Black Panther (comics)
Cover art of Black Panther vol. 6, #1 (April 2016). Art by Brian Stelfreeze.
|First appearance||Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)|
Stan Lee (writer)|
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Notable aliases||Luke Charles, Black Leopard, Mr. Okonkwo|
Skilled hunter, tracker, strategist, politician, inventor, and scientist|
Trained acrobat, martial artist and gymnast
Enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, healing and reflexes
Alchemical protection against mystical attacks and detection
Wields vibranium uniform, boots and equipment
The Black Panther (T'Challa) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). He is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics, debuting years before such early African-American superheroes as Marvel Comics' the Falcon (1969) and Luke Cage (1972), and DC Comics' Green Lantern John Stewart (1971), Tyroc (1976), and Black Lightning (1977). The character is usually depicted as the king and protector of Wakanda, a fictional African nation. Chadwick Boseman portrays the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and is set to return in Black Panther (2018), both set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Concept and creation
The Black Panther's name predates the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party, though not the black panther logo of the party's predecessor, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, nor the segregated World War II Black Panthers Tank Battalion. He is the first black superhero in mainstream comic books; virtually no black heroes were created before him, and none with actual superpowers. These included the characters in the single-issue, low-distribution All-Negro Comics #1 (1947); Waku, Prince of the Bantu, who starred in his own feature in the omnibus title Jungle Tales, from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics; and the Dell Comics Western character Lobo, the first black person to star in his own comic book. Previous non-caricatured black supporting characters in comics include U.S. Army infantry private Gabriel Jones of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.
Co-creator Stan Lee recounted that the name was inspired by a pulp adventure hero who has a black panther as a helper. Because many people mistakenly assumed the name referenced the Black Panther Party, the character was briefly renamed the Black Leopard, which Lee said was reverted because neither the readers nor the creators cared for the new name. Jack Kirby's original concept art for Black Panther used the concept name, "Coal Tiger."
Following his debut in Fantastic Four #52–53 (July–Aug. 1966) and subsequent guest appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #5 (1967) and with Captain America in Tales of Suspense #97–99 (Jan.–March 1968), the Black Panther journeyed from the fictional African nation of Wakanda to New York City, New York to join the titular American superhero team in The Avengers #52 (May 1968), appearing in that comic for the next few years. During his time with the Avengers, he made solo guest-appearances in three issues of Daredevil, and fought Doctor Doom in Astonishing Tales #6–7 (June & Aug. 1971), in that supervillain's short-lived starring feature. He later returned in a guest-appearance capacity in Fantastic Four #119 (Feb. 1972) during which he briefly tried using the name Black Leopard to avoid connotations invoking the Black-militant political party the Black Panthers.
He received his first starring feature with Jungle Action #5 (July 1973), a reprint of the Panther-centric story in The Avengers #62 (March 1969). A new series began running the following issue, written by Don McGregor, with art by pencilers Rich Buckler, Gil Kane, and Billy Graham, and which gave inkers Klaus Janson and Bob McLeod some of their first professional exposure. The critically acclaimed series ran in Jungle Action #6–24 (Sept. 1973 – Nov. 1976).
One now-common format McGregor pioneered was that of the self-contained, multi-issue story arc. The first, "Panther's Rage", ran through the first 13 issues. Critic Jason Sacks has called the arc "Marvel's first graphic novel":
[T]here were real character arcs in Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four [comics] over time. But ... "Panther's Rage" is the first comic that was created from start to finish as a complete novel. Running in two years' issues of Jungle Action (#s 6 through 18), "Panther's Rage" is a 200-page novel that journeys to the heart of the African nation of Wakanda, a nation ravaged by a revolution against its king, T'Challa, the Black Panther.
The second and final arc, "Panther vs. the Klan", ran as mostly 17-page stories in Jungle Action #19–24 (Jan.–Nov. 1976), except for issue #23, a reprint of Daredevil #69 (Oct. 1970), in which the Black Panther guest-starred. The subject matter of the Ku Klux Klan was considered controversial in the Marvel offices at the time, creating difficulties for the creative team.
African-American writer-editor Dwayne McDuffie said of the Jungle Action "Black Panther" feature:
This overlooked and underrated classic is arguably the most tightly written multi-part superhero epic ever. If you can get your hands on it ... sit down and read the whole thing. It's damn-near flawless, every issue, every scene, a functional, necessary part of the whole. Okay, now go back and read any individual issue. You'll find seamlessly integrated words and pictures; clearly introduced characters and situations; a concise (sometimes even transparent) recap; beautifully developed character relationships; at least one cool new villain; a stunning action set piece to test our hero's skills and resolve; and a story that is always moving forward towards a definite and satisfying conclusion. That's what we should all be delivering, every single month. Don [McGregor] and company did it in only 17 story pages per issue.
Though popular with college students, the overall sales of Jungle Action were low, and Marvel relaunched the Black Panther in a self-titled series, bringing in the character's co-creator Jack Kirby—newly returned to Marvel after having decamped to rival DC Comics for a time— as writer, penciler, and editor. However, Kirby wanted to work on new characters and was unhappy at being assigned a series starring a character he had already worked with extensively. He left the series after only 12 issues and was replaced by Ed Hannigan (writer), Jerry Bingham (penciler), and Roger Stern (editor). Black Panther ran 15 issues (Jan. 1977 – May 1979). Due to the series's cancellation, the contents of what would have been Black Panther #16–18 were published in Marvel Premiere #51–53.
A four-issue miniseries, Black Panther vol. 2, (July–Oct. 1988) was written by Peter B. Gillis and penciled by Denys Cowan. McGregor revisited his Panther saga with Gene Colan in "Panther's Quest", published as 25 eight-page installments within the bi-weekly anthology series Marvel Comics Presents (issues #13–37, Feb.–Dec. 1989). He later teamed with artist Dwayne Turner in the square-bound miniseries Black Panther: Panther's Prey (Sept. 1990 – March 1991). McGregor conceived a fifth arc in his Black Panther saga, titled "Panther's Vows", but it failed to get off the ground.
