What, you've never heard of Panther's Rage? Shocking, because this is most likely the least read, most forgotten, most ambitious piece that was attempted back in 1973. Don, in one of the most singular display's of hubris that I can imagine given the constraints of comics creation back then, decided that he could and would actually make the Panther relevant to the 1970s. Not an easy task considering race relations back then, combined with his interest in politics, sex, and trying to make superheroes work in the real world.
Panther’s Rage would pull T’Challa away from the Avengers (where Steve Englehart would be dragging Wanda and the Vision into cross-race allegories and adult jealousy with Mantis) and drop him down into Wakanda in the midst of complete turmoil. To top it all off, T’Challa would bring back a western woman, black, but western. And that doesn’t make anyone happy. If that isn’t enough drama, we have one more introduction.
Enter Erik Killmonger. In the age of badasses, where Frank Castle was just starting to holster his rubber bullets, Eric was the ultimate badass. And he removed the Panther’s one easy out: to physically beat up the villain. T’Challa was about to go through the wringer.
Over the next 6 or 7 issues, Don would push the envelope again and again, making the ugliest villains, Venom, actually have a heart; taking black on black race relations into new areas, and pushing the letterers on the book to find new corners in which to cram text block after text block after text block. All within the context of Marvel 1970’s melodrama. Fun stuff.
There really are two Marvel Comics epics that deserve to be reprinted from the 1870s that haven't been done yet: Moench and Gulacy's Master of Kung Fu series, which will never be collected due to reprint rights with the Sax Rohmer estate, and this, Panther's Rage from the bowels of the forgotten Jungle Action book.