David Baldeón looks back at the introduction of the FF’s greatest foe!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Sometimes a comic comes along and changes everything for a reader. For SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE artist David Baldeón, it turned out to be FANTASTIC FOUR #5. As he explained in yesterday’s Kirby 100 installment, seeing the King’s work in that classic 1962 issue in a Spanish reprint completely changed how he looked at comics. He left behind other books and fully focused on Kirby!

Looking back at this issue, it’s no wonder that it so completely captured the future artist’s imagination. Not only does this installment introduce the world to none other than Doctor Doom, but it also features kidnapping, villainous origins, time travel, and the male members of the FF playing pirate!

“I’m not sure I took it all in,” Baldeón recalls. “Not in the first read, at least. It was all image after image after image. The nets, Blackbeard Thing, the sequence of Thing putting on his pirate disguise—I had never seen something like that. Mr. Fantastic stretching from boat to boat! That panel alone broke all the ideas I had in my head about comics. And Doom’s story! It was just too much. But I do remember the feel of ‘there’s so much more.’ There [are] other stories behind and around this thing I’m reading, it’s all part of something bigger, and not knowing exactly what was exciting and enticing.”

To get into a little more detail, the issue kicked off with this new villain, Doom, vowing to defeat the Fantastic Four. Back in their building, Johnny and Ben get into a fight over the Torch’s Hulk comic book before Reed and Sue break it up. They really stopped, though, when Doom surrounded their building with electrified cables and asked for Sue to come up, followed soon by the others.

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“I think this probably was the first time I saw Doctor Doom,” Baldeón remembers. “I had already read quite a few Marvel comics, but mostly Spider-Man. And of course, I didn’t have the slightest idea of who he was and what he meant! I did know, though, that that was not your average, run-of-the-mill villain. That design!”

Doom showed his true evil by bringing the team back to his castle and then demanding Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and Human Torch go back in time to steal Blackbeard’s treasure and return with it. Thrust into the past, Thing donned Blackbeard’s togs while Reed and Johnny dressed as standard pirates and they got the job done. Though Doom clearly became the most memorable part of this story, Blackbeard Thing has also taken on a life of its own.

“Honestly, I think it was just Kirby’s magic,” says Baldeón. “The Thing as Blackbeard is just one of those ideas that just cannot work or make any kind of sense, unless you’re Kirby and do it effortlessly, with just the right amount of epic and comedy and power and pure raw energy to make it not only possible, but iconic.”

Upon the team’s return, Doom turned out to be a robot, setting the stage for a recurring twist still used to this day. The real Doom then began to suck all the oxygen from the room, but Sue saved the day by rescuing her teammates. In the end, they escaped with their lives, but didn’t get their hands on the villain who would become nearly synonymous with the team itself!

“Looking back at it now, it’s just incredible that there’s so much information and so many concepts seamlessly contained in just one issue,” Baldeón concludes. “It has not lost one ounce of power, and it still works like clockwork. It is strange to think of ‘clockwork’ when talking about such an apparently raw, untamed sci-fi/fantasy story. But still, there it is. The pacing, the comedy. You can see why it is a classic. I go back to it and completely understand why it made such an impact.”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Writer Robbie Thompson RSVPs for the social event of the Silver Age!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Over the course of these Kirby 100 posts, we’ve made numerous references to Jack Kirby as co-architect of the Marvel Universe. These days the idea of a shared super hero universe in comics seems about as commonplace as the idea of heroes fighting villains, but that concept didn’t just sprout up out of nowhere. For years, issues would come out month after month with very little continuity between installments or references to other characters from the same publisher.

However, when Stan Lee and Jack started working together on titles like FANTASTIC FOUR, THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN and others, they didn’t just build off and reference previous stories, but also feature other heroes from even more books like Daredevil and Spider-Man. Readers of those early Marvel comics really got the sense that all of these characters lived in the same world, especially since many of them took place in New York City.

Kirby and Lee topped even themselves, though, with the publication of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, which featured the highly anticipated wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Considering the profile of this couple, it’s easy to understand how it would take on legendary status for FF fans who came along at any time, like SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL writer Robbie Thompson who hopped on a few hundred issues later.

