THE AVENGERS #78-79 (1970): 1st Lethal Legion

Lots of Black Panther in these issues!  Well, it turns out that the Man-Ape wasn’t really dead (surprise!), and he’s returned as part of the Lethal Legion.

And of course if there’s Black Panther then there has to be some kind of racial/civil rights angle.  Because a black man can’t just be a king and a superhero.  Anyway, there’s this weird exchange with his girlfriend Monica Lynne, which seems to come dangerously close to alluding to the Black Panther movement-all whites/society wants to make black people slaves again.  Panther defends his teammates.

Lots of Panther melodrama, but to be fair he didn’t have a solo book where this could be developed.

Anyway, Man-Ape and friends kick the asses of Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Panther (all in one-on-one fights), but only one dude ends up in chains.  Guess who?  The black man!

I don’t want to be too down on this, though, because Grim Reaper is a cool super-villain-team leader, and this is the issue where we learn that Simon Williams was the source of Vision’s brain pattern.  That makes Reaper feel like he’s Vision’s brother.

Also: Weird power set alert!

Apparently, Vision can “phase in” to a person’s body, controlling how they act.  I don’t think this was ever used again.

Creators: Roy Thomas, Sal (#78) and John (#79) Buscema
First appearance: The Lethal Legion

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

Related Posts

About The Author