Black Panther (comics)

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Black Panther
Jungle Action #23 (Sept. 1976)
Cover art by John Byrne and Dan Adkins.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego T'Challa
Team affiliations Fantastic Four
Avengers
Defenders
Fantastic Force
Illuminati
Partnerships Storm
Notable aliases Luke Charles, Black Leopard, Mr. Okonkwo
Abilities Superhuman senses
Olympic-level strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, and agility
Genius-level intellect
Trained gymnast and acrobat
Wields vibranium uniform, boots, and equipment

The Black Panther (T'Challa) is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in publications by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller-co-plotter Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). He is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics, debuting several years before such early African-American superheroes as Marvel Comics' the Falcon, Storm and Luke Cage, and DC Comics' Tyroc, Black Lightning and Green Lantern John Stewart. Black Panther was ranked the 71st greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked the Black Panther as the 51st greatest comic book hero.

Concept and creation[edit]

Name[edit]

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.[1][2] 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.

Publication history[edit]

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.[3]

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[4] series ran in Jungle Action #6-24 (Sept. 1973 - Nov. 1976).[5]

One now-common format McGregor pioneered was that of the self-contained, multi-issue story arc.[6] 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.[6]

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.[5] The subject matter of the Ku Klux Klan was considered controversial in the Marvel offices at the time, creating difficulties for the creative team.[7] Though popular with college students, the overall sales of Jungle Action were low,[8] 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.[9] 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).[10] Due to the series's cancellation, the contents of what would have been Black Panther #16-18 were published in Marvel Premiere #51-53.

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.[4]

A four-issue miniseries, Black Panther vol. 2,[11] (July-Oct. 1988) was written by Peter B. Gillis and penciled by Denys Cowan.[12] 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).[13] He later teamed with artist Dwayne Turner in the square-bound miniseries Black Panther: Panther's Prey (Sept. 1990 - March 1991).[14] McGregor conceived a fifth arc in his Black Panther saga, titled "Panther's Vows", but it failed to get off the ground.[8]

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 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.[15]

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,[16] which ran 41 issues (April 2005 - Nov. 2008).[17] 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.[18] As influences for his characterization of the character, Hudlin has cited comic character Batman, film director Spike Lee, and music artist Sean Combs.[18]

Black Panther vol. 5[19] launched in February 2009, with Hudlin, again scripting, introducing a successor Black Panther, T'Challa's sister Shuri.[20][21][22] Hudlin co-wrote issue #7 with Jonathan Maberry, who then became the new writer,[23] joined by artist Will Conrad.[24] 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).[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Early life and background[edit]

Cover detail, The Avengers #52 (May 1968): Debut of the short-lived cowl mask. Art by John Buscema

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 at the time, King T'Chaka, like his father and other Panthers before him, concealed his country from the outside world. T'Chaka's first wife, T'Challa's birth mother N'Yami, died while in labor with T'Challa, so T'Challa would be raised by his father and his father's second wife Ramonda, at least until T'Chaka was murdered by the adventurer Ulysses Klaw. With his people still in danger, a young T'Challa used Klaw's sound weapon on him, gravely injuring him and forcing him to flee. Around the same time, his stepmother Ramonda visited her old home in South Africa. While on this trip she was kidnapped and taken prisoner by Anton Pretorius (T'Challa would not learn of this until years later).

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.[28] 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. 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. T'Challa next invited the American superhero team the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, then attacked and neutralized them individually in order to prove himself worthy as his people's defender and to test the team to see if it could be an effective ally against Klaw, who had become a supervillain made of living sound.[29][30] After the ruler made proper amends to the superhero team, the four befriended and helped T'Challa, and he in turn aided the heroes against the supervillain the Psycho-Man.[31]

T'Challa later joined the Avengers,[32] beginning a long association with that superhero team. He first battled the Man-Ape while with the group,[33] and then met the American singer Monica Lynne,[34] with whom he became romantically involved. He helped the Avengers defeat the second Sons of the Serpent, and then revealed his true identity on American television.[35] He encountered Daredevil, and revealed to him that he had deduced Daredevil's secret identity.[36]

Return to Wakanda[edit]

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,[37] the Panther ventures to the American South to battle the Ku Klux Klan.[38] He later gains possession of the mystical time-shifting artifacts known as King Solomon's Frogs.[39] These produced an alternate version of T'Challa from a future 10 years hence, a merry, telepathic Panther with a terminal brain aneurysm, whom T'Challa placed in cryogenic stasis.