“I started reading FANTASTIC FOUR with issue #243, so I knew the Richards were married, but I was always curious to see the big day, and Kirby and Lee totally delivered on an epic Annual that brought the whole Marvel Universe together,” Thompson relays. “It exceeded my expectations and remains my favorite Marvel wedding.”

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

  • Published: October 01, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Everyone showed up from Millie the Model to the X-Men—and those were the actual guests! Doctor Doom fueled by his hated for Richards, decided to send an army of super villains to destroy the festivities, but thanks to the assembled heroes and an appearance by The Watcher, Reed and Sue made it to the alter and exchanged I dos.

“From a practical standpoint, I think it was a great way to show the cohesiveness of the Marvel Universe and illustrate how big and connected [it] was becoming,” Thompson notes. “But from a personal standpoint, it also illuminates the key to why these characters work so well: the ‘event’ is personal. The biggest day of their lives isn’t getting their powers or another invention, or even Doom trying to spoil the whole thing; the ‘event’ is their greatest adventure yet: marriage. Seeing the hope and [positivity] in all the characters coming together to unite for Reed and Sue on a personal level is such a signature part of that book’s success and it’s executed perfectly in this Annual.”

Unfortunately, two well-intentioned attendees got turned away at the door by Nick Fury, Dum Dum Duggan, and Gabe Jones. The pair? None other than Stan and Jack themselves! Of course, that adds to the issue’s charm as the two men head off to work on the next installment! It helps that Kirby got to draw so many amazing characters in one issue while also throwing in some of his classic tech and even a collage!

“I’d rate it pretty high on the Kirby Canon, it really does have it all—and you can see Kirby pushing the form of comic storytelling in each panel, adding to the grammar of sequential storytelling and bringing each character to life in such an elegant way,” Thompson concludes.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Two of the Fantastic Four tie the knot, Hulk fights Thor, plus more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Even a casual Marvel reader in 1965 might’ve believed that Jack Kirby worked on every single issue of every single title the House of Ideas published that year. The truth of it stands as something less than that, but Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee knew a good thing and ensured Jack’s presence across the line in varied ways, and with a concentration where the Kirby touch would bring comic book gold.

First and foremost, Lee and Kirby’s flagship book remained Jack’s true focus at the midpoint of the 1960s. In FANTASTIC FOUR #32, after a battle with the strange android Dragon Man, Reed Richards received the answer he’d hoped for from his marriage proposal to Sue Storm, setting up one of the true monumental moments in comic history: the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 that summer.

Not to rest on their laurels, Stan and Jack also introduced the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #36, brought Daredevil in for a guest-spot in FANTASTIC FOUR #39, and following Gorgon’s introduction in FANTASTIC FOUR #44, unveiled their next big idea, the incredible Inhumans, in FANTASTIC FOUR #45 to round out the year.

Over in Thor’s universe, Jack illustrated one of the greatest clashes of comics, the Thor-Hulk match fans clamored for, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112, as well as designing a villain for the ages, Absorbing Man, for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114. In addition, Jack’s images of the robotic Destroyer impressed fans in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, but perhaps the real stand-out moment of the year in Thor’s world came in the introduction of Greek demi-god Hercules into the ongoing drama in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ANNUAL #1.

Jack’s penciling duties for 1965 also extended into Captain America’s solo series in TALES OF SUSPENSE. For the first part of the year he produced covers and simple layouts for others to follow, but for his and Stan’s powerful team-up between Cap and Nick Fury in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, he provided full interior art. From there, the duo planted dynamite under Cap’s world with the return of The Red Skull in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, and the amazing Cosmic Cube saga beginning in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Speaking of Nick Fury, Jack’s visions of technological wonders expanded exponentially when he and Stan promoted the sergeant into their newest concept, S.H.I.E.L.D., in the landmark STRANGE TALES #135. For the next several issues of the mag, Jack would do layouts and covers, helping guide his former World War II star into the Swingin’ Sixties.

Jack relinquished penciling chores on AVENGERS in 1965, but also helped out with layouts and covers, same as with SGT. FURY and TALES TO ASTONISH. Over in UNCANNY X-MEN he worked to illustrate the memorable meeting of the young mutants and the Avengers to fruition in X-MEN #9, and introduce the savage Ka-Zar in X-MEN #10.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Jack Kirby and Stan Lee create a world-shaking foe and unlikely new ally!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

No one came up with better, more long-lasting villains than Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Their FANTASTIC FOUR run alone brought some of the Marvel Universe’s biggest baddies into existence—ranging from Monstro and the Skrulls to Doctor Doom and Galactus!

