Review: Marvel’s Greatest Comics #39

Marvel's Greatest Comics #39 cover
Cover by Jim Starlin and Joe Sinnott

Marvel’s Greatest Comics #39
Published and © by Marvel, November 1972

Title: “The Black Panther!”
Synopsis: The Fantastic Four receives a high-tech invitation to Wakanda and end up taking part in a most dangerous game.

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Joe Sinnott

Review: It can be difficult to evaluate Black Panther’s 1966 first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 – reprinted here during the Bronze Age – from a 21st-century vantage point. His debut was part of the peak Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creative burst that introduced the Panther, as well as the Inhumans, Galactus and the Silver Surfer, and so much more. The story itself is not much more than a riff on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” but the introduction of a black hero who was rich, smart and powerful to the Marvel Universe was revolutionary. An important piece of pop culture.

Grade: A-

Cool factor: Debut of the Black Panther and the entire Wakanda corner of the Marvel Universe.

Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there are Mark Jewelers and National Diamond variants of this issue.

Character quotable: “ ’Twas I in invited you for the hunt! But, I neglected to tell you one thing… It is you who shall be hunted!” – Black Panther, king of Wakanda

Editor’s note: This review was written Nov. 7, 2022.

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