One of T’Challa’s greatest foes returns, plus Skrulls and more Skrulls!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

Captured on a planet populated by Skrulls posing as 1930’s Earth gangsters in BLACK PANTHER #32, T’Challa, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm placed their hopes in Storm to rescue them. She discovered in BLACK PANTHER #33 that one-half of that world featured shapeshifters obsessed with Earth’s 1960’s civil rights movement, and returned to rescue the Panther and his allies in BLACK PANTHER #34.

Upon returning to Earth, Black Panther witnessed the final defeat of The Hulk by the Sentry and Tony Stark in WORLD WAR HULK #5, and found his sister Shuri and friend Monica Rambeau kidnapped by Erik Killmonger in BLACK PANTHER #35. The king of Wakanda made plans to invade neighboring Niganda to rescue the women in BLACK PANTHER #36.

Black Panther (2005) #32

Black Panther (2005) #32

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Once in Niganda, T’Challa entered into mortal combat with Killmonger in BLACK PANTHER #37, while his Wakandan forces moved to rescue Shuri and Monica. Upon spotting the Panther felled by his foe and about to be executed in BLACK PANTHER #38, Rambeau used her energy powers to zap Killmonger dead.

During Secret Invasion, the shape-shifting Skrulls invaded Wakanda to seize its precious vibranium stores in BLACK PANTHER #39, but T’Challa rooted out all spies in his midst before being confronted with the awesome Super-Skrull.

Black Panther (2005) #39

Black Panther (2005) #39

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The Panther fought and defeated The Super-Skrull in BLACK PANTHER #40, though he found himself faced with two more soon after. A traitor close to him spoiled the moment, leading to T’Challa’s capture by the invaders. He managed a clever turnaround of the situation in BLACK PANTHER #41, allowing him and his people victory over their alien opponents.

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T’Challa and Storm navigate their way through Civil War and join the Fantastic Four!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

Set up by Tony Stark, T’Challa and Storm found themselves waylaid by Iron Man and the Sentinel Squad in BLACK PANTHER #22. When our heroes refused to leave the U.S. until the Civil War between Stark and Captain America ended, the situation worsened.

Smarting from a vicious media spin on him and an attack by Black Widow in BLACK PANTHER #23, the Panther sought out Cap for answers while Storm contacted Reed Richards in BLACK PANTHER #24. When the final battle between Iron Man and Cap’s forces occurred in BLACK PANTHER #25, T’Challa and Storm fought at the resistance movement’s side until Steve Rogers surrendered in CIVIL WAR #7.

With the Wakandan Embassy destroyed, Reed invited the Panther and Storm to live at the Baxter Building in BLACK PANTHER #26, and in FANTASTIC FOUR #543, he introduced them to The Thing and The Human Torch as the newest members of the team.

Barely unpacked, T’Challa and Storm flew off with Ben and Johnny in FANTASTIC FOUR #544 to investigate the desecrated grave of the fallen hero Gravity, and their path took them to Epoch, the offspring of Ego the Living Planet. In outer space, the team battled the Silver Surfer while Epoch resurrected Gravity in FANTASTIC FOUR #545. Afterward, T’Challa helped to convince Galactus not to destroy Epoch in FANTASTIC FOUR #546.

Black Panther (2005) #26

Black Panther (2005) #26

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The Panther and Storm returned to Earth with Ben and Johnny in BLACK PANTHER #27 to find a Negative Zone monster running around the Fantastic Four’s headquarters. When T’Challa activated the Solomon Frogs to transport it away, the entire team ended up on an alien world controlled by the Skrulls. The aliens attacked them in BLACK PANTHER #28, but the battle ceased when a horde of cosmic-powered zombies arrived on the planet.

The Fantastic Four learned that they’d landed in an alternate reality in BLACK PANTHER #29, but that knowledge provided little help in holding off the zombies. With no recourse, they teleported off the world in BLACK PANTHER #30 just as the flesh-eating monsters began to devour everything.

Reed Richards returned to the Baxter Building in FANTASTIC FOUR #547 to inform the Panther and the others about a missing Invisible Woman. It all ended up in a huge skirmish against the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #548, and a new confrontation between The Black Panther and his old foe Klaw.

After the heroes triumphed over the villains in FANTASTIC FOUR #549, Reed discovered a rift in space-time that threatened the universe itself. He gathered up Gravity and The Silver Surfer to aid the team in FANTASTIC FOUR #550, and together with T’Challa and Storm they saved Eternity from dying and in turn, rescued the entire universe.

Taking a breather, The Black Panther held off a psychic onslaught from the Psycho-Man in BLACK PANTHER #31, right before being whisked away with Thing and the Torch to another alternate reality, one with Skrulls posing as Earth gangsters.

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The king of Wakanda finds his queen as Civil War rages and more!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

The Black Panther went on the prowl for a wife in New York in BLACK PANTHER #10, but after Monica Lynne turned him down he approached Luke Cage with a job offer. Then, in BLACK PANTHER #11, the criminal overlord called Han sent the Hand against the Panther and Cage when T’Challa refused to wed the villain’s daughter.

Later, the two heroes flew down to New Orleans in BLACK PANTHER #12 to help in the aftermath of a hurricane, but ran afoul of vampires. With the help of Blade and Brother Voodoo, they staked their claim to victory over the bloodsuckers in BLACK PANTHER #13.

After returning Cage to New York in BLACK PANTHER #14, T’Challa jetted back to Wakanda and proposed marriage to Storm of the X-Men, whom he’d loved for many years. She accepted his proposal in BLACK PANTHER #15 and together the happy couple announced their engagement publicly in BLACK PANTHER #16 and began to issue invitations to the impending nuptials.

Black Panther (2005) #10

Black Panther (2005) #10

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Following a bachelor party thrown by Luke Cage and Wolverine in BLACK PANTHER #17, T’Challa and Storm made their vows to each other in BLACK PANTHER #18. Reed Richards approached the Panther in CIVIL WAR #3 to issue a request from the U.S. government for aid in tracking down rogue super heroes, but the king of Wakanda refused, saying his nation must remain neutral.

The newly wed Panther and his bride traveled to Latveria in BLACK PANTHER #19, but declined Doctor Doom’s suggestion that their two countries form an alliance. Afterward, T’Challa and Storm landed on the Moon to confer with the Inhumans in BLACK PANTHER #20, and with Namor the Sub-Mariner in Atlantis in BLACK PANTHER #21.

When he could no longer avoid the repercussions of the struggle between Iron Man and Captain America, Black Panther joined Cap’s underground resistance fighters to storm Stark’s secret prison in CIVIL WAR #6.

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A new day dawns for the King of Wakanda as the X-Men and more stop by!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

The U.S. government weighed options of involving itself in the Black Panther’s nation of Wakanda in BLACK PANTHER #1, while elsewhere the hero’s old foe Klaw assembled a team of agents for his own invasion. When the National Security Agency decided to make a secret landing in Wakanda in BLACK PANTHER #2, Klaw moved to launch his strikeforce.

With backing by the neighboring nation of Niganda he’d secured in BLACK PANTHER #3, the Master of Sound rained hellfire on Wakanda’s capital in BLACK PANTHER #4. The Radioactive Man, operating on orders from Klaw, attacked the small country’s storehouse of precious vibranium in BLACK PANTHER #5, while the mastermind took T’Challa’s mother hostage.

The Panther rescued Ramonda in BLACK PANTHER #6, and his sister Shuri battled and killed Radioactive Man. T’Challa in turn faced Klaw and killed him in combat, also. When the smoke cleared from the action, The Black Panther demanded that U.S. Deathlok troops return to their home base and not remain in Wakanda.

Black Panther (2005) #1

Black Panther (2005) #1

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After the strange situation of the reality-bending House of M in BLACK PANTHER #7, the X-Men approached T’Challa in X-MEN #175 about investigating mutant creatures in strife-torn Niganda. The Panther and his mutant allies entered Wakanda’s neighboring nation in BLACK PANTHER #8 and found it nearly crippled with chaos.

The Red Ghost captured the X-Men in Niganda in X-MEN #176, while Storm reunited with T’Challa. Together, the heroes won their battle versus Red Ghost in BLACK PANTHER #9, and Storm quit the X-Men to stay in Wakanda with the Panther.

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T’Challa and Storm experience further adventures as members of the Fantastic Four!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

As we discussed when covering Dwayne McDuffie’s FANTASTIC FOUR #544-550, T’Challa and Storm took over for Reed and Sue Richards in the wake of Civil War. The team only stuck together for six issues in that book, but continued on in BLACK PANTHER #2634 by Reginald Hudlin, Manuel Garcia, Francis Portela, Andrea Divito, Cafu, and Bit.

In issue #26, T’Challa explained to his government back home that he needed to remain in the United States to work with his allies in the United Nations to figure out the post-Civil War relationships. Instead, he, Storm, and the Wakandan delegate moved into the Baxter Building and started going on adventures as the new Fantastic Four! BLACK PANTHER #27 actually picked up where FANTASTIC FOUR #550 ended, launching the team against new threats like a super-adaptive bug monster from the Negative Zone and a trip to a Skrull planet in the Marvel Zombies universe thanks to the Solomon Frogs.

At this stage in their monstrous evolution, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Giant Man had already fallen to the zombie invasion and consumed Galactus to become even more powerful and formidable. The FF did their best to save the Skrull planet, but the stakes skyrocketed after Cage realized that the Frogs could allow them to move between dimensions and realities on a cosmic buffet of worlds to devour.

Black Panther (2005) #26

Black Panther (2005) #26

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The group did its best, but the planet exploded. From there, the Frogs sent the FF first into the clutches of Psycho Man and then to Kral, the mobster-obsessed planet of Skrulls first seen back in FANTASTIC FOUR #91. When the Thing escaped the clutches of the gladiatorial system in place, he trashed a lot of the infrastructure. They erased his name from the records and rebuilt, but some of the Skrulls modeled themselves after Civil Rights Era African Americans demanding equality and peace. That failed to sit well with the establishment, as you might imagine, but Storm and Black Panther found themselves fighting not just for their own lives, but for the oppressed members of the society, two of whom took on the looks and outlooks of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.

As Skrull MLK said in issue #33: “We saw a very different world than the one taught to us decades ago. There was a new movement that emphasized morality and self-worth. We were inspired to model our lives after them.”

Before long, Storm teamed up with the planet’s version of the Black Panthers while T’Challa and Thing came face to face in the arena, but helped one another break free and also unleashed the imprisoned Human Torch. Our heroes worked together to take out the bad guys—with the Panther actually killing their leader—and then zapped back to Earth by way of the Solomon Frogs who revealed they could speak!

Secrets of Wakanda

In the original MARVEL ZOMBIES five issue limited series by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips, that world’s Black Panther fell into the clutches of Zombie Hank Pym who kept him alive in a secret lab so he could cut off pieces and eat them when he needed to. Eventually he escaped and teamed up with Zombie Wasp’s severed head and Magneto’s Acolytes who took them back to Asteroid M in outer space. While they hung out up there, the Zombies ate Galactus and took on his Power Cosmic.

Five years later, T’Challa and the Acolytes discovered that the monsters had left the planet. In that time Forge replaced his missing limbs with cybernetics and he started a relationship with Acolyte Lisa Hendricks that resulted in a child called K’Shamba. The Black Panther played important roles in MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 and MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, but even the great king couldn’t outrun the undead forever.

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The royal couple of Wakanda deal with the superhuman hostilities in their own way!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

The original Civil War ripped the super hero community apart as it raged through parts of 2006 and 2007. The event revolved around whether or not superhumans should register with the government. Iron Man supported the idea while Captain America opposed and most of the hero community fell behind one or the other, with some even switching sides midway through.

So where did the newly married Black Panther and Storm line up? Initially on neither side with the Wakandan king refusing to publicly get involved with American super-politics. However, as anyone who read the regular series or CIVIL WAR knows, our heroes soon insinuated themselves. Spanning BLACK PANTHER #1925, these issues by Reginald Hudlin, Scot Eaton, Manuel Garcia, Koi Turnbull, and Marcus To wove in and out of the main CIVIL WAR book with T’Challa and Storm weighing their options and eventually choosing a side.

It might come as a surprise, but this line of thought actually kicked off thanks to a visit to Latveria and an audience with Doctor Doom of all people. He mentioned a partnership of sorts that Namor also echoed along with the Inhumans, all whom wondered when this latest U.S.-based conflict might spill out into other countries.

Of course, it didn’t soothe matters when the King and Queen of Wakanda visited the United States to talk with the President and his people asked that Ororo officially register as a super powered individual. Iron Man didn’t help himself with Black Panther and Storm by posting Sentinels at their White House visit either.

Black Panther (2005) #22

Black Panther (2005) #22

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Eventually deciding that some precautions should be made, Black Panther and Storm firmly sided with Captain America’s anti-registration platform after the death of Bill “Goliath” Foster at the hands of the Thor clone later dubbed Ragnarok. After officially signing on with Cap’s side, T’Challa literally gave all of the squad members a sniff test to try and ferret out a traitor who eventually turned out to be Tigra. He also helped Monica Rambeau hone her powers, something Hudlin seeded a few arcs back in New Orleans.

The Panther soon figured out how to break into the Negative Zone prison that led to a huge battle on the streets of Manhattan. In BLACK PANTHER #25 we see Storm take on Ragnarok, though Hercules eventually stepped in to finish the villain off as seen in CIVIL WAR #7.

At the end of BLACK PANTHER #25, T’Challa relayed to Ororo that Captain America quit on the cause. As the ruling couple of Wakanda stood in the rubble of their own embassy, they both realized that they were on their own. However, as we know from the Dwayne McDuffie-written FANTASTIC FOUR, the couple soon joined up with Human Torch and The Thing for a time before heading back home.

Secrets of Wakanda 

T’Challa doesn’t show up very much in the main CIVIL WAR series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. He first popped up in with issue #3 when Mr. Fantastic stopped by to get him on Iron Man’s pro-registration side. Panther quickly shot the idea of helping them out down, but eventually appeared again in #6 alongside Storm with the team infiltrating the Negative Zone prison. In issue #7, T’Challa figured out coordinates to send to Cloak to move the battle from the prison to New York City, a location that soon led to the destruction of the Wakandan embassy, but also the eventual end of the conflict after Captain America surrendered.

We return to the 1970’s in BLACK PANTHER #5-8 by Jack Kirby.

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You're invