Throwback Thursday: Marvel’s Black Panther Issue 2 (1976)

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Black Panther Issue 2 begins with the strange big headed being that stepped through the doorway to time unleashing his powers on the Black Panther, Princess Zanda and her henchmen. The strange being uses powerful magnetic forces to throw his foes around the room and separate them from their weapons. Despite Princess Zanda’s commands to stop him and “earn your pay”, her henchmen are useless. While being tossed around with the beings telekinesis, he informs them that they’ve removed him from his hatch and that he must be returned. He reveals that he belongs to the Six Era of Men and cannot remain there. Princess Zanda realizes that she cannot stop this strange being and begs the Black Panther to stop him.

As we learned in Issue 1, the Panther has a code of morals that he holds himself to. Despite Princess Zanda’s plans to kill him earlier he cannot turn the other way when someone is in need of help.  So when Princess Zanda turns to him and says “He can disintegrate us. What can we do?”, Panther tells her to blank out her thoughts and think of nothing. He then drops to his hands and knees, and slowly moves towards the being who asks, “Why do you do thus?”. Realizing he has the beings full attention, the Black Panther informs him that where they are, they do push ups as a sign of friendship and servility. The strange being is impressed with the Panther and tells him that he’ll make a fine pet. “I’d be as pleased as punch”, the Panther says as he decks the strange being into unconsciousness. As Princess Zanda and the Panther stand over the man-like’s body, we get an even larger look into the Black Panther’s personal moral code. When Princess Zanda realizes they have a chance to eliminate their enemy, the Panther stops her. After all, the strange being didn’t come here by choice. It was Princess Zanda and her greed that brought him here, and in the Black Panther’s mind the only option is to send him back to where he came from. Princess Zanda isn’t at all impressed with the Panthers moral high ground. “You must be joking.”, she says as she reminds him that this being regards them both as nothing more than pet monkeys.

Still, the Panther wants to handle this as a “civilized human being” and quickly turns his attention back to the brass monkey and rifles through the rubble to find it. After he recovers it, he reveals more about his plans to not only find the twin to the brass monkey, but to return it to its rightful place in King Solomon’s tomb. Princess Zanda, however is still focused on getting rid of the strange being that tried to kill them just moments before. She asks how someone who bears his “dreaded image” can be so focused on not causing any destruction. The Panther is a proud, honorable man, however. He explains to the princess that the Panther Cult isn’t based on the destruction of life. He is a King’s son, raised in a noble tradition of scholars and builders. By this point he’s convinced the Princess of his intentions and she comes around. She reveals that she’d do much to gain him as an ally. The Panther isn’t interested though, he’s focused on his friend, Mister Little who’s laying on the ground lifeless….or so we thought. While standing over Mister Little, the Panther realizes that the bullet they thought killed him, simply knocked the wind out of him and that he’s wearing a bulletproof jacket.

While Mister Little gathers his bearings, a strange substance starts to fill the chamber they’re in. Princess Zanda and the Black Panther have never seen anything like this before, Mister Little, however, informs them that they’re surrounded by ectoplasm. He’s seen mediums use it before in seances. As the three observe their surroundings they realize that the ectoplasm is acting as a visual projector of sorts. What they see shocks them all. Its a planet that looks an awful lot like earth surrounding a sun. As the planet moves closer they realize there are no continents or bodies of water on the surface of the earth like planet, only giant discs. The Panther suddenly realizes what he’s seeing and reveals his theory that man has moved underground as they’re no longer able to sustain life on the surface. Each of those discs represents another “Hatch”. As they move even closer, they see the cover to each Hatch is numbered. They focus on a particular one labeled “Hatch 22”. Soon they put 2 + 2 together and realize they’re looking at the home of the strange being that just tried to kill them. It appears as though his home is under attack by something, but the strange being from the future then rises from the hatch and sets his killer beam on it. They soon begin to see the severity of their situation and understand that the being is, in Mister Little’s words, “more dangerous than a stock pile of hydrogen bombs.”

They then run back to the alien to make sure he’s still there, and he is. Unconscious. They recognize that they’ve all been whiteness to its dreams. Right then it starts to come to, but before he can cause anymore damage, Mister Little fires a tranquilizer into him that knocks him right back out. He informs the trio they have exactly 24 hours before it wears off. They have a problem though, how will they get to King Solomon’s tomb in just 24 hours? Mister Little, being an avid collector has a solution. He guides them to another room that contains a multi plane capable of supersonic speeds.  The plane should get them there in a snap…but does it? We’ll see next week.