Writer Christopher Priest's and penciller Mark Texeira's 1998 series The Black Panther vol. 3 utilized Erik Killmonger, Venomm, and other characters introduced in "Panther's Rage", together with new characters such as State Department attorney Everett Ross; the Black Panther's adopted brother, Hunter; and the Panther's protégé, Queen Divine Justice. The Priest-Texeira series was under the Marvel Knights imprint in its first year. Priest said the creation of character Ross contributed heavily to his decision to write the series. "I realized I could use Ross to bridge the gap between the African culture that the Black Panther mythos is steeped in and the predominantly white readership that Marvel sells to," adding that in his opinion, the Black Panther had been misused in the years after his creation.
The last 13 issues (#50–62) saw the main character replaced by a multiracial New York City police officer named Kasper Cole, with T'Challa relegated to a supporting character. This Black Panther, who became the White Tiger, was placed in the series The Crew, running concurrently with the final few Black Panther issues. The Crew was canceled with issue #7.
In 2005, Marvel began publishing Black Panther vol. 4, which ran 41 issues (April 2005 – Nov. 2008). It was initially written by filmmaker Reginald Hudlin (through issue #38) and penciled by John Romita, Jr. (through #6). Hudlin said he wanted to add "street cred" to the title, although he noted that the book was not necessarily or primarily geared toward an African-American readership. As influences for his characterization of the character, Hudlin has cited comic character Batman, film director Spike Lee, and music artist Sean Combs.
Black Panther vol. 5 launched in February 2009, with Hudlin, again scripting, introducing a successor Black Panther, T'Challa's sister Shuri. Hudlin co-wrote issue #7 with Jonathan Maberry, who then became the new writer, joined by artist Will Conrad. The Panther was also a featured player, with members of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, in the Doctor Doom-based, six-issue miniseries Doomwar (April–Sept. 2010).
T'Challa then accepted an invitation from Matt Murdock, the superhero Daredevil, to become the new protector of New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. He became the lead character in Daredevil beginning with issue #513 (Feb. 2011), when that series was retitled Black Panther: The Man Without Fear. Under writer David Liss and artist Francesco Francavilla, he took on the identity of Mr. Okonkwo, an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and becomes the owner of a small diner in order to be close to the people.
Fictional character biography
Early life and background
The Black Panther is the ceremonial title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe of the advanced African nation of Wakanda. In addition to ruling the country, he is also chief of its various tribes (collectively referred to as the Wakandas). The Panther habit is a symbol of office (head of state) and is used even during diplomatic missions. The Panther is a hereditary title, but one still must earn it.
In the distant past, a meteorite made of the (fictional) vibration-absorbing mineral vibranium crashed in Wakanda, and was unearthed. Reasoning that outsiders would exploit Wakanda for this valuable resource, the ruler King T'Chaka like his father and other Panthers before him, concealed his country from the outside world. T'Chaka's first wife N'Yami died while in labor with T'Challa, and his second wife Ramonda was taken prisoner by Anton Pretorius during a visit to her homeland of South Africa, so for most of his childhood T'Challa was raised by his father alone. T'Chaka was murdered by the adventurer Ulysses Klaw in an attempt to seize the vibranium mound. With his people still in danger, a young T'Challa used Klaw's sound weapon on Klaw and his men, shattering Klaw's right hand and forcing him to flee.
T'Challa was next in line to be the king of Wakanda and Black Panther, but until he was ready to become the leader of the nation, his uncle S'yan (T'Chaka's younger brother) successfully passed the trials to become the Black Panther. While on his Wakandan walkabout rite of passage, T'Challa met and fell in love with apparent orphaned teen Ororo Munroe, who would grow up to become the X-Men member Storm. The two broke off their relationship due to his desire to avenge his father's death and to become the type of man who could suitably lead Wakanda, but they would see each other over the years when they could.
T'Challa earned the title and attributes of the Black Panther by defeating the various champions of the Wakandan tribes. One of his first acts was to disband and exile the Hatut Zeraze—the Wakandan secret police—and its leader, his adopted brother Hunter the White Wolf. He sold off small portions of vibranium to scientific institutions around the world, amassing a fortune which he used to arm himself with advanced technology. Later, to keep peace, he picked dora milaje ("adored ones") from rival tribes to serve as his personal guard and ceremonial wives-in-training. He then studied abroad for a time before returning to his kingship.
In his first published appearance, the now-adult T'Challa invites the American superhero team the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, then attacks and neutralizes them individually in order to test himself to see if he is ready to battle Klaw, who had replaced his shattered right hand with a sonic weapon. After the ruler makes proper amends to the superhero team, the four befriend and help T'Challa, and he in turn aids them against the supervillain the Psycho-Man. T'Challa later joins the Avengers, beginning a long association with that superhero team. He first battles the Man-Ape while with the group, and then meets the American singer Monica Lynne, with whom he becomes romantically involved. He helps the Avengers defeat the second Sons of the Serpent, and then reveals his true identity on American television. He encounters Daredevil, and reveals to him that he had deduced Daredevil's true identity.
Return to Wakanda
The Panther eventually leaves his active Avengers membership to return to a Wakanda on the brink of civil war, bringing Lynne with him. After defeating would-be usurper Erik Killmonger and his minions, the Panther ventures to the American South to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He later gains possession of the mystical time-shifting artifacts known as King Solomon's Frogs. These produce an alternate version of T'Challa from a future 10 years hence, a merry, telepathic Panther with a terminal brain aneurysm, whom T'Challa places in cryogenic stasis.
Later, while searching for and finding his stepmother Ramonda, the Panther contends with South African authorities during Apartheid. T'Challa eventually proposes and becomes engaged to Monica Lynne, though the couple never marry.
