- Do not seek to do all my fighting for me. Some things after all are best left to... The Black Leopard!
Appearing in "Three Stood Together!"Edit
- Fantastic Four
- Jeth Robards
- Nathan Kumalo
- A.U.N.T.I.E. (Automatic-Neuro-Robot in charge of Tidying-Up with Increased Efficiency) (First appearance)
- T'Chaka (Mentioned)
- Aunt Petunia (Mentioned)
- Ka-Zar (Mentioned)
- Daredevil (Mentioned)
- Mole Man (Mentioned)
- Tyrannus (Mentioned)
- United States of America
- Sonic Disruptor
Synopsis for "Three Stood Together!"Edit
After breaking up a squabble between Ben and Johnny, the FF are contacted by Taku, the Black Panther's aide, who has called to request the Fantastic Four's aid in recovering the Vibrotron, a device that can augment the power of Vibranium. He explains that two men named Jeth Robards and Nathan Kamalu had crash landed in Wakanda and were taken in. They repaid this kindness by stealing the Vibrotron and absconding to the neighboring nation of Rudyarda, known for its apartheid regime that sees segregation between Caucasians and the native African population. Taku goes on to explain that T'Challa went into Rudyarda incognito to try and find the thieves and prevent them from selling off the device but has not been heard from since.
Agreeing to assist the Wakandans by finding their leader and recovering the Vibrotron, Reed sends Ben and Johnny to investigate. Unknown to them, the purpose Reed and Sue aren't going is because Reed is secretly trying to develop a means for Crystal to be able to live outside of the Inhumans' great refuge.
Soon Ben and Johnny are on a flight to Rudyarda. It is a peaceful flight until one of the passengers tries to hijack the plane and divert it to Cuba. But the hijackers did not anticipate that two members of the Fantastic Four would be on board. Johnny melts the gun in the hijacker's hands. When the goon tries to use a grenade, Ben snatches it and contains the blast within his own hands. They then restrain the attacker for the rest of the flight.
When Johnny and Ben finally land, everything seems normal until they see the segregation of races at the customs screening area, angering both of them. After struggling to get a cab, the pair drive to the address for Nathan Kamalu. It leads them to a local slum where the black population has been interned. There they force their way into Kamalu's apartment and learn that he was betrayed by Jeth Robards. He tells them that he doesn't know who hired them, but Robards is going to make the sale at the local metal works. When they ask about T'Challa, they learn that he was arrested and is in the local prison. Before Ben and Johnny can leave, Kamalu attempts to shoot them with a gun, but Ben manages to blow him over with a sneeze.
That evening, as T'Challa waits in his cell, Ben and Johnny attack the prison. They quickly blast through the guards and free their friend. When T'Challa leaps into action, he calls himself the Black Leopard. While they are recovering T'Challa's costume, the Thing asks him why he has changed his name from the Black Panther to the Black Leopard. T'Challa expains that he decided to change his name, so he would not be associated with organizations in the United States tied to the name. As they leave the prison, they learn that T'Challa was arrested while incognito for not having the appropriate ID that all the blacks in Rudyarda are required to carry at all times.
When they arrive at the metal works, they are disgusted to see that, even here, there are separate doors for different races. After sneaking in, they catch Robards. They quickly snatch him up and recover the Vibrotron. Just then, Robards' employer arrives, and it turns out to be their old foe Klaw. As a fight breaks out between the three heroes and Klaw, Robards tries to escape with the Vibrotron. Seeing this, Klaw blasts the ship, destroying it and slaying Robards. Ultimately, the battle is ended when the Thing grabs hold of Klaw's sonic blaster and crushes it.
The authorities quickly arrive and arrest Klaw. With Robards dead and the Vibrotron destroyed, their mission is completed. The authorities are reluctant to thank the Black Leopard for assisting them and remind them that blacks have a curfew. Taking this in stride, the three heroes depart, but, before they go, the Thing smashes through the segregated doors before leaving.
- The nation of Rudyarda is a fictional an analogue for South Africa. From 1948 to 1994, South Africa was racially segregated. In 1970 South Africa had revoked the citizenship of its black population and forced racial segregation.
- Reed Richards is developing a means for the Inhumans to breath the polluted air outside of the Great Refuge. It was revealed in Fantastic Four #105 that they had developed a weakness to pollution. Reed Richards finally finished developing this drug by Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol 2 #6.
- The plane highjacking is another topical reference relative to the time this story was published. Plane hijackers seeking to divert flights to Cuba were at their peak between the years 1968 and 1972.
- The Black Panther/Leopard last appeared in Astonishing Tales #6-7 when he defended Wakanda from an attack by Doctor Doom. He next appears in Avengers #126 wherein he has a rematch with Klaw and leaves the team.
- The Black Panther changes his name to the Black Leopard to distance himself from groups operating in the United States. This is a topcial reference referring to the Black Panthers a black nationalist organization that was in operation in the United States from 1966 to 1982. The organization was at its peak in the early 1970s. Particularly at the time of this publication, members of the Black Panthers were in clashes with other organizations, in fighting among themselves, and clashes with the authorities. References to the Black Panthers organization should be considered a topical reference. T'Challa's use of the Black Leopard title proved short lived as he was calling himself the Black Panther again in Avengers #126.
- Klaw appeared last in Avengers #83 where he and the Masters of Evil battled the Avengers and the Lady Liberators. He appears again in Avengers #126 where he has a rematch with the Avengers and Black Panther.
- This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Charles Schwartz, Douglas Jones, Lester G. Boutillier, and Kevin Greer.
- This issue is Story#783-Z.
- Torch and the Thing battle alongside the mysterious Black Panther - for a secret that may destroy the world! Plus a mystery super-villain!
- No trivia.
Links and ReferencesEdit
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