Issue(s): Avengers #52
Jasper Sitwell walks in on the scene and assumes that the Panther is responsible, and has him arrested.
It turns out that the Avengers were only put in a death-like stasis by the Grim Reaper, who is out for revenge for his brother, Wonder Man, and the Panther helps them revive and defeat him.
The Reaper wears the most garish costume imaginable: green and purple and blue and orange.
Throughout this issue the Black Panther is referred to as just "Panther", and his face mask is half open; i suspect this is so that we can see that he is black.
As Shar notes, cameo by an out of costume Black Widow...
...and also brief scenes of the Big Three inactive Avengers reacting to the "death" of the current team.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hearing about their death, Tony Stark thinks to himself that he just saw the Avengers "only days ago" and decides to investigate after he finishes working on his test robot. Captain America just returned from battling the Sleeper. Thor is just hanging out, reading a newspaper. None are seen again this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Triple Action #44
Inbound References (5): showBlack Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, Grim Reaper, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Jasper Sitwell, Thor, Wasp
I don't think the Grim Reaper ever wears this costume again.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 5:00 PM
Natasha appears in this issue, too (she'd given up her costumed Widow identity in #45 but resumes it in #57).
Posted by: Shar | November 19, 2012 9:57 PM
Added her as character appearing (and added a few more scans to this post as well). Thanks!
Posted by: fnord12 | November 19, 2012 11:11 PM
This might be the oldest issue I still have, in Marvel Treasury Edition #7, an Avengers collection in large format that I couldn't bear to give up because of childhood memories.
I always thought the Black Panther was immediately the coolest character in the room, no matter who else was around.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 22, 2015 12:23 PM
Thomas's attempt to change the Panther's name and costume at this time seem like well-intentioned reactions to his race. First changing his name, to combat Kirby's weird habit of putting "Black" in the name of every black character, and secondly exposing the lower half of his face so it didn't seem like they were trying to hide his race. But in the letter columns Thomas said he wanted to change the name only because there were already two Avenger reservists with "Black" in their names (the Black Widow and the Black Knight), and the change to his mask was only so readers could see his expressions. Either way, he was less cool with those changes, so they didn't last long.
Posted by: Andrew | February 8, 2015 12:55 PM
In fairly typical Thomas fashion, the title somewhat awkwardly alludes to Willa Cather's 1927 novel "Death Comes for the Archbishop."
Thomas says in MMW Avengers 6 that Stan decreed the temporary change to the Panther's mask to show he was black.
I definitely prefer Colletta's inking of Buscema's outstanding work here to George Tuska's more cartoonish work in several issues from around this time. Best of all was Buscema inking his own work, as in 49-50, but he apparently found it took too much time to be worth it financially.
Posted by: Instantiation | January 20, 2016 10:49 PM
Ok how is it that a fantastic character like Eric Williams aka Grim Reaper and his association with IMHO one of the top 3 Super-Villian groups AKA "LETHAL LEGION", (Let alone the prospective tie in to his brother Wonder Man) is not being utilized in Modern day Marvel offerings is beyond my comprehension!
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | April 5, 2016 1:44 PM
Eoxknrollguitarplayer: He's been around recently. In Uncanny Avengers, he was one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen.
Posted by: mikrolik | April 5, 2016 2:00 PM
I liked this one too as it drew from the original Classic Wonderman story in #9. I agree that the costume was ridiculous and was glad when the black one with the skull and crossbones on it appeared.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 13, 2016 9:59 PM
This lineup may be the nadir of the Avengers' power: the Wasp is still being written as only nominally useful in a battle, and Goliath/Giant-Man is the closest thing to a powerhouse the team has.
The Grim Reaper's scythe displays a strange power here: by waving it around the room, he's somehow able to restore all the damage done to the Avengers' HQ when he battled them.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 28, 2016 11:46 AM
49's end is the absolute low point with Hank lising his growth powers. They're restored in 50 and T'Challa in 52 may not be a powerhouse but adds skills and tech knowhow. Note that fnord rightly criticizes the neglect of Wakanda as high tech in later Panther stories but he at least is shown to provide the quinjets. Also, in 61, he can summon one by remote control. So it's not completely neglected.
Posted by: Ubersicht | December 28, 2016 11:54 AM
I didn't count #49 on the grounds that Hercules is still considered a member here, even if he's not on the same mission as the rest of the roster. Since he officially leaves in #50, when Hank regains his growth powers, perhaps that issue is the true nadir?
Though one could (cheekily) argue that this issue still wins, since we get all three(!) active members in comas and the Panther not yet added to the roster for a few pages here.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 28, 2016 12:20 PM
Oops. I think we're both a bit off. Hercules keaves at the end of 50 and in the closing, Hank has list his ability to grow, though he could shrink. It's 51 where his growing ability is restored, in battle with the Collector where the big three also appear.
Posted by: Ubersicht | December 28, 2016 12:47 PM
Second time I've hit "i" instead of "o" for "losing" and "lost". I need to watch that.
Posted by: Ubersicht | December 28, 2016 12:49 PM
The Grim Reaper wreaks of certainty and a confidence that suggests the rest of humanity is in a life struggle while he remains invincible in his hobby of dominion over mankind and their hero’s.
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | May 11, 2018 10:49 PM
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