Later, while searching for and finding his mother, the Panther contends with South African authorities during Apartheid.[40] T'Challa eventually proposes and becomes engaged to Monica Lynne,[41] though the couple never married.

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, often fighting side by side (or attempting to). In gratitude, the Panther often risks much for Ross in return. The first main threat to Wakandan sovereignty he and Ross encounter is 'Xcon'—an alliance of rogue intelligence agents—backs a coup led by the sorcerer 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.

Marriage and superhero Civil War[edit]

Main article: Civil War (comics)
The marriage of Storm and the Black Panther: Promotional art for Black Panther #18 (Sept. 2006) by Frank Cho.

T'Challa then helps Ororo Munroe (alias Storm), with whom he had a brief romance during his teens,[42] reunite with her surviving family members in Africa and the U.S.[volume & issue needed] He shortly afterward proposes,[volume & issue needed] and the two are married in a large Wakandan ceremony attended by many superheroes.[volume & issue needed] However, he failed to reunite both Captain America and Iron Man because of their opposing views on the Superhuman Registration Act.[43]

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.[44] After the death of Bill Foster, the Black Panther and Storm side with Captain America's anti-registration forces.[45] During the end battle between both sides, the Wakandan embassy in Manhattan is heavily damaged, though no Wakandans were hurt.[46] After the confrontation, the Panther and Storm briefly fill in for vacationing Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards before returning to Wakanda.[47]

T'Challa served as one of the pallbearers at the memorial service for Captain America, along with Tony Stark, Ms. Marvel, Rick Jones, Ben Grimm and Sam Wilson.[48]

Passing the mantle[edit]

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).[49] Afterward, Wakanda fends off the alien shapeshifters the Skrulls, who had infiltrated as part of their "Secret Invasion" plan to conquer Earth.[50] Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, 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.[51] 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.[52]

After he was tricked and ambushed by Doom and the passing of the Panther mantle, T'Challa lost all of his enhanced attributes given to him by being the panther totem. As a result, he has been working with his sorcerer, Zawavari, to accumulate a replacement.[53] 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,[54] 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.[55]

The Man Without Fear[edit]

After the events of Shadowland, Matt Murdock (the costumed adventurer, Daredevil) asked T'Challa to replace him as guardian of Hell's Kitchen, giving T'Challa a chance to discover himself.[56]

With the help of Foggy Nelson, T'Challa assumed the identity of Mr. Okonkwo, an immigrant from the Congo and manager of a diner called Devil's Kitchen. He chose this identity so that he could blend in and learn about the denizens as an ordinary man, like Murdock did as a lawyer. He learned quickly and got 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 got 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.[56]

T'Challa soon found himself up against an ambitious new crime lord—an ethnic Romanian, Vlad Dinu, who styled himself "The Impaler". He also sought an understanding with the police through Detective Alex Kurtz. Luke Cage and Spider-Man kept an eye on T'Challa and helped despite the latter's rejection of their assistance. Meanwhile, a serial-killer ran loose seemingly to target victims at random.[56]

Vlad turned out to be a survivor of an earlier Romanian program which sought to produce their own super-soldier. Feigning the treatment he received failed, Vlad managed to escape to USA and became a henchman of the Kingpin. He successfully kept a low profile while observing Wilson Fisk in his dealings, and vowed not to make the same mistakes. Vlad had his own powers which allowed him to transmute matter into energy briefly. He also successfully created a facade of a well-to-do businessman residing in Greenwich Village with his older son Nicolae from his deceased Romanian wife, and Gabe from a beautiful American wife, Angela.[56]

During an attempt by Vlad to terminate the Panther, as T'Challa came to be known in his new disguise, Brian from the Devil's Kitchen was seriously injured after suffering an energy blast from Vlad, and was shortly reported dead. The conflict between Vlad and the Panther became more intense and personal, especially after Vlad arrived home and discovered the Panther over his wife Angela dead from a gunshot wound.[56]

It was revealed in the end that Iris was the serial shooter who killed abusers of children - Gabe was apparently abused secretly by Angela. Brian was actually still alive and 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.[56]

The Panther managed to obtain evidence of Vlad Dinu's crimes as well as clues to Iris as the serial shooter, and turned the evidence over to Kurtz. In the final showdown, Vlad killed his own son Nicolae before being subdued by the Panther. Gabe had injected the serum on himself but was too new to his powers and was arrested for attempting to take Iris' life. Before being taken away, Gabe revealed to the Panther Brian's fate.[56]

Despite being aware of the Panther's identity as Mr. Okonkwo, both Iris and Sofija promised to keep silent. In the epilogue, Dr. Holman was shown hiring Kraven the Hunter to hunt down Brian to avoid exposure of her culpability.[56]

Wakanda again[edit]

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.[57] Empowered by the Phoenix, Namor destroys Wakanda with a massive tidal wave.[58] Returning to help, Storm is stunned when the Panther informs her that their marriage has been annulled.[59]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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 and increases his strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and agility to Olympic-levels. 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.[54] 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.[57]

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,[60] 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.[57]

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.[61]

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".[volume & issue needed] In Black Panther volume 4, writer Reginald Hudlin introduced such specialized equipment as "thrice-blessed armor" and "light armor" for specific tasks,[volume & issue needed] and for a short while outfitted him with the Ebony Blade of the Black Knight.[volume & issue needed]

Supporting cast[edit]

Allies[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.[62]
  • Storm - Ororo Iqadi T'Challa (née Munroe), a member of the X-Men mutant team; she is the Black Panther's wife, Queen of Wakanda, and mother of Azari.
  • Shuri - T'Challa's sister. She has taken up the role of Black Panther, and is current ruler 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.

Enemies[edit]

  • 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. He has consistently bested the Panther in personal combat.
  • 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".
  • 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.

Reception[edit]

Black Panther was ranked the 71st greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine.[63] IGN also ranked the Black Panther as the 51st greatest comic book hero stating that Black Panther could be called Marvel's Batman. Not because they have the same silhouette, but because he too is a man of immense resources and a fierce will that pushes him to be the best at what he does; IGN also stated that readers are reminded that T'Challa is a hero and a force to be reckoned with regardless of his technology and resources.[64]

Volume 3[edit]

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".[65]

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?"[66]

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.'"[67]

Volume 4[edit]

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".[68]

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".[69]

Other versions[edit]

Age of Ultron[edit]

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.[70] 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.[71]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

Bronze Panther - Is the ruler of Wakanda and is named B'Nchalla. An amalgamation of the Bronze Tiger (DC) and the Black Panther (Marvel).

Earth-6606[edit]

T'Challa is Chieftain Justice[72] a Captain Britain Corps member who featured in Excalibur #44 (1991).

Earth X[edit]

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.[73]

Exiles[edit]

An alternate version of Black Panther, called simply "Panther", is drafted onto the interdimensional superhero team the Exiles.[74] 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.[74] Unlike the stoic 616-Black Panther, The Panther is a wisecracking flirt.[74] After his assumed death on Earth-1119, his sister took up the mantle of Black Panther.[75]

Fox Kids[edit]

The Black Panther appears in issues #1 and #6-7 of Marvel Comics/Fox Kids comic book series based on the TV show The Avengers: United They Stand.

Mangaverse[edit]

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.[76]

Marvel Knights 2099[edit]

A Black Panther was featured in the Marvel Knights 2099 one shots. 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.[77]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

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.[78] 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 [79] and joins forces with the mutant group the Acolytes.[80] Decades later, T'Challa has married one of the Acolytes, Lisa Hendricks, and they have a son.[81] 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.[82] Further internal betrayal lead the Black Panther and many of his allies to be tossed through the dimensions.[83] 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.[84]

Promotional art for Ultimate Captain America Annual #1 (Dec. 2008), by Brandon Peterson.

MC2[edit]

In the MC2 universe, Black Panther has a son named T'Chaka II, who joined the A-Next as the Coal Tiger.[85]

Mutant X[edit]

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.[86]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the alternate-reality Ultimate Marvel imprint, the Black Panther is T'Challa Udaku, a mutant who is experimented on in Weapon X program of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D..[87]

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 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'s 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. now considers his son an asset of the U.S. and S.H.I.E.L.D. He subsequently contacts 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.[88]

Captain America later impersonates Black Panther during the an Ultimates confrontation with the Juggernaut.[89]

After Ultimatum, Black Panther joins the New Ultimates.[90]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

The Black Panther in the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series.
  • The Black Panther has a non-speaking cameo in the "Sanctuary" episode of the X-Men TV series.[92]
  • Black Panther appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by James C. Mathis III.[100] His origin is told in the episode "The Man in the Ant Hill". 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.

Film[edit]

Animated[edit]

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.[101]

Live action[edit]

In June 1992, Wesley Snipes announced his intention to make a film about the Black Panther.[102] By August, Snipes had begun working on the film.[103] In July 1993, Snipes announced plans to begin The Black Panther after starring in Demolition Man.[104] Snipes said in August 1993, "We have a wide-open field for comic book characters on the big screen and we've yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It's a dream come true to originate something that nobody's ever seen before." Snipes expressed interest in making sequels to The Black Panther.[105] In January 1994, Snipes entered talks with Columbia Pictures to portray the Black Panther in the film adaptation of the comic book superhero.[106] The following March, Stan Lee joined the development process for a film about the Black Panther.[107] By May, the film was in early development with Columbia Pictures.[108] In January 1996, Stan Lee said that he had not been pleased with the scripts he had encountered for the Black Panther.[109] In July 1997, the Black Panther was listed as part of Marvel Comics' film slate.[110] In March 1998, Marvel hired Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti to work on the Black Panther film adaptation.[111] In August, corporate problems at Marvel had put the Black Panther project on hold.[112] In August 1999, Snipes was set to produce, and possibly star, in the film featuring the Black Panther.[113] In Marvel's June 2000 deal with Artisan Entertainment to develop film and television adaptations, the Black Panther was one of the four names (among Captain America, Thor, and Deadpool) that surfaced.[114]

In March 2002, Snipes said he planned to do Blade 3 or Black Panther in 2003,[115] and reiterated his interest five months later.[116] In July 2004, Blade 3 director David S. Goyer said Snipes would not likely be Black Panther. "He's already so entrenched as Blade that another Marvel hero might be overkill," said Goyer.[117] 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.[118] In June 2006, Snipes told Men's Fitness magazine that much work had been done toward a film adaptation of the Black Panther, and that he hoped to have a director soon.[119] In February 2007, Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, stated that Black Panther was on Marvel's development slate.[120] In July 2007, director John Singleton said that he was approached to do Black Panther.[121] In 2009, Marvel attempted to hire a gathering of scribes to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and Vision.[122] 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.[123] On July 9, 2014, Raw Leiba revealed he is in talks to play Erik Killmonger in the film.[124] Feige said in October 2013 that a film is in development.[125][126]

Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito said he thought about making a Black Panther Marvel One-Shots film but felt it would be too complicated to do as a short film.[127]

Video games[edit]

  • 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 simulator disc, he has to battle Dark Captain America in Arcade's Murderworld.[128]
  • The Black Panther is an NPC in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 voiced by Tim Russ.[129] 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 now playable as a new downloadable character for PS3 and Xbox 360.[130]
  • Black Panther is a playable character in Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics.

Toys[edit]

  • 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.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Marvel Masterworks: Black Panther Volume 1 (Jungle Action #6-24)
  • Essential Black Panther Vol. 1 (Jungle Action #6-22, 24; Black Panther #1-10)
  • Black Panther By Jack Kirby Vol. 1 (Black Panther #1-6)
  • Black Panther By Jack Kirby Vol. 2 (Black Panther #7-12)
  • Black Panther Vol. 1: The Client (Black Panther vol. 3, #1-5)
  • Black Panther Vol. 2: Enemy of the State (Black Panther vol. 3, #6-12)
  • Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther (Black Panther vol. 4, #1-6)
  • House of M: World of M Featuring Wolverine (includes Black Panther vol. 4, #7)
  • X-Men/Black Panther: Wild Kingdom (Black Panther vol. 4, #8-9)
  • Black Panther: Bad Mutha (Black Panther vol. 4, #10-13)
  • Black Panther: The Bride (Black Panther vol. 4, #14-18)
  • Black Panther: Civil War (Black Panther vol. 4, #19-25)
  • Black Panther: Four the Hard Way (Black Panther vol. 4, #26-30)
  • Black Panther: Little Green Men (Black Panther vol. 4, #31-34)
  • Black Panther: Back To Africa (Black Panther vol. 4, #35-38, Annual #1)
  • Black Panther: Secret Invasion (Black Panther vol. 4, #39-41)
  • Black Panther: The Deadliest of the Species (Black Panther vol. 5, #1-6)
  • Black Panther: Power (Black Panther vol. 5, #7-12)
  • Doomwar (Doomwar #1-6)
  • Black Panther: Tha Man Without Fear Vol. 1 (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513-518)
  • Fear Itself: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #519-523, Black Panther: The Deadliest Man Alive #524)
  • Black Panther - The Most Dangerous Man Alive: The Kingpin of Wakanda (Black Panther: The Deadliest Man Alive #523.1, 525-529)

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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External links[edit]