|“||Today we are all the Black Panther! And today we will fight as one! For Wakanda!||„|
|~ Black Panther|
The Black Panther (T'Challa) is a fictional superhero appearing in publications by Marvel Comics. Created by the late writer-editor Stan Lee and the late 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 and Luke Cage, and DC Comics' Mal Duncan, Tyroc, Black Lighting and Green Lantern John Stewart.
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 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. 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. 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. T'Challa later joined the Avengers, beginning a long association with that superhero team. He first battled the Man-Ape while with the group, and then met the American singer Monica Lynne, 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. He encountered Daredevil, and revealed to him that he had deduced Daredevil's secret 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 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 T'Challa eventually proposes and becomes engaged to Monica Lynne, 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 soveriengty 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
T'Challa then helps Ororo Munroe (alias Storm), with whom he had a brief romance during his teens, 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 However, he failed to reunite both Captain America and Iron Man because of their opposing views on the Superhuman Registration Act
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 were hurt. After the confrontation, the Panther and Storm briefly fill in for vacationing Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards before returning to Wakanda
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.
Powers and Abilities
- Divine Empowerment: T'Challa was originally enhanced by the Heart-Shaped Herb, which granted him to have Super Soldier powers. He was given additional powers by the Goddess Bast, when he became the King of the Dead. This blessing seems to have restored him to the same power levels which he possessed as the chosen Black Panther. Aside from his senses, T'Challa's natural strength, speed, agility, durability, healing, stamina, and reflexes have been augmented to nearly superhuman degree.
- Black Panther Knowledge: T'Challa has the power to draw all the knowledge, strength, and every experience from every previous Black Panther.
- Superhumanly Acute Senses: T'Challa can see with greater clarity and greater distances than any ordinary human. His vision extends into the ultraviolet and infrared areas of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing him to see in near-total darkness and retain the same level of clarity. T'Challa's hearing is similarly enhanced, enabling him to detect sounds normal humans can't and sounds they ordinarily could but at much greater distances. T'Challa can memorize tens of thousands of scents. His sense of smell enables him to recognize people/objects by scent, even if they are well hidden. He can track a target by scent and track them to the exact location, can smell fear, and detect if someone is lying by change in body odor. T'Challa's sense of taste is sensitive to the point that he is able to taste the exact ingredients of any particular food he is eating.
- Peak Human Strength: T'Challa's strength is enhanced to the peak of human potential. He received a blessing from the Panther Goddess Bast, which elevated his strength between peak human and superhuman levels. His physical strength is noticeably superior to any Olympic-class weightlifter and far superior to normal humans, allowing him to press lift approximately 800 lbs (363 kgs). His legs extends with his strength, enabling him to leap approximately 10 feet off the ground and 15 feet in a standing broad jump.
- Peak Human Speed: T'Challa is able to run and move at speeds superior to any Olympic-class runners. At peak capacity, he is capable of reaching speeds up to 35 mph. He has the ability to attack faster than the eye can follow. His combat speed seems more enhanced then anything else, as he has frequently kept up with other enemies in combat, and blitzed people before they pull their trigger fingers.
- Peak Human Stamina: T'Challa's body eliminates the excessive build-up of fatigue-producing poisons in his muscles and his musculature generates considerably less fatigue toxins than the muscles of an ordinary human being, granting him exceptional endurance, and lung capacity. He can physically exert himself at peak capacity for an hour before fatigue toxins begin to impair him. His lung capacity is at the peak human levels, enabling him to hold his breath underwater for 6 minutes.
- Peak Human Durability: T'Challa's skin, muscle, and bone tissues are augmented to levels that are much denser and harder than normal humans, making him far more durable and resistant to damage to various degrees.
- Peak Human Regeneration: T'Challa's enhanced healing speed and capabilities allows him to have a conditioned metabolism and immune system that enables extraordinarily efficient healing.
- Peak Human Agility: T'Challa's equilibrium, balance, flexibility, dexterity, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels superior to any Olympic-level athlete that has ever competed. This gives him cat-like agility.
- Peak Human Reflexes: T'Challa's reaction time are beyond the natural limits of an Olympic-level athlete, allowing him to dodge multiple gunfire at point-blank range with ease. He has been noted to have reflexes faster than an actual panther.
- Master Martial Artist: T'Challa has been groomed to be a warrior since birth. He is a master in practically all forms of armed and unarmed combat, having mastered various styles of martial arts from around the world. He is considered to be one of the best martial artists to have ever walked the Earth. He has stalemated, and at times even gained the upper hand against various highly skilled martial artists such as Captain America, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and many other dangerous opponents in hand-to-hand combat. He was able to overpower Wolverine twice without much difficulty, even when Wolverine was using his claws. Captain America himself said that when he won against T'Challa, he was not his usual self, seeming weaker than he actually was. He was shown to be skilled enough to defeat the skilled combatant Karnak with a single blow to the head.
