Dive into the Marvel library with Erik Killmonger!
Before Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hits the big screen this weekend, we decided to look back at the comic book history of a few of T’Challa’s greatest nemeses. Part One covered the life and times of Ulysses Klaue, and today we’ll review the Black Panther’s other archenemy: N’Jadaka, A.K.A. Erik Killmonger!
Forced into servitude by the evil Ulysses Klaue, N’Jadaka’s father was forced to help the mastermind steal vibrantium from Wakanda. The heist culminated in Klaue’s murder of King T’Chaka before the villain went on a rampage, killing N’Jadaka’s entire family before taking him captive.
After escaping Klaue’s clutches, N’Jadaka ended up in Harlem, New York. There, the young man developed a deep hatred for T’Chaka, believing that his weak leadership was responsible for the death of his family. In return for these perceived failures, N’Jadaka vowed to take revenge on T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa. During his time in Harlem, N’Jadaka changed his name to Erik Killmonger and dedicated his life to avenging his family’s murder.
Erik cultivated his combat skills, and eventually got his Doctorate in engineering, before contacting T’Challa himself for permission to return to Wakanda. His request was granted, and once in the country, the villain began working to overthrow the King. After wreaking havoc on several small villages, Killmonger lured The Black Panther into coming to help. Then, using his trained leopard, Preyy, as well as a number of his followers, the man formerly known as N’Jadaka attacked. After being defeated in his initial run-in, Killmonger returned again with the aid of fellow baddies Sombre and King Cadaver. After another battle, T’Challa prevailed again, this time killing his foe in the process.
Killmonger was resurrected by his followers and, in a meeting of villainous minds, teamed up with Klaue to take down T’Challa. This time, however, he succeeded, defeating T’Challa and taking control of Wakanda. Though, when Killmonger tried to consume the Heart-Shaped Herb to undergo the full process of becoming The Black Panther, the Herb turned out to be poisonous to those not of the royal bloodline. After recovering from being poisoned, Erik learned that T’Challa had retaken his place on the throne, but had not resumed his duties as The Black Panther—a New York cop named Kaspar Cole had taken over the mantle instead. Killmonger created a synthetic version of the Heart-Shaped Herb and came to New York City for a rendezvous with Cole, and attempted to woo him into revolting against T’Challa to no avail.
Recently, since T’Challa resumed his position as The Black Panther, Killmonger was the despotic ruler of Wakanda’s neighbor country, Niganda. After capturing T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, Wakanda invaded in retaliation and, in the chaos, Erik Killmonger was killed again.
Meet Erik Killmonger, Ulysses Klaue, and the rest of the characters in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” on February 16!
Mary Jane appeared to suffer a dire fate, while the Green Goblin sought his revenge.
For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe and the web-slinger will swing onto the silver screen once again in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” this May! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story…
Hoping to patch up his marriage with Mary Jane in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13, Peter Parker attempted to see her off at the airport, but missed her. Later, her plane exploded in mid-air…
In PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #13, Cletus Kasady painted himself up as Carnage and embarks on a killing spree. Peter learned of MJ’s plane exploding in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14, but Spider-Woman’s declaration of love for him demanded his immediate attention. After a run-in with the Hulk, he began to struggle with the plane accident in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #14.
A mysterious phone call in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 informed Peter of his wife’s survival in far-off Latveria, so as Spidey he jetted to the little European nation to clash with a Doctor Doom robot in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #15 and come up empty-handed in his search for Mary Jane. Returning from Latveria in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #16, the “Parker Luck” continued with his eviction from his home and the loss of his new job at Tricorp. Meanwhile, Venom battled the Sandman in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #16 and delivered a vicious bite to the former criminal.
Sandman, feeling ill from the bite, sought payback on Electro and Mysterio in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17. Kraven the Hunter used the wallcrawler as bait to lure Venom into a trap in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #17 and a Green Goblin appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #18. Spidey confronted the villain in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #18 and learned of its artificial nature, a construct of Norman Osborn, the original Goblin.