Years later, the Panther accepts a Washington, D.C. envoy, Everett K. Ross, and faces multiple threats to Wakanda's sovereignty. Ross assists him in many of these threats. In gratitude, the Panther often risks much for Ross in return. The first threat he and Ross encounter is "Xcon", an alliance of rogue intelligence agents backing a coup led by the Reverend Achebe. Afterward, Killmonger resurfaces with a plot to destroy Wakanda's economy. This forces T'Challa to nationalize foreign companies. Killmonger then defeats him in ritual combat, thus inheriting the role of Black Panther, but falls into a coma upon eating the heart-shaped herb—poisonous to anyone outside the royal bloodline, which had a hereditary immunity to its toxic effects. T'Challa preserves his rival's life rather than allowing him to die.
Later, T'Challa finds he has a brain aneurysm like his alternate future self, and succumbs to instability and hallucinations. After his mental state almost causes tribal warfare, the Panther hands power to his council and hides in New York City. There he mentors police officer Kasper Cole (who had adopted an abandoned Panther costume), an experience that gives T'Challa the strength to face his illness, reclaim his position, and return to active membership in the Avengers, whom he helps secure special United Nations status.
Volume 4: Marriage and passing the mantle
T'Challa recounts the story of his ascension as the Black Panther. He defeated his uncle during the Black Panther celebration, and during his walkabout when he met and fell in love with a street urchin named Ororo in Cairo, Egypt. Unbeknownst to him the US government is planning a coup in order to get access to the Vibranium. They allow Klaw to recruit a team of villains in order to support his totalitarian neighbor, the Nigandia. Klaw recruits Rhino, Black Knight, Batroc the Leaper, and Radioactive Man to lead the invasion. The US government then deploys an army of Deathloks to "support" T'Challa and justify an invasion, but T'Challa kills Klaw and Storm wipes out the Deathlok army in a hurricane.
T'Challa then helps his old flame Ororo Munroe reunite with her surviving family members in Africa and the U.S. He shortly afterward proposes, and the two are married in a large Wakandan ceremony attended by many superheroes. One of the couple's first tasks is to embark on a diplomatic tour, in which they visit the Inhumans, Doctor Doom, the President of the United States, and Namor, with only that last ending well. After the death of Bill Foster, the Black Panther and Storm side with Captain America's anti-registration forces. During the end battle between both sides, the Wakandan embassy in Manhattan is heavily damaged, though no Wakandans are hurt. After the confrontation, the Panther and Storm briefly fill in for vacationing Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards before returning to Wakanda.
Upon returning to Wakanda alone, leaving Storm in New York to aid the X-Men, Black Panther faces Erik Killmonger, defeating him with assistance from Monica Rambeau (a.k.a. Pulsar). Afterward, Wakanda fends off the alien shapeshifters the Skrulls, who had infiltrated as part of their "Secret Invasion" plan to conquer Earth. Prince Namor attempts to recruit T'Challa for the Cabal, a secret council of supervillains. Attacked by the forces of fellow Cabal member Doctor Doom, T'Challa is left comatose. His sister Shuri is trained as the next Panther, with the mantle passing onto her officially after T'Challa awakens from his coma and attempts to recover from his injuries.
In the aftermath, T'Challa loses all of his enhanced attributes given to him by being the panther totem. As a result, he works with his sorcerer, Zawavari, to accumulate a replacement. He has since made a pact with another unknown Panther deity, returning his attributes to an even higher level as well as placing incantations on his body, making himself highly resistant to most magic and mystic assaults. This has all been done in preparation for the imminent battle with Doctor Doom, which culminated in T'Challa rendering all of the processed vibranium inert to give his people a chance to rebuild without their dependence on the element.
The Man Without Fear
After the events of "Shadowland", Matt Murdock (the superhero Daredevil) asks T'Challa to replace him as guardian of Hell's Kitchen, which gives T'Challa a chance to discover himself. With the help of Foggy Nelson, T'Challa assumes the identity of Mr. Okonkwo, an immigrant from the Congo and manager of a diner called Devil's Kitchen, so that he can blend in and learn about the denizens as an ordinary man. He gets on well with two of the Kitchen's staff: Sofija, a migrant from Serbia who was formerly involved in violent Serbian nationalism, and the busboy, Brian. He also gets to know some of the neighbors from his apartment block: Mr. Nantakarn and his son Alec, as well as Iris, a social worker assigned to handle cases of child abuse.
T'Challa finds himself up against an ambitious new crime lord, Vlad Dinu, who styles himself "The Impaler". He also seeks an understanding with the police through Detective Alex Kurtz. During an attempt by Vlad to terminate the Panther, Brian from the Devil's Kitchen is seriously injured by an energy blast from Vlad, and is reported dead. The conflict between Vlad and the Panther becomes more personal, especially after Vlad discovers the Panther over his wife Angela dead from a gunshot wound.
T'Challa learns that Iris was the serial shooter who killed abusers of children – Gabe was abused secretly by Angela. Brian was kidnapped by his doctor, Dr. Holman, at the behest of Nicolae who wanted to use someone who received a dose of Vlad's power. After being subjected to torturous experiments, Brian lost the ability to think for himself but was rescued by Gabe who also stole the serum produced from the experiment meant to endow the recipient with Vlad's powers. The Panther obtains evidence of Vlad Dinu's crimes as well as clues to Iris as the serial shooter, and turns the evidence over to Kurtz. Vlad kills his own son Nicolae before being subdued by the Panther. Gabe is arrested for attempting to take Iris' life. Before being taken away, Gabe reveals to the Panther Brian's fate. Though aware of the Panther's identity as Mr. Okonkwo, both Iris and Sofija promise to keep silent.
Shortly after Daredevil returns to Hell's Kitchen, T'Challa returns to Wakanda, serving as a second to his sister, Shuri. In preparation for an upcoming attack on Wakanda as part of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, the Panther God returns T'Challa's abilities. Empowered by the Phoenix, Namor destroys Wakanda with a massive tidal wave. Returning to help, Storm is stunned when the Panther informs her that their marriage has been annulled.