“If anyone is going to surpass ‘The King’ as far as creating characters, he or she hasn’t been born yet,” notes MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR writer Brandon Montclare. “Or at least hasn’t started their careers, as no working creator can extrapolate that kind of output!”

For Montclare, the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus, holds a great deal of significance, thanks in part to the difficulty he had getting his hands on the story that ran in FANTASTIC FOUR #4850 from 1966.

“FANTASTIC FOUR #48 was mythic before I ever got to read it,” Montclare describes. “Silver Surfer was my favorite character growing up. Even before I read those [issues of] FANTASTIC FOUR, he had a mystique of being a different and special character. The cosmic force Galactus was equally so! I’m envious of older fans who experienced that on the newsstand. But I couldn’t afford a FANTASTIC FOUR #48! And I recall there actually being FANTASY MASTERPIECES reprints only of the John Buscema stuff, but even those were older and hard to find!”

The first issue in the trilogy tied up an Inhumans thread running in a prior storyline. The Watcher then appeared to warn Reed Richards and his team of an upcoming threat posed, first by the mysterious Silver Surfer, and then by Galactus himself!

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

Fantastic Four (1961) #48

  • Published: March 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Face-to-face with the world-eater, the quartet jumped into the fight, though as Ben Grimm described their initial futile efforts in issue #49, “He didn’t even feel it!” But thanks to the group’s persistence—as well as a change in allegiance by the Silver Surfer and the looming threat of the Ultimate Nullifier—Galactus decided the planet not worth his trouble and left, exiling Norrin Radd to Earth in the process.

“Reading all of the Stan and Jack FANTASTIC FOUR comics, when I finally got around to it, was an eye-opener,” Montclare recalls. “I don’t think anyone has come close to doing what they did on FANTASTIC FOUR. I think there’s indeed a ton of great Fantastic Four comics, but they were squarely super hero and very ‘Marvel Universe’ by the time I knew them. The early Fantastic Four, despite the crossovers and recurring characters, always feels like an exploration story.”

FANTASTIC FOUR #48-50 served to continue the establishment of the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. While readers had already met the Skrulls, the alien race made another appearance in this tale, doing their best to avoid a visit from Galactus. Future writers would take inspiration from these early galactic insights to help build what now stands as an all-important aspect of the universe.

“I love Marvel Cosmic,” Montclare explains, “As a kid, I started in a decade past [writer and artist] Jim Starlin, so two decades past Kirby. But seeing those stories, you really can feel that the whole cosmic branch of Marvel started in that book—and really just with Jack’s visuals. From the outlandish designs to posed grandeur to even the classic Kirby Krackle.”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Ben Grimm struggles with his role in this Lee-Kirby classic!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ” King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Jack Kirby worked nonstop on FANTASTIC FOUR from its launch in 1961 all the way through 1970’s #102. During that time, he and Stan Lee created some of the most memorable characters in the Marvel Universe, ranging from the First Family of Comics themselves to Galactus, Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, and beyond!

One of the most beloved stories in that run came right in the middle with FANTASTIC FOUR #51, a tale known as “This Man… This Monster.” And that particular issue happens to be a favorite of HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. artist Brent Schoonover—so we sat down to discuss it with him!

“I was lucky to get a pretty beat up copy [of FANTASTIC FOUR #51] for cheap at a comic convention when I was a kid,” he explains. “I was all about getting old comics as cheap as I could on my allowance growing up. That is one of the most iconic stories of all time.”

The tale takes place in the immediate aftermath of the team learning about the Inhumans and then facing off against Galactus. The June 1966 issue kicks off with a striking cover of Sue Storm pleading for help from Ben Grimm as Reed Richards looks trapped in a force field. And—unlike the usual gung-ho hero we’ve all come to know and love—The Thing simply looks down at his hands, seemingly unsure of himself.

“You open it up to this amazing image of Ben Grimm standing in the rain and it just hits you that, while everyone in the FF really seems to love their powers, Ben is the only one who truly came away worse than when he went in on that space shuttle launch,” Schoonover says. “He could have become one of Marvel’s best bad guys, but he always did the right thing.”

