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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The Sting Of The Serpent

Avengers #73Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencillers: Frank Giacoia & Herb Trimpe
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #73

Plot Summary

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.

Avengers

Black Panther
Goliath
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Sons of the Serpent