Review: Marvel’s Greatest Comics #40

Marvel's Greatest Comics #40 cover
Cover by Sal Buscema

Marvel’s Greatest Comics #40
Published and © by Marvel, January 1973

Title: “The Way It Began ..!”
Synopsis: The Fantastic Four joins the Black Panther in a battle to repel an invasion of Wakanda by Klaw.

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

Review: This reprint of the second half of Black Panther’s debut is stronger than the first (see review of Marvel’s Greatest Comics #39), with solid world-building and the addition of an external threat in Klaw. Writer Stan Lee smartly uses dialogue to point directly at this story’s debt to the many jungle tales that preceded it – and how it differs. While there are definitely some tribal tropes here, Black Panther stands apart with his mix of smarts, power and affluence. It’s already clear that the Panther is an important new hero, and that Wakanda offers fertile new real estate for storytelling.

Grade: A-

Cool factor: Wakanda. Vibranium. Klaw. So much of the Black Panther mythos is present from the get go.

Notable: Reprinted from 1966’s Fantastic Four #53.

Character quotable: “May your eternal sleep be a peaceful one, T’Chaka, my father!! This day you have been avenged!” – T’Challa, latest in a line of Black Panthers

Editor’s note: This review was written Nov. 9, 2022.

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