What Is The Black Panther?

I’ve been talking all week now about the Black Panther, but I’ve never actually told you what the Black Panther is!

So, here’s everything you need to know about what it means to be Black Panther, who can be Black Panther, and everyone who has previously held the mantel!

What Does It Mean To Be The Black Panther?

To be the Black Panther means to be the protector of Wakanda – an African nation of the Marvel Universe. It comes with also being the ruler of the nation of Wakanda and is passed down the generations.

How Can Someone Become The Black Panther?

The prospective new Black Panther must fight the current Black Panther, as well as 6 of Wakanda’s greatest warriors at the same time. After that, they must perform several more secret tasks to prove their skills and their worthiness of the title. If they succeed and also become the ruler of Wakanda, they are then covered in the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb, a plant mutated by vibranium, which then enhances the senses of the warrior.

If the person is not worthy of the process, it is said that they will die.

Black Panther (1998) panel by Mark Texeira

What Powers Come With Being The Black Panther?

The Heart-Shaped Herb, when applied, changes the Black Panther’s body so that it has enhanced speed, agility, strength, endurance, durability and healing. Their senses are so heightened that they can see in complete darkness, trace any scent and hear the heartbeats of their enemies. The Black Panther also has a connection to the Panther Goddess Bast, which gives them the ability to communicate with previous Black Panthers.

Who Has Been Black Panther In Marvel Comics?

Previously, there was at least one Black Panther per generation, but Marvel Comics hasn’t shown all of them. The most notable though have been:

Black Panther 1,000,000 BC, a prehistoric Black Panther who teamed up with Odin, Agamotto and prehistoric versions of Ghost Rider and Iron Fist in the Stone Age Avengers.

Bashenga, who was technically the first Black Panther, and the creator of Wakanda. He was there when the meteorite of Vibranium hit the Earth – he gathered the surrounding villagers and unified them under the name Wakanda, and became the first person to have a spiritual connection to Bast, which led to the idea of the Black Panther.

Nehanda, a Black Panther was a part of the 1000 A.D. version of the Avengers, and a past Panther T’Challa has called upon for counsel.

Fantastic Four issue 608 (2012) by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Chanda (sometimes known as Azzuri, though the two could be two separate characters… comics are confusing), T’Challa’s grandfather, and ruler of Wakanda during the Second World War. He was a compassionate leader, who befriended a Nazi colonel named Fritz Klaue (the father of Ulysses Klaue) when his plane crashed in Wakanda. The two fell out over Wakanda’s religion, which lead to Chanda excluding Klaue from the country, but not before he became obsessed with Wakanda, which then was passed on to his son.

T’Chaka, T’Challa’s and Shuri’s father, was more of an isolationist in terms of Wakandan outreach, though he did adopt Hunter, a white boy whose parents died in a plane crash over Wakandan air space, and did collaborate with the U.S. government when it was needed. T’Chaka was eventually killed by Ulysses Klaue when he caught Klaue trying to steal Vibranium.

S’Yan, T’Challa and Shuri’s uncle, took over as King/Black Panther after T’Chaka was killed, and T’Challa was too young to take over. He was one of the most beloved leaders of the country but still stepped aside when T’Challa defeated him in battle.

Killmonger, like in the 2018 Black Panther film, Killmonger defeated T’Challa in battle and took the Heart-Shaped Herb. But, as he was not worthy, he fell into a coma and his scientist henchmen created a synthetic version to bring him back to life, and give him the Black Panther powers. His time in power was short-lived, as T’Challa staged an attack on him to reclaim Wakanda, and Monica Rambeau killed him.

Shuri, who took over when T’Challa was in a coma. Even after his revival, the two both remained as Black Panther, marking the first time in history that there have been two Avatars of the Panther Goddess at one time.

And that’s a rundown of all things Black Panther! I hope this gave more of an idea to the character, and the mantel, and if you have any questions, leave them down below and I’ll get right on it!

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