Black Panther is not the real one. Soon she is joined by Goliath who climbs the side of the building in order to reach the scene faster. Although Black Panther manages to avoid Goliath, he encounters the remaining Avengers on the roof and is saved only by the timely arrival of an escape vehicle. On their way out, the aircraft blasts Goliath with gas grenades causing him to fall off the roof, taking large parts of the building with him. Goliath is saved by Vision’s quick thinking and mass shifting.

Back at Avengers Mansion, the team is visited by Monica Lynne. Ms. Lynne arrives just as the Supreme Serpent begins his speech and informs the Avengers about her encounter with Black Panther. The team determines that they have mere minutes to prevent the Supreme Serpent from unmasking Black Panther and starting a national race war. They are able to make it to the abandoned television station just as the Supreme Serpent is finishing his speech. Fighting off several guards, the Avengers and Ms. Lynne make their way into the studio in time to see an imposter Black Panther unmasked. Vision is able to locate the real Black Panther and free him in time to further unmask the imposter as a white man wearing a mask. In the chaos that ensues, the Avengers gain the upper hand and unmask the Supreme Serpent and his lieutenant as none other than Dan Dunn and Montague Hale. The pair admit that they had no other motivation than obtaining power for themselves at any price. As the dust clear on the scene Monica Lynne decides that she will abandon her singing career for one as a leader in the civil rights movement.

Avengers

Black Panther
Goliath
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Sons of the Serpent

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Did You Hear The One About Scorpio

Avengers #72

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #72

Plot Summary

As Captain America makes his way across the roof of Avengers Mansion, he collides with another man running along the roof. To Cap’s surprise, it’s his former sidekick, Rick Jones. While Rick is initially terse with Cap, things calm when Cap explains that the “Cap” who recently treated Rick poorly was in fact Red Skull in disguise. Reunited, the pair enter the mansion so that they may attend a meeting, called at Cap’s behest.

Encountering the other Avengers, Cap and his teammates gather around their meeting table as Cap calls the meeting to order. Noting their missing members and their reasons for not being present, Cap goes on to say that several top New York City officials have gone missing. Not only that, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten involved and will provide the Avengers with a briefing. Almost on cue, and interrupting Vision, the video transceiver alerts the Avengers to an incoming message from Dum Dum Dugan, the right hand man of Director Nick Fury. Dugan informs the heroes that the city officials have been abducted by a man named Scorpio. Fighting off tears, Dugan further tells the Avengers that he is making the call because Nick Fury has been murdered by Bulls-eye while attending a concert.

Shocked by the news, the Avengers attempt to regain control of the situation but are interrupted by Rick Jones. As he explains, he was on Nick Fury’s roof, looking to discuss with the spymaster the potential of becoming his sidekick. When Rick made his way inside through an open window, he encounters Scorpio. The surprised villain unleashes an energy blast on Rick. Unbeknownst to Scorpio, and the Avengers for that matter, Rick has become connected to the Kree hero Captain Marvel. As he struggles to get up, Marvel convinces Rick to give him a chance at Scorpio. By slamming together two golden bands on his wrists, Rick switches atoms with Captain Marvel, releasing the hero from the Negative Zone and sending Rick in his place. Captain Marvel quickly pursues Scorpio and even manages to get the upper hand for a moment. But when Scorpio turns on Captain Marvel and releases another blast from the Key to the Zodiac, Marvel is laid low.

As Rick finishes his story, of course leaving out his personal connection to Captain Marvel, he presents the Avengers with a list of three city officials that was dropped by Scorpio. The Avengers are shocked to discover that the list matches exactly. Just as Cap is about to press for more answers from Rick, he is cutoff by a voice coming from the display screen. Suddenly the faces of the three missing men appear on the screen. Almost as unannounced, the faces begin to dissolve into a single face, that of Scorpio. Without warning and on Scoprio’s command, the Avengers’ view screen explodes in a massive fireball, an impressive attempt to rid the world of the heroes.

When the Avengers awaken, they find themselves imprisoned by Scorpio, unable to move or speak. As Scorpio gloats over his prisoners, he reveals his co-conspirators, the criminal cartel Zodiac. It becomes clear that Scorpio has undertaken all his actions in order to be welcomed back into Zodiac. While Scorpio is distracted, Yellowjacket uses his control over ants to free the Avengers, send the insects into the controls for the device holding the Avengers captive.

As the Avengers take on the various members of Zodiac, they are stunned to find that Scorpio is none other than Nick Fury. Although they have tons of questions, they must first deal with the threat at hand. Meanwhile, Rick and Captain Marvel discuss the what must be done and they agree that Rick must do what he feels is best.

The Avengers and Fury make quick work of the Zodiac, until Ares inflicts the Key to the Zodiac on the heroes, With the plan rapidly unraveling, the members of Zodiac flee, covering their escape route with an impenetrable substance to prevent the Avengers from pursuit. With the situation under control, Nick Fury explains that he impersonated Scorpio in order to flush out Zodiac. What he tells the assembled heroes is that, much to his surprise and shame, the real Scorpio was in fact Fury’s own brother.

Avengers

Captain America
Goliath
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Scorpio
Zodiac