Fantastic Four (1961) #51

Fantastic Four (1961) #51

  • Published: June 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Ben’s first words in the issue come on the next page, in the form of a thought balloon, reading, “I’ll never be human again! I’ll live—and die—just the way I am!” Moments later, a stranger offers him shelter from the storm—and Ben agrees. No simple good Samaritan, this particular person turns out to be a Reed Richards-hating mad scientist who drugs Grimm’s coffee and uses a device to steal his rocky features, leaving Ben in his helpless human form!

A few days later, this impostor tests out his new look by walking right into the Baxter Building and gaining access to one of Reed’s labs. Not long after, the actual Ben barges in, but gets dismissed by Reed and Sue, who refuse to believe he’s actually who he claims to be!

This leaves Reed ready to try his latest experiment, which required Ben’s superhuman strength. In exploration of a way to move faster than the Space-Time Barrier—like The Watcher, Galactus and The Silver Surfer—Reed requires the Thing’s might to keep him tethered to his machine and, if necessary, pull him back if he hits any snags.

Upon arriving at what he first called “the Crossroads of Infinity,” Richards experiences something no one had ever seen before. Here, readers thrilled to one of Kirby’s brilliant collage pieces. “It’s just a wonderful example of how Kirby could take such a human story and add a mighty visual hook to it to keep the reader entertained,” crows Schoonover.

Reed pulls on his tether for help, but the impostor Thing doesn’t respond—until realizing that he’d become more like the hero he’d replaced than he ever intended. Though too late to easily pull Mr. Fantastic back, he grabs another piece of the chord and, rather than saving Reed, finds himself being pulled into the Negative Zone. Though crashing towards utter destruction, Reed tells the fake Ben Grimm that he remains one of the best men he’d ever known and, despite all odds, the fill-in Thing decides to perform a last heroic deed and manages to throw Richards back to safety.

Back on Earth, the real Ben Grimm makes his way to see Alicia Masters, though the scientist’s death in the Negative Zone reinstates the Thing’s original rocky form. Ben Grimm, his super-self once again, returns to the Baxter Building and gets the full story from Reed and Sue.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100!

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Look back at some classic adventures set in the Land of the Rising Sun!

CABLE #2—due out June 28—finds our hero traveling back in time to feudal Japan in pursuit of a mysterious adversary! Marvel heroes have a long history of traveling to Asia’s island nation, so take a look back at five other stories set in the land of the rising sun.

Wolverine (1982) #1

Wolverine (1982) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
WOLVERINE
Wolverine stories could easily dominate any list of the best comics set in Japan, so let’s start with the “best there is”—the original WOLVERINE #1-4, by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. One of Marvel’s first limited series redefined the character as he traveled to Japan to find his long-lost love, Mariko Yashida. Shingen, her crimelord father, forced her to marry one of his stooges, which did not set well with Logan. Miller and colorist Glynis Oliver provide ninja fights amidst the neon lights of Tokyo, making this not only the must-read Wolverine tale, but also one of the quintessential works within comics as a whole.

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan (2005) #1

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan (2005) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
FANTASTIC FOUR & IRON MAN
While action and drama typically drive Wolverine’s journeys to Japan, “fun” fueled this comic by Zeb Wells and the late Seth Fisher.  The Fantastic Four head abroad for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tokyo’s new Giant Monster Museum and Expo Center, when—you guessed it—giant monsters attack. Luckily Iron Man also had business in the area and joined the fray. Fisher created each monster as a dedicated work of art for an insanely delightful story that never lets up.

Big Hero 6 (2008) #1

Big Hero 6 (2008) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
BIG HERO SIX
Before jumping to the big screen, Hiro, Baymax and the rest of the team starred in two different series: one by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vasquez in 1998, and another by Chris Claremont and David Nakayama in 2008. When the Japanese government decides they need their own team of heroes, they recruit Silver Samurai, Honey Lemon, and the rest of the crew, who battle the likes of Everwraith and Yandroth.

5 Ronin (2010) #1

5 Ronin (2010) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
5 RONIN
The 2011 series 5 RONIN recast Hulk, Wolverine, Deadpool, Punisher, and Psylocke as master-less samurai living in 17th century Japan. Featuring the work of Peter Milligan and a variety of artists, including covers by David Aja, each issue told the story of one of the five characters, whose destines became interlinked as they sought revenge against the dreaded Damiyo.

Punisher War Journal (1988) #8

Punisher War Journal (1988) #8

  • Published: September 10, 1989
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 27, 2010
What is Marvel Unlimited?
THE PUNISHER
Back in 1989, Carl Potts and Jim Lee introduced The Punisher to a group called the Shadowmasters, who graduated from PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL into their own series. This ancient clan of martial arts masters protected the province of Iga, and Punisher came into contact with one of them, Kathryn Yakamoto, who helped him infiltrate a ninja camp run by a shady American corporation. Later Frank Castle and Black Widow teamed up with them again against the Sunrise Society, a Japanese business used as a cover for a crime syndicate.

Travel to Japan once more with CABLE #2 by James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco!

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The Fantastic Four battles monsters to usher in the Marvel Age!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

Some might think that the rebirth of the super heroes at Marvel with FANTASTIC FOUR #1 rang an immediate death knell for the giant monsters who had ruled the roost for the previous few years, but that’s not quite the case. In fact, the two carried on side by side for a while.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 marks an interesting merging of the two genres as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby pitted their brand new first family of comics up against, you guessed it, giant monsters. Just look at the cover if you don’t believe us!

The issue from 1961 began with each member of the team already equipped with their powers out in New York City until a mysterious figure sent out a Fantastic Four flare that grabbed their attention.  Upon the group getting together the reader discovered that Reed Richards called the meeting. After recounting their cosmic ray-filled trip to outer space that granted them amazing powers, the quartet focused on the task at hand: stopping The Mole Man from sending his enormous monsters surface-side to destroy nuclear plants.

Reed tracked the creatures to a place called Monster Isle and all four set out to investigate. There they first encountered incredible creatures and then their leader, Mole Man. He explained that the surface world had shunned him because of looks, so he retreated underground where an accident left him mostly blind. Still, he turned the negative into a positive and soon mastered control of the subterranean creatures.

Fantastic Four (1961) #1

Fantastic Four (1961) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

He ordered them to destroy the nuclear plans in hopes of sending his minions on a full-on destruction mission. This, of course did not sit well with the fledgling heroes who soon made a break for the exit with Human Torch sealing up the tunnel after them along with their leader.

Mole Man has returned numerous times with his monsters to fight the Fantastic Four as well as other heroes in the Marvel Universe. While this marked the first time the FF has gone up against the kinds of monsters that preceded them, it would be far from the last.

Creators in the early 60’s like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby quickly learned the popularity of huge, wild creatures which has inspired writers and artists to continue mixing them with super heroes in a variety of ways including Monsters Unleashed!

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T'Challa fights on the front lines alongside the Avengers and Fantastic Four!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

Still in his native Wakanda in FANTASTIC FORCE #15, Black Panther fought alongside his young compatriots against a towering monster called the Vibravore, a creature spawned from vibranium metal itself. Psi-Lord became the key to defeating it, but T’Challa possessed no answers to the Wakandan parliament cutting off all funding of Fantastic Force in the aftermath of the Vibravore’s rampage.

Returning once more to the States, the Panther witnessed the emergence of a new Wasp in AVENGERS #394, a radical evolution of Janet Van Dyne’s heroic persona. Later, T’Challa found himself fighting shadow forms that resembled past foes of the team in AVENGERS #400, a devilish scheme by Loki, god of mischief, to crush the heroes once and for all.

When his old friends the Fantastic Four needed him, Black Panther swept in to aid Nathaniel Richards in FANTASTIC FOUR #416 in a battle with a simulation of the Red Ghost and his apes. In the aftermath of the skirmish, Fantastic Force finally disbanded for good while the massive threat of the mutant Onslaught grew.

In IRON MAN #332, T’Challa worked alongside Tony Stark to fashion strong psychic shields for their fellow champions to use against Onslaught’s destructive and intrusive mental powers. Finally, the Avengers and other heroes joined with the X-Men to confront the menace directly and en masse in ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE #1. Though ultimately defeated, Onslaught brought about the disappearance of several of T’Challa’s closest comrades in the super hero community.

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Wakanda's super hero population grows by one!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

For such an advanced nation, Wakanda seems to have relatively few super powered individuals. In the 90’s, the number grew by one with the creation of Vibraxas, otherwise known as N’Kano.