After witnessing an alternate Earth over Wakanda being destroyed by the Black Swan, T'Challa reforms the Illuminati – with Beast replacing the now-deceased Charles Xavier – to confront the threat of the Incursions, parallel universes colliding with each other to the destruction of both. Although able to avert one Incursion with the Infinity Gauntlet, the subsequent destruction of the Infinity Gems forces the group to decide to resort to more questionable measures to protect Earth from future incursions, wiping Captain America's mind so that he won't remember these events, allowing them to do "what needs to be done". Although equipped with planet-destroying weapons to protect Earth, the Illuminati mostly become disgusted with the wholesale slaughter, until Namor breaks off from the group to form a new Cabal of villains to do what the heroes won't. Despite Namor's Cabal achieving legitimacy as Earth's protectors, Namor grew weary of the wholesale slaughter they carried out in the name of preserving their universe. Although he collaborated with the Illuminati in a plan to destroy the Cabal by trapping them on the next Earth to be destroyed, Black Panther and Black Bolt left him behind to die with the Cabal, disgusted at his earlier actions, although Namor and the Cabal escape to the Ultimate universe when the other Earth has a simultaneous Incursion.
When the final incursion occurs during the Secret Wars storyline, resulting in all realities collapsing into one Earth, Black Panther is one of the few heroes to survive the incursion in a specially-designed "life pod" – other survivors including Mister Fantastic, Star-Lord, Spider-Man, the new Thor, Captain Marvel and a Phoenix-enhanced Cyclops – although they are only released into the new world after an eight-year stasis. Retrieved by Doctor Strange, they learn that Strange has assumed a role of "sheriff" to Doctor Doom, who has appointed himself the god of the new "Battleworld" created from the multiple realities. Although Doom effortlessly kills Cyclops, Strange protects the other heroes by dispersing them across Battleworld, with T'Challa and Namor eventually discovering a new version of the Infinity Gauntlet that Strange collected, ensuring that the Gems he found would work in the location where Doom built his main fortress. Recruiting the residents of the deadlands as an army, T'Challa marches on Doom at the same time as multiple other areas rebel against him through the encouragement of the heroes, but admits when Doom confronts him that he was only intended as a distraction while Reed targets Doom's power source. As Reed takes Doom's power and sets out to rebuild the multiverse, T'Challa uses the Time Gem to take himself back to Wakanda before the Incursions, proclaiming to his people that they will lead the way to the stars and explore new ideas.
All-New, All-Different Marvel
Civil War II
Powers and abilities
The title "Black Panther" is a rank of office, chieftain of the Wakandan Panther Clan. As chieftain, the Panther is entitled to eat a special Heart-Shaped Herb which, in addition to his mystical connection with the Wakandan Panther God, grants him superhumanly acute senses, enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, healing, and reflexes..
He has since lost this connection and forged a new one with another unknown Panther deity, granting him augmented physical attributes as well as a resistance to magic. His senses are so powerful that he can pick up a prey's scent and memorize tens of thousands of individual ones. Following his war with Doom, T'Challa loses his enhanced abilities only to once again establish a connection with the Panther God. In addition to the resurgence of his now superhuman abilities, he is anointed "King of the Dead", granting him the power and knowledge of all the past Black Panthers as well as the ability to control the undead.
T'Challa worked with his sorcerer, Zawavari, to endow T'Challa with immunity to mystical attacks and detection in order to defeat Dr. Doom. When T'Challa's alchemical upgrade was tested by means of Wakanda's most powerful acolytes attacking T'Challa in unison, each mystical attack was absorbed and only served to strengthen T'Challa. During these preparations, T'Challa invented a potent mystical/scientific hybrid art called "shadow physics" and was able to use it to craft shadow weapons and to track vibranium on a quantum level.
As king of Wakanda, the Panther has access to a vast collection of magical artifacts, advanced Wakandan technological and military hardware, as well as the support of his nation's wide array of scientists, warriors, and mystics. The Wakandan military has been described as one of the most powerful on Earth. His attire is the sacred vibranium costume of the Wakandan Panther Cult.
He is a skilled hunter, tracker, strategist, politician, inventor, and scientist. He has a Ph.D. in Physics from Oxford University. Considered one of the eight smartest people on the planet, he is a genius in physics and advanced technology, and is a brilliant inventor. He also has been granted the strength and knowledge of every past Black Panther.
T'Challa is a rigorously trained gymnast and acrobat and is a master in various African martial arts as well as contemporary martial arts and fighting styles that belong to no known disciplines.
The chieftain of the Wakandan Panther Clan is one of the wealthiest people in the world, though financial estimates are difficult given Wakanda's isolation from the world's economy and the uncertain value of Wakanda's vast vibranium reserves and extremely advanced technologies.
In Black Panther volume 3, writer Christopher Priest expanded the Panther's day-to-day arsenal to include equipment such as an "energy dagger", a vibranium-weave suit, and a portable supercomputer, the "Kimoyo card". In Black Panther volume 4, writer Reginald Hudlin introduced such specialized equipment as "thrice-blessed armor" and "light armor" for specific tasks, and for a short while outfitted him with the Ebony Blade of the Black Knight.
- Monica Lynne – A singer who saved T'Challa from drowning after being bested by Killmonger. His longest love interest, whom he pledged eternal devotion towards.
- Everett K. Ross – A U.S. State Department employee, whose job was to escort foreign diplomats on American soil. His world changed forever when he was assigned to T'Challa, the Black Panther, the ruler of Wakanda.
- Shuri – T'Challa's sister. She has taken up the role of Black Panther and is current ruler of Wakanda after T'Challa was badly injured by Doctor Doom.
- N'Gassi – Adviser to T'Challa, acting regent when he goes away on missions.
- Okoye – One of the former Dora Milaje, a ceremonial betrothed/bodyguard of T'Challa. Okoye is of the J'Kuwali tribe and acted as a traditional, proper concomitant to the king, speaking only to the king and only in Hausa, an African dialect not widely spoken in Wakanda and thus affording the king and his wives a measure of privacy.
