Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencillers: Frank Giacoia & Herb Trimpe
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Art Simek
Featured Issue: Avengers #73
In a secret hall, speaking from a platform in the form of a viper, the Sons of the Serpent spout their venomous, hated soaked speech.
On the other side of the ocean Black Panther makes his way from his ancestral homeowners Wakanda to his newly adopted residence in New York. Little could he suspect that while he convinces himself that little is likely to have changed, a terrorist bomb is just then tearing its way through a New York high rise Containing an Equal Employment opportunity office . As firefighters and paramedics descend on the catastrophe, a strange serpent staff is found near the ruined building. Only one organization could be behind this attack and could have left that calling card. Then when a local African-American television host, Montague Hale demands the bombing be investigated as the terrorist act it most obviously is, Hale is attacked by the Sons of the Serpent. As a result of the ensuing controversy, Hale’s show is cancelled.
In the wake of his firing, Hale is invited as a guest on the Dan Dunn Show, a rival show hosted by the obviously bigoted Dan Dunn. The two men begin to exchange barbs, but Dunn quickly cuts off Hale in order to introduce Monica Lynne, an attractive young African-American singer. When her performance is done, Dunn invites the young woman to join the debate. Though she joins the pair, Lynne declines to participate in the conversation, much to Hale’s frustration and Dunn’s thinly veiled pleasure. After departing the studio, Hale attempts to convince Lynne to be more politically active and to fight discrimination though Lynne wants nothing to do with Hale’s cause. Little does Ms. Lynne know that the Sons of the Serpent already have their sights set on her.
In Avengers Mansion the heroes have assembled themselves to address the situation presented by the return of the Sons of the Serpent. Before they can truly get started though, Yellowjacket fills in Vision on the team’s previous encounter with the hate mongers. Following an attack on Pym’s assistant Bill Foster, Captain America was kidnapped by the Sons. The Avengers were told that if they wanted their teammate back they would need to publicly support the Sons. Initially Hank Pym agrees, but once he takes the stage Pym instead denounces the group. The Avengers are then confronted by an imposter Cap, while Hawkeye and Black Widow rescue the real Cap. In the end, the Supreme Serpent is unmasked as a foreign general trying to sow dissent. As the Avengers attempt to guess their foe’s next move, little could they foresee that it is already underway.
In a park near where she was dropped off by Montague Hale, Monica Lynne is attack’s by several men robed in the garb of the Sons of the Serpent. Just as her assailants prepare to murder Lynne in cold blood, they are thankfully interrupted by the timely intervention of Black Panther. Although he manages to draw their attention, Black Panther is unable to immediately defeat the Sons and is forced into a quick retreat. Before they have a chance to regroup however, Black Panther is once again on top of them. With the outcome now in doubt, the leader of the Sons, who has been watching remotely, chooses to kill his followers rather than let them be beaten by Black Panther. When the police finally arrive on scene it becomes clear that the attack was racially motivated and that the experience has shaken Ms. Lynne our of her political apathy.
Following the attack the Avengers tune in to the next episode of Dan Dunn’s show where Lynne and Hale have returned as guests. As Lynne explains her recent experience, Dunn is quick to dismiss the idea that race had anything to do with the attack, and once again tempers begin the flare. The situation at Avengers Mansion also heats up as the team decides that the time has come for their involvement. Unfortunately Black Panther disagrees, demanding to take on the Sons on his own. His teammates reluctantly agree, wondering aloud if one person, even one as capable as Black Panther, is up to the challenge.
After making contact with Monica Lynne to explain his mission, Black Panther begins to hunt the Sons of the Serpent. Finding several members out on a mission, Black Panther discreetly incapacitates one of the men and quietly takes his place. As the men return from the mission they are confronted by a sentry demanding they recite the Serpent’s Oath. While his would be comrades are well versed in this passcode, Black Panther is unable to finish the oath when it comes his turn and he is quickly revealed and captured by the Sons of the Serpent. As his voice booms out over the intercom, theSupreme Serpent makes it clear that the whole situation was a setup in order to obtain the last, key piece that will make their plan successful, Black Panther himself.
Sons of the Serpent