Peter temporarily donned his black Spidey costume and clashed with Venom in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19, and a box related to Mary Jane arrived in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #19, forcing Peter to finally accept his wife’s apparent demise. The webslinger took a beating from a Spider-Slayer in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20, and saved loved ones from other Slayers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #21.
Peter tried to get his humor back while visiting his Uncle Ben’s grave in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #20, and after apprehending a new street mime criminal gang, he tried stand-up comedy at an open mic night in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #21. The evil Senator Ward captured the Venom symbiote in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #22, exhibited strange powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23, and revealed his collusion with aliens in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24.
Norman Osborn sought help to heal his mind in SPIDER-MAN: REVENGE OF THE GREEN GOBLIN #1 while Sandman sought revenge on the webslinger in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #22. A new menace called Typeface manifested in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #23, and ran amuck in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #24. Peter experienced weird dreams and delusions thanks to Osborn’s machinations in SPIDER-MAN: REVENGE OF THE GREEN GOBLIN #2 and the man’s twisted plan to create an heir out of his enemy in SPIDER-MAN: REVENGE OF THE GREEN GOBLIN #3.
Chris Claremont, Carmine Infantino and Walt Simonson tell an epic Princess Leia story.
Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.
Back in 1981, three undisputed comic book legends came together to tell another story showcasing Princess Leia Organa’s absolute awesomeness. Published in the the original STAR WARS series from Marvel, this Legends story from STAR WARS #53 and #54 features the immense talents of Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson and Carmine Infantino.
The story began with Leia thinking of all she lost when the Empire ordered the destruction of her beloved home Alderaan, but that trip down memory lane came to an end when duty called. The Blockade Runner she traveled in reached a planet called Shiva that had garnered Imperial interest. She and Captain Chedaki planned to take a shuttle to figure out why, but when the Runner hit space mines, the plan got scuttled.
The shuttle itself caught on fire, so to save everyone else – Chedaki perished in the initial explosion – she flew the craft out of the larger Rebel vessel and crash landed on Shiva itself. There she survived on her own for a few days before running into Aron Preacebringer and his band of warriors including Keran and Delois. This group found themselves locked in a war with the Outcasts in a battle mostly fought with swords and blasters.
At first, Leia and Aron did not understand one another because of the language barrier and the Translatacomp did not recognize the speech at all. After fending off the Outcasts, the group returned to Aron’s throne city where he reunited with his wife Alisande. While there, Aron tried to figure out who had bombed one of the nearby cities and Leia acclimated to life on Shiva as best she could, though the growing feelings between Peacebringer and herself threatened to complicate her stay.
Conflicted about being rescued by the Rebels – part of her liked the sound of living a far more simple life on this out-of-the-way planet – Leia soon found herself in the middle of a much bigger problem as Imperial Blackguards came out of nowhere and subdued both her and Aron before taking them to their boss, Imperial Strike Force General Sk’Ar.
Once in the villain’s clutches, Aron learned that his compatriot Delois had betrayed them. He sold them out to the Empire and would become the planet’s leader after the Imperials took over. After learning how Sk’Ar intended to take Shiva over, Aron and Leia broke free of their captors and escaped into a ship that they used to catch up with a bomber. They dismantled the bomb aboard the craft, but received some unexpected help from Luke Skyalker who seemingly appeared out of nowhere to stop Delios from getting the drop on Leia.
With most of the villains wrapped up by the combined might of Aron’s men and the Millennium Falcon’s usual crew, Sk’Ar attempted to make an escape that Chewbacca stopped by throwing a solid steel gun mount so hard at the craft that it exploded!
The elaborate celebration afterwards came to an abrupt end for the Falcon-fliers when word of a Star Destroyer in orbit called them to action. Luke took the controls from Lando and worked some fancy flying as he took the ship close enough to a black hole, but darted away after the Destroyer got stuck in its pull.