- Queen Divine Justice – The street-smart queen of the Jabari tribe of Wakanda raised in Chicago, and former Dora Milaje (ceremonial betrothed/bodyguard) of T'Challa. She originally went by the name Chanté Giovanni Brown.
- Storm – Ororo Iqadi T'Challa (née Munroe), a member of the X-Men mutant team, and mother of Azari; she was the Black Panther's wife and Queen of Wakanda.
- W'Kabi – T'Challa's competent second-in-command, completely loyal to his liege.
- Zuri – A grumpy and gigantic elderly warrior. A close friend of the late T'Chaka, and one of T'Challa's most trusted advisers.
- Azari – son of Black Panther and Storm and future Black Panther
- Mubaru – was a Wakandan cabinet member who represented the Mountain Tribes.
- Achebe (later known as Reverend Achebe) – A poor farmer somewhere in South Africa, Achebe sold his soul to the demon Mephisto. He is portrayed as a grinning, unpredictable, lunatic, warrior-mystic, regularly talking to his hand-puppet Daki with delusions that it's truly alive, and engineering complex plots of social unrest for profit or entertainment.
- Erik Killmonger – A powerful warrior and strategic genius in politics and economics.
- Malice – Wakandan Mutate with superhuman strength, speed, and agility. She is a former Dora Milaje (ceremonial betrothed/bodyguard) of T'Challa.
- Man-Ape – Ruler of the Jabari Tribe a recognized micronation within Wakanda's borders. M'Baku was Wakanda's greatest warrior second only to the Black Panther. He plotted to usurp the throne with the help of the outlawed White Gorilla cult who were ancient rivals of the Black Panther cult, which basically made them heretics since Panther worship is the state religion. Founding member of the "Pan African Congress on the Treatment of Superhumans".
- Sombre – an agent of Eric Killmonger and enemy of the Black Panther. Sombre's touch is highly corrosive and painful.
- Tetu - a Wakandan revolutionary who led a unified militia against T'Challa in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy. He accused T'Challa of plotting against Wakanda and blamed him for many of the events that befell Wakanda since Volume 5 and told him that it was time that "Wakanda be ruled by Wakandans" and that "the era of Kings would soon come to an end."
- Ulysses Klaw – Murderer and betrayer of T'Chaka and personal archenemy of T'Challa. A powerhouse with near-absolute control of sound.
- White Wolf – T'Challa's adopted elder brother and the former leader of the Hatut Zeraze, the espionage elite police of Wakanda. Exiled by T'Challa, due to using torture and assassinations in his zeal to root out potential threats to national security.
Black Panther was ranked the 79th greatest comic book character by Wizard magazine. IGN ranked the character the 51st greatest comic book hero, stating that the Black Panther could be called Marvel's Batman, and tenth in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers". In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked the Black Panther as #33 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".
Journalist Joe Gross praised Christopher Priest for his characterization of the Black Panther, stating, that the writer "turned an underused icon into the locus of a complicated high adventure by taking the Black Panther to his logical conclusion. T'Challa (the title character) is the enigmatic ruler of a technologically advanced, slightly xenophobic African nation, so he acts like it". Gross applauded the title's "endless wit, sharp characterization, narrative sophistication and explosive splash panels".
Comics reviewer and journalist Mike Sangiacomo, however, criticized the narrative structure. "Christopher Priest's fractured writing is getting on my nerves. Like the Spider-Man comics, I want to like Black Panther, but Priest's deliberately jumbled approach to writing is simply silly. I know it's a style, but does he have to do it every issue?"
Reporter Bill Radford cited similar concerns when the title had just launched. "I appreciate the notion of seeing the Black Panther through the eyes of an Everyman, but the Panther is almost relegated to secondary status in his own book. And Ross' narration jumps around in time so much that I feel like his boss, who, in trying to get Ross to tell her what has happened, complains: 'This is like watching "Pulp Fiction" in rewind. My head is exploding.'"
Publishers Weekly gave a negative review to the first arc, "Who Is The Black Panther?", a modern retelling of the character's origin, saying, "Hudlin's take is caught between a rock and a hard place. His over-the-top narrative is not likely to appeal to fans of the most recent version of the character, but it's too mired in obscure Marvel continuity to attract the more general reader. The plot manages to be convoluted without ever becoming absorbing".
Journalist Shawn Jeffords, citing the lack of appearances of the title character in the first issue, called the new series a "fairly unimpressive launch". Jeffords also said general-audience unfamiliarity was a hindrance. "He's never been a marquee character and to make him one will be tough".
Age of Ultron
In the Age of Ultron story, Black Panther contacts the Fantastic Four and informs them that Ultron has invaded Earth with an army of Ultron Sentinels. Black Panther was later seen with Red Hulk and Taskmaster in Chicago spying on some Ultron Sentinels. When Taskmaster gets spotted by the Ultron Sentinels upon taking out the one that was sneaking up on him, Red Hulk holds off the Ultron Sentinels while Black Panther and Taskmaster flee. During the mayhem, Black Panther falls several stories and breaks his neck, killing him instantly.
Bronze Panther – Is the ruler of Wakanda and is named B'Nchalla. An amalgamation of the Bronze Tiger (DC) and the Black Panther (Marvel).
In Avengers Forever, Captain America and Goliath visit an alternate future timeline where Martian invaders have ravaged the Earth. An aged Black Panther leads this reality's version of the Avengers, who consist of Jocasta, Living Lightning, Killraven, Crimson Dynamo and Thundra.
In an alternate reality where the Civil War between Iron Man and Captain America never ended, Black Panther was killed alongside Maria Hill after activating Prison 42's self-destruct mechanism. He is succeeded by his son, Azari, who takes on the Black Panther name. It is later revealed that the Black Panther who destroyed Prison 42 was actually Queen Veranke of the shape-shifting alien Skrull race, who had stolen T'Challa's identity in order to manipulate and prolong the Civil War to suit her own needs.