First mentioned in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #390 by T’Challa himself, the new character could not have picked a worse time to need guidance and examination by the Fantastic Four. See, back in the early 90’s, Reed Richards appeared to die at the hands of Doctor Doom in FANTASTIC FOUR #381. After that, Namor decided to stick around as did Johnny Storm’s Skrull lover Lyja and Scott Lang, hired scientist.

In a complicated story that began in FANTASTIC FOUR #387, a future-raised Franklin Richards appeared, Ben and Sue journeyed to an alternate universe where the Watcher failed in his mission against Galactus, and Johnny realized that Lyja gave birth to a power-granting egg instead of a baby. T’Challa chose a bad time to call in 1994’s FANTASTIC FOUR #390 by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi.

Fantastic Four (1961) #390

Fantastic Four (1961) #390

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After being rudely hung up on by Johnny, Black Panther and his aid discussed the recent appearance of a new Wakandan hero called Vibraxas. The Panther intended to see if the team could help run diagnostics. With that option gone, he met with the Inhumans in the next issue where Medusa and Black Bolt introduced them to their own young potential hero: Devlor.

Black Panther appeared at the Baxter Building along with Vibraxas and Devlor just as Psi-Lord and his alternate-dimension aunt Huntara did. Their timing worked out as the Fantastic Four fell to a being known as The Dark Raider.

Thanks to another save from The Watcher, The Dark Raider—a crazy Reed Richards from an alternate dimension—disappeared leaving Black Panther to see if the FF could train the youths. Instead, Sue and Johnny announced that they planned on quitting the team they founded! Instead of passing of the training reins, Black Panther sticks around as a mentor for the new team of Vibraxas, Devlor, Psi-Lord, and Huntara, soon known as Fantastic Force.

Secrets of Wakanda

Vibraxas might not be a huge name in the world of the Marvel Universe, but he did come up during Civil War. In the pages of BLACK PANTHER #25, Storm met up with registration figurehead Reed Richards to discuss the issues. During that talk, Richards noted that Wakanda’s free health care systems might screen for super human abilities. Though he’s just guessing, Reed said the idea could lead to the early training of super powered individuals earlier in life. He also noted that the only known super people from Wakanda at the time were the Black Panther, Vibraxas, Man-Ape and Killmonger. But what about others? “Were some of them potential menaces to society that were turned in another direction?” He also wondered about a mutant population. All of this revolved around his idea that, if registration became worldwide, individuals would learn how to use their powers much earlier and thus make for safer heroes.

From helping the Fantastic Four to officially joining the team T’Challa and Storm infuse FF stories in the pages of BLACK PANTHER #26-34. 

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The Avengers, Excalibur, Deathlok, Captain America and more cross the Panther's path!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

The Black Panther clashed with the Coal Tiger, his exact duplicate from another reality, in AVENGERS #356, part of an ongoing struggle between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their new foes, the alternate-Earth-hopping Gatherers.

Not long after, T’Challa played host to a small contingent of Avengers and Excalibur members to discuss toxic waste disposal in EXCALIBUR #59. The gathering brought forth the menace of Icon, a bio-chemist with the ability to transmute his body into wood, in EXCALIBUR #60.

Captain America (1968) #415

Captain America (1968) #415

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After aiding the Fantastic Four in another dust-up with his old enemy Klaw in FANTASTIC FOUR UNLIMITED #1, the Panther hired the cyborg Deathlok to provide cyber-security for Wakanda in DEATHLOK #22. Moses Magnum sent his agent Phreak and others to invade the small country, but when that attack fell apart, he dispatched Killjoy to assassinate T’Challa in DEATHLOK #23. The cyber warrior blocked Killjoy’s assignment in DEATHLOK #24, and joined forces with the Panther in DEATHLOK #25 to bring down Magnum once and for all.

When the Panther welcomed friend Captain America to Wakanda in CAPTAIN AMERICA #414, he opened the nation up to an invasion by the Dinosaur-Men. During the fracas, he also discovered illegal vibranium mining and fought Ka-Zar in CAPTAIN AMERICA #415, as well as fell into the middle of a war between the High Technician and A.I.M. in CAPTAIN AMERICA #416, and held back the onslaught of A.I.M.’s use of the giant Terminus’ corpse as an attack vehicle in CAPTAIN AMERICA #417.

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