- Genius Intelligence: T'Challa is a polymath genius and has an eidetic (aka photographic) memory. His knowledge of physics and engineering ranks him among the top eight intellects of the world. He possesses accomplishments such as a PhD in physics from Oxford University. He also combined alchemy with science to create a new scientific field called Shadow Physics, a dangerous discipline which allowed him to track Vibranium on a quantum level, craft weapons which would be particularly effective against Vibranium, and create an unstable teleportation device which at the time ripped apart anyone using it with great healing ability.
- Master Tactician: T'Challa is a genius tactician, strategist, and leader who is practically peerless. He was taught tactics and strategies in his youth by his father who encouraged him to always think two steps ahead of his enemies and three steps ahead of his friends. His prowess is such that he is able to out think and out maneuver individuals such as Tony Stark, and other geniuses.
- Master Inventor: He can invent various devices with special properties when needed. He possesses engineering abilities and intellect that makes him a peer and has proven to be able to invent and create weaponry that rivals their engineering capabilities. T'Challa can also duplicate practically any other technologies after learning how they work or by glancing at the designs.
- Highly Influential Connections: As King of Wakanda, T'Challa has access to a vast collection of magical artifacts, technological and military hardware, as well as the support of his nation's wide array of scientists, adventurers, and superheroes.
- Diplomatic Immunity: As the leader of a sovereign nation, He often visits the United States or the United Nations for political reasons. He enjoys diplomatic immunity during these trips, and his embassy is considered foreign soil.
- Kimoyo Card: An extremely powerful and versatile PDA. It functions similarily to the Avengers communicards, but with many more pracitcal applications. In one instance, T'Challa called up a schematic of a jumbo jet's cockpit controls and took command of the plane, landing it safely in a river.
- Panther Habit: As chieftan of the Wakandan Panther Clan, T'Challa is crowned with a ceremonial regalia in the form of a Vibranium-laced Panther Habit. He received this crown-like garb after being judged by the Panther Goddess. The appearance of the suit has changed over time, but has retained its ability to absorb vibrations via its Vibranium lacing, as well as negate or lessen powerful kinetic based attacks such as bullets shots, penetrating blades, and crushing blows. The lenses in the mask cut glare and enhance the T'Challa's natural night vision, and allow him to see in infra-red and other visual spectrum. The suit features:
- Vibranium Microweave Mesh: The microweave robs incoming objects of their momentum; bullets do not ricochet off, but simply fall to the ground when they come in contact with the weave. Likewise, the Panther cannot be stabbed; however, the costume can be cut if the attacker slashes along the uniform's grain.
- Anti-Metal Claws: The Claws in the gloves are made of Antarctic Vibranium-based "Anti-Metal" that can break down basically all metals at the molecular level.
- Energy-Dampening Boots: Energy regulators create varying fields from the Vibranium in the molded soles of the boots, enabling Panther to land soundlessly without any injury from heights of 50 feet. Given enough momentum, T'Challa can also scale walls or skim across water. The field can be also used offensively to shatter or weaken objects, or defensively to rob incoming objects of their momentum as shown when he stopped a car thrown by the Hulk from crushing him by using the Vibranium in his boots.
- Disguise Technology: The cloak can be elongated, shortened or eliminated with a thought, and the entire costume can be reconfigured by a light energy pulse allowing it to pass as normal street clothes or render T'Challa completely invisible.
- Teleportation Device: T'Challa has also been shown using a teleportation device as part of his standard gear.
- Hard-Light Shielding: T'Challa was shown using a small shield comprised of hardened light, to defend himself and others as part of his standard gear.
- Vibranium Energy Daggers: Energy constructed blades, T'Challa has the ability to gauge between power levels, releasing a beam, powerful enough to slice through various structures and foes. This weapon can also be fired as a projectile. Energy daggers are T'Challa's default weapon of choice in armed combat situations.
- Force Push: T'Challa can use the stored kinetic energy in his suit to either enhance his strikes or release it as an omnidirectional energy burst.
Heavenly Armor: Lightweight body armor covering the user from head to toe in a similar fashion as Iron Man that operates by thought. It offers flight at high speeds, enhanced strength, and more protection in combat. The armor provides protection against mystical attacks and is equipped with various weapons.
Vibranium Armor: A special armor used during the Superhuman Civil War.
- Sky-Cycle: T'Challa has access to an advanced version of the Sky-Cycle.
- Advanced Wakandan Aircraft.
- Can have the Panther Goddess teleport him and others to a destination of his choice.
Other weapons: swords, spears, shields, knives, clubs, bows, quivers and arrows. A large variety of firearms and other weapons used for close range, as well as technological weapons and devices such as a large power glove.
- T'Challa is similar to Black Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Zack Taylor from the original television version of the series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, being that both characters are black persons of black costume and also to other Black Power Ranger Will Aston from the series Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, also black person, being that in his Black Overdrive Ranger uniform, boots and gloves are of the same color that the costume.
- The design of the original costume of Black Panther is similar to NinjaBlack costume used by Jiraiya from Kakurangers and his counterpart Corcus (Black Aquitar Ranger) and also to AbareBlack costume used by Asuka from Abarangers and his counterpart Tommy Oliver from the television series Power Rangers in Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
Later Main Team Members