T'Challa is Chieftain Justice, a Captain Britain Corps member, in Excalibur #44 (1991).
In the alternate universe of Earth X, T'Challa has been affected by the mutative event that drives the plot. Like most of humanity, he is mutated; in this case to become a humanoid black panther. He is entrusted with the Cosmic Cube by Captain America, who knows that T'Challa would be the only one to resist using it and to never give it back if asked. In fact, Captain America does ask for it back and T'Challa is forced to refuse.
An alternate version of Black Panther, called simply "Panther", is drafted onto the interdimensional superhero team the Exiles. The Panther is the son of T'Challa and Storm and named T'Chaka, after his grandfather. Originating from Earth-1119, he was ambushed by Klaw while examining some ruins. Caught in Klaw's blast, the Panther was plucked out of time and placed on the team. Unlike the stoic 616-Black Panther, The Panther is a wisecracking flirt. After his assumed death on Earth-1119, his sister took up the mantle of Black Panther.
T'Challa appears in Marvel Mangaverse Volume 2 as a man with a pet panther. When summoning the spirits, T'Challa and his panther combine to become the Black Panther. He also became The Falcon. This Black Panther was romantically attracted to Tigra. T'Challa's sister, T'Chana, reveals herself to be this universe's Doctor Doom.
In the Marvel 2099 continuity, a greatly weakened Wakanda is soon to be governed by its princess, Okusana. Fearing that she is not ready, she requests Doom's help in resurrecting Thandaza, her grandfather and a former Black Panther. Doom (who claims to have agreed to the proposal out of respect for T'Challa) and the Wakandan scientists revive Thandaza in a cyberbetic body made from vibranium, but the plan goes awry when Mkhalali, the current Panther Guard, opens fire on Thandaza, believing his resurrection to be an abomination. The attack throws off the calibrations and leaves Thandaza in a maddened state and constant pain, causing him to go on a bloody rampage. Doom is ultimately forced to kill Thandaza, who thanks him for ending his suffering.
Marvel Knights 2099
Black Panther was featured in the Marvel Knights 2099 one shots, which were not tied to the main 2099 continuity. A new Black Panther, K'Shamba, rose to fight and thwart the mounting invasions by the successor of Doom. While the victory over the new Doom appeared triumphant, the new Wakandan king was ultimately revealed to be a puppet of Doom.
Black Panther is, for the most part, one of the few uninfected superheroes in the alternate-universe series Marvel Zombies, where he is kept as a food supply for the Zombie Giant-Man, who keeps the Panther imprisoned and cuts off various limbs so that he can maintain his intelligence via a ready access to fresh meat without infecting Panther with the zombie "virus". Despite having lost half of his right arm and his left foot, the Panther escapes – with the severed head of zombified superheroine the Wasp in tow – and joins forces with the mutant group the Acolytes. While with the Acolytes, T'Challa briefly talks with his Earth-616 counterpart, where he expresses surprise at his marriage to Storm but offers him all the information he can provide about the zombie plague. Decades later, T'Challa has married one of the Acolytes, Lisa Hendricks, and they have a son, with Forge having provided T'Challa with artificial limbs to compensate for his injuries. Facing retirement, the Panther is stabbed and critically wounded by an agent of an Acolyte splinter group, and the Wasp— now a willing ally after having lost her zombie hunger— zombifies the Panther in order to grant him continued existence. With the Wasp's help, he survives to the post-hunger stage himself and continues to lead his people, despite his status. Further internal betrayal lead the Black Panther and many of his allies to be tossed through the dimensions. He ends up involved with another Earth that is threatened by the zombie virus. His attempts to save this new planet fail and he is destroyed, leaving only one hand displayed as a trophy by his enemies.
In the Mutant X reality, Black Panther had the appearance of a humanoid black panther. He is among the second wave of heroes who died fighting the Beyonder.
T'Challa, the younger son of King T'Chaka of Wakanda, is severely injured during the "Trial of the Panther" from which the protector of the nation is selected. His older brother M'Baku finds T'Challa bloodied, mute, and near death but derisively calls him a fool for attempting the trial. Later, M'Baku adds that he, not T'Challa, should have taken the trial. Angry that his father has decided to share Wakanda's technology in exchange for America's help in saving T'Challa's life, M'Baku leaves the kingdom.
To save T'Challa, T'Chaka turns him over to the Weapon X program. Over a year later, a healthy T'Challa, in his full Black Panther garb, has enhanced speed, strength, night vision, and healing ability. Additionally, he can summon short, cat-like Adamantium claws from his knuckles by balling his hands into fists. T'Chaka becomes outraged upon learning that S.H.I.E.L.D. (who had shut down Weapon X and freed T'Challa) now considers his son an asset of the U.S. and S.H.I.E.L.D. He subsequently sends M'Baku a letter, claiming that M'Baku, not T'Challa, is the titular "favorite son", and he implores M'Baku to return.
Fury has Captain America train and mentor the Panther, who reveals his damaged throat. Captain America, sympathizing for the Panther's plight, encourages Fury to place the Panther in the superhero team the Ultimates. This turns out to be a ruse in which Captain America impersonates the Panther, allowing T'Challa to escape and return home to Wakanda.
Captain America later impersonates Black Panther during an Ultimates confrontation with the Juggernaut.
After Ultimatum, Black Panther joins the New Ultimates.
In other media
- Marvel Animation and BET began producing a primetime animated series called "Black Panther". Djimon Hounsou was cast as the voice of Black Panther. The series is produced in motion-comic style. The world premiere of the show was in Australia, on ABC 3 on January 16, 2010. The series premiered online in the US on June 23, 2010, and was released on DVD in the US in January 2011.
- The Black Panther appears in the "Prey of the Black Panther" episode of the 1994 Fantastic Four animated TV series, voiced by Keith David. He enlists the Fantastic Four to help him save Wakanda from the invasion of Klaw. He makes a cameo appearance in later episode "Hopelessly Impossible".
- The Black Panther has a non-speaking cameo in the "Sanctuary" episode of the X-Men TV series.
- In The Avengers: United They Stand, a portrait of the Panther hangs in Avengers Mansion in Episode 1. While the Black Panther does not appear in the animated series, he does appear in the comic book series based on the show.
- Black Panther appeared in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "Panther's Prey" voiced by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. In this show, Black Panther wears panther-like armor and his father was killed by Moses Magnum. He returns in the episode "Line of Fire" and the series finale "The Makluan Invasion" Parts I and II.
- Black Panther appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Tremble at the Might of MODOK" voiced by Taye Diggs. As in the comics, Black Panther is in a relationship with Storm.
- Black Panther appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by James C. Mathis III. His origin is told in the episode "The Man in the Ant Hill" where he becomes Black Panther after Man-Ape killed T'Chaka in combat with some unseen help from Klaw. In the episode "Panther's Quest", he made himself known to the Avengers and joins them. However, in the episode "Who Do You Trust?", he leaves the team due to his uncertainty of his teammates and his need to protect Wakanda from the Skrulls. He rejoins the team in the episode "Behold...The Vision!" after a battle with Vision. He was thought dead in the episode "Operation Galactic Storm" when he drove a Kree ship into the sun. However, just as the ship is about to crash, Panther uses its teleporter to take him to a Kree ship on the other side of the wormhole. On the Kree ship, he steals a smaller ship, and follows the Avengers down to Hala. Panther rescued Iron Man, Vision, Hawkeye, and Thor from a monster, and helped them free the others. He then travels back to Earth with them.
- The Black Panther appears in episode 29 of the Japanese anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Mahito Ōba. He appears in subsequent episodes as Jessica's "second hero".
- Black Panther appears in Avengers: Ultron Revolution, with James C. Mathis III reprising the role. In the episode "Panther's Rage", T'Challa was first seen speaking before an assembly about Wakanda when Crossbones attacks in order to take out T'Challa. After becoming Black Panther and helping Captain America to take out Crossbones, T'Challa makes off with Captain America's shield claiming that it was stolen property. This leads Captain America to bring Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Thor to Wakanda in order to reclaim it. During the confrontation, Black Panther claims that Howard Stark stole Vibranium in order to make Captain America's shield. To make matters worse, a reassembled Ulysses Klaue appears where he makes off with Captain America's shield upon using a sound attack on the group. Both sides work to find Ulysses Klaue as Captain America states to Black Panther that T'Chaka gave the Vibranium for Howard Stark to make into Captain America's shield. Tracking him to a hideout in the Himalayas, the Avengers and Black Panther engage Ulysses Klaue in an armor made out of Vibranium. With a special tactic, the Avengers and Black Panther were able to knock Ulysses Klaue out of the armor as Black Panther plans to make Ulysses Klaue answer for his crimes. With Ulysses Klaue's Vibranium armor in Wakandan custody, Black Panther changes his opinion of the Avengers and is offered reserve membership into the group.
- T'Challa / Black Panther made his live-action film debut in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, played by Chadwick Boseman. In the film, he is shown displaying peak-human speed, agility, strength, and durability. His suit has retractable claws and is made of a vibranium weave, which can deflect heavy machine gun fire. He joins the Sokovia Accords, after seeing security footage implicating the Winter Soldier as his father's killer. However, Black Panther eventually learns that the assassination was actually arranged by Helmut Zemo to manipulate him, along with the Avengers, as part of his revenge against the team for inadvertently creating the Sokovia crisis which killed his family. After Zemo manipulates Iron Man into fighting Winter Soldier and Captain America, Black Panther confronts Zemo regarding his involvement in the UN bombing and the death of his father. After hearing Zemo's confession, Black Panther decides against killing him, refusing to let vengeance consume him as he has seen it through Zemo and the infighting amongst the Avengers. He then prevents Zemo from committing suicide in order for him to face justice for his crimes. He grants Captain America and his new teammates sanctuary in Wakanda while also aiding Winter Soldier's recovery from his Hydra brainwashing.
- Various iterations of a live-action film on the character were in development since 1992. In September 2005, Marvel chairman and CEO Avi Arad announced Black Panther as one of the ten Marvel films that would be developed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. In February 2007, Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, stated that Black Panther was on Marvel's development slate. In 2009, Marvel attempted to hire a team of writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, including Black Panther. In January 2011, Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for The Black Panther to be produced by studio head Kevin Feige. Feige said in October 2013 that a film is in development. In October 2014, Marvel Studios officially confirmed Black Panther, scheduled for release on November 3, 2017 as part of its Phase Three slate of films, and that Chadwick Boseman will play the character. In February 2015, the release date was moved to July 6, 2018. In April 2015, Feige revealed that he would be meeting with directors after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron at the end of the month. On June 25, 2015, Screencrush reports that Feige has met with Selma director Ava DuVernay on about directing the film. However, on July 3, 2015, DuVernay confirmed to Essence that she will not be directing Black Panther because of creative differences with Marvel executives when "it comes down to story and perspective". By October 2015, Joe Robert Cole was in final negotiations to write the film's script. Also in the month, the release was moved to February 16, 2018. In January 2016, Marvel officially confirmed that Ryan Coogler had been hired to direct the movie and co-write with Cole. In July 2016, Feige confirmed that filming is scheduled to begin in January 2017.
- The Black Panther appears in the direct-to-DVD animated feature Ultimate Avengers 2 (2006) as a central character, voiced by Jeffrey D. Sams.
- In the direct-to-DVD film, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, the Black Panther has a son with Storm named Azari. Black Panther was called one last time to fight with the Avengers against the robot Ultron....but Black Panther did not survive. It is unknown what happened to Storm, for after the Battle with Ultron, Tony Stark (Iron Man) raised Azari along with the children of the fallen members of the Avengers.
- Black Panther appears in the 2014 animated motion comic movie Marvel Knights: Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. When Wolverine winds up in Africa, Black Panther and Storm assist him.
