With the movie Captain America: Civil War almost upon us, why not take a closer look at one of the new cast members to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I have not seen the movie yet, so most of the information we are about to present will be based on Comic Book and animated versions of the character who will be played by the excellent actor Chadwick Boseman.
T’Challa, the Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four issue #52 way back in 1966. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther was the first Black (African) Superhero, predating Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, who was the first African-American Superhero.
The African nation of Wakanda inherited a large amount of the alien mineral Vibranium via meteorite. Their leader, the King T’Chaka, cut off relations to the outside world for fear of exploitation. T’Chaka and his Queen had a son named T’Challa. The Queen N’Yami died during childbirth, leaving T’Challa to be raised by his father.
Black Panther is a mantle in Wakanda, handed down from generation to generation. T’Chaka’s brother, S’yan took over after T’Chaka was murdered by Ulysses Klaw. T’Challa would only be able to take on the mantle of Black Panther after completing the rites of passage.
T’Challa, as Black Panther actually ended up taking on the Fantastic Four as “training” to prepare himself for battle with a newly enhanced Ulysses Klaw, now outfitted with a weaponized sonic arm and known as Klaw. Later, Black Panther would cross paths and form alliances with the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, The Defenders and The Avengers.
Black Panther’s superpowers are slightly complex: a mix of technology, Mysticism and Herbalism. His powers come from the ingestion of a rare heart-shaped herb, a spiritual connection to the Wakandan Panther God and a suit made from Vibranium mesh, with sharp claws. He has enhanced strength, speed and agility as well as his genius level intellect.
There is no denying the Black Panther is a noble hero, and a powerful Avenger. His presence contributed to great moments in the animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well as the animated feature Ultimate Avengers 2 where he was featured prominently. Next up, he’s featured in Captain America: Civil War, where he is said to be a bit of a scene stealer and also in his own feature film slated for 2018.