After all of this death and destruction, Leia showed why she was a formidable Rebel leader. She not only mourned the loss of her homeworld, but also all of the sentient lives who came to an end on that Star Destroyer and in the war in general. Luke even offered to drop her back off on Shiva and say that the rescue mission came up empty handed. Leia persevered, though, saying “I am Princess of Alderaan, Luke. Fate has cast me as a leader of the Rebellion. For better or worse, whatever the outcome…I’ll play that role to the finish.”
From the Jedi Temple Archives
If some of the characters in this story, like Aron Peacebringer seem somewhat familiar, that’s because they began life as pages for the JOHN CARTER WARLORD OF MARS series that Marvel produced between 1977 and 1979. Carmine Infantino drew several pages that wound up not getting published because the series came to an end. Chris Claremont and Walt Simonson then came in to take the existing material, tweak it a bit and come up with a Star Wars story turned out to be a fantastic spotlight on Princess Leia!
Discover the history of Ulysses Klaue!
Before Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hits the big screen this weekend, we decided to dive into the Marvel library to look at the comic book history of a few of T’Challa’s greatest nemeses. First up: Ulysses Klaue!
During World War II, German Colonel Fritz Klaue was sent into Wakanda to steal government and military secrets. His secret visit to Wakanda left a major impression on the man, and after the war, he raised his son, Ulysses, with tales of the African nation’s majesty. When Ulysses grew up, he earned his Doctorate in physics before making his full debut in the pages of 1966’s FANTASTIC FOUR #53.
In search of a power source for his greatest experiment—a sound transducer capable of converting sound waves into physical mass—Klaue stole precious vibranium metal, only found in Wakanda, from the kingdom. In the process of this theft, Klaue murdered the Wakandan ruler and Black Panther, T’Chaka. T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, was devastated by the loss, took up his father’s former mantles as both the king and the sacred warrior, and vowed to get revenge on Klaue. During T’Challa and Klaue’s first encounter, the villain escaped, but the Panther managed to to chop off his hand during the fight.
Ulysses Klaue retreated, consolidated his new powers, and became a master of sound energy. He invented a molybdenum steel sound generator and affixed it to his right wrist as a prosthetic, and named it the “force glove.” This weapon enabled him to transform ambient sound into concussive blasts as well as mobile sound projections that can carry out actions on his behalf. The “force glove” eventually gave way to a different vibranium-powered sonic converter that allowed Klaue to convert his physical body into a creature of psionically “solidified” sound energy. This sonic state made him more dangerous than ever before—rendering him nearly immortal as his body could be torn apart and then fuse back together. This sound energy state, however, had its drawbacks: it left him more susceptible to vibranium attacks, which caused his solid form to collapse into loose energy.
Klaue went on to evade the Black Panther as well as various other heroes (most notably the Fantastic Four) for several years. Though, in 1979’s MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #57, Klaue battled the hero Dazzler, and saw his humanoid sonic form dissolve. His non-corporeal form blasted into outer space, where he remained for some time. As the vaccuum of space is not conducive to sound waves, the villain was unable to reform his sonic self.
He remained unable to take solid form again until he was collected by Galactus and restored to his humanoid state by Doctor Doom during the events of Secret Wars. Having been without his physical form for so long, the man had gone insane and was speaking only in rhyme. After returning to Earth, Klaue began to heal, and the agency known as A.I.M. eventually assured that his vacuum episode would never happen again when they enabled him to exist in outer space. A.I.M. also installed the powers of the “force glove” into Klaue’s body itself.
After joining various villainous groups including A.I.M., the Frightful Four, the Pacific Overlords, and the Masters of Evil, Ulysses Klaue most recently met up again with T’Challa in the pages of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ BLACK PANTHER. The reappearance of Ulysses Klaue revealed the character’s unexpectedly humanizing backstory and motivations; he took up his research and sought after vibranium as a means to heal his sister, who had been in a coma for years. Despite the legitimate sources of his machinations, Klaue still worked to bring an uprising against T’Challa, recruiting an army from nearby nations to bring war to the land of Wakanda.
Come back tomorrow for a look at another Black Panther villain: Erik Killmonger! Then meet the cinematic villains this weekend in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther”!