- The Black Panther is a playable character in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Phil LaMarr. He can be unlocked by collecting 5 of his action figures. When the player asks about how Black Panther came to be, he will bring up his history which involved his father being killed by Klaw and passing every trial to become the next Black Panther. He has special dialogue with Nick Fury, Namor, Ghost Rider, Doctor Doom, and Deathbird. In his simulation disc, he has to battle Dark Captain America in Arcade's Murderworld.
- The Black Panther is an NPC in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 voiced by Tim Russ. He is one of the few characters in the game to not be taken under the control of The Fold, providing the heroes with a base prior to the final assault on the Fold as Wakanda is now the last bastion of resistance against the nanites. He is playable in Vicarious Visions (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, later also PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC) versions and originally as a downloadable character for PS3 and Xbox 360.
- Black Panther appears as an NPC in Storm's ending for Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Black Panther is a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Black Panther is a playable character in the MMORPG Marvel Heroes, voiced by James C. Mathis III.
- Black Panther appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by John Eric Bentley. He is also shown to have a pet cat named Mr. Tiddles. In the mid-credits, Nick Fury encounters him while overseeing the reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty. After finding Mr. Tiddles, Black Panther tells Nick Fury that the people of Wakanda thank him for thwarting Galactus' attack.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Mighty Heroes.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Future Fight.
- Black Panther is a playable character in Disney Infinity 3.0.
- The movie version of Black Panther is a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers. He is a DLC Character available in the "Civil War" pack. His pet cat Mr. Tiddles from Lego Marvel Super Heroes also reappears in the hub areas of the game. A DLC pack based on Classic Black Panther was later released for the game. Classic Black Panther appears as the main playable character of the pack along with several other supporting characters and villains and his Skybike.
- Black Panther is the 30th figurine in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
- A figure of Black Panther was released in wave 10 of Toy Biz's 6" Marvel Legends line. There was also a chase variant with a minor paint variation.
- Black Panther first appeared in wave 5 of the Marvel Super Hero Squad line, packaged with Storm. The same figure was repainted and re-release in the Super Teams: The New Fantastic Four 4-pack, packaged with Human Torch, Thing, and Storm.
- A figure of Black Panther was released in wave 29 of the Marvel Minimates line. A version of Panther from the Marvel Zombie series was released as a retailer exclusive.
- A figure of Black Panther was released in wave 1 of Hasbro's 3.75" Marvel Universe line. Another was released in a retailer exclusive 2-pack with Iron Man.
|Marvel Masterworks: Black Panther Volume 1||Material From Jungle Action #6-24||2010||ISBN 978-0785141990|
|Marvel Masterworks: Black Panther Volume 2||Black Panther Volume 1 #1-15, Marvel Premiere #51-53,
and the back-up story from Marvel Team-Up Volume 1 #100
|Black Panther Epic Collection Volume 1: Panther's Rage||Fantastic Four #52-53, Jungle Action #6-24||2016||ISBN 978-1302901905|
|Black Panther by Jack Kirby Volume 1||Black Panther Volume 1 #1-7||2005||ISBN 978-0785116875|
|Black Panther by Jack Kirby Volume 2||Black Panther Volume 1 #8-13||2006||ISBN 978-0785120698|
|Black Panther Vol. 1: The Client||Black Panther Volume 3 #1-6||2001||ISBN 978-0785107897|
|Black Panther Vol. 2: Enemy of the State||Black Panther Volume 3 #7-12||2002||ISBN 978-0785108290|
|Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 1||Black Panther vol. 3 #1–17||2015||ISBN 978-0785192671|
|Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 2||Black Panther vol. 3 #18–35, Deadpool Vol. 3 #44||2015||ISBN 978-0785198116|
|Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 3||Black Panther vol. 3 #36–49, #57–58; Incredible Hulk vol. 3 #33; Thor vol. 1 #370
material from Marvel Double-Shot 2
|Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection Volume 4||Black Panther vol. 3 #50–56, #59–62; The Crew 1–7||2016||ISBN 978-1302900588|
|Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?||Black Panther vol. 4, #1–6||2006||ISBN 978-0785120483|
|House of M: World of M Featuring Wolverine||Wolverine vol. 3 #33-35, Black Panther vol. 4 #7,
Captain America vol. 5 #10, The Pulse #10.
|X-Men/Black Panther: Wild Kingdom||Black Panther vol. 4, #8–9, X-Men vol. 2 #175-176||2006||ISBN 978-0785117896|
|Black Panther: Bad Mutha||Black Panther vol. 4, #10–13||2006||ISBN 978-0785117506|
|Black Panther: The Bride||Black Panther vol. 4, #14–18||2006||ISBN 978-0785121077|
|Black Panther: Civil War||Black Panther vol. 4, #19–25||2007||ISBN 978-0785122357|
|Black Panther: Four the Hard Way||Black Panther vol. 4, #26–30||2007||ISBN 978-0785126553|
|Black Panther: Little Green Men||Black Panther vol. 4, #31–34||2008||ISBN 978-0785126577|
|Black Panther: Back To Africa||Black Panther vol. 4, #35–38, Annual #1)||2008||ISBN 978-0785124528|
|Black Panther: Secret Invasion||Black Panther vol. 4, #39–41||2008||ISBN 978-0785133971|
|Black Panther: The Deadliest of the Species||Black Panther vol. 5, #1–6||2009||ISBN 978-0785133421|
|Black Panther: Power||Black Panther vol. 5, #7–12||2010||ISBN 978-0785138617|
|Doomwar||Doomwar #1-6||2011||ISBN 978-0785147152|
The Man Without Fear/The Most Dangerous Man Alive
|Black Panther: The Man Without Fear: Urban Jungle||Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513–518
material from the X-Men Curse of the Mutants Spotlight
|Black Panther: The Man Without Fear: Fear Itself||Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #519–523, Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #524||2012||ISBN 978-0785152064|
|Black Panther – The Most Dangerous Man Alive: The Kingpin of Wakanda||Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #523.1, 525–529||2012||ISBN 978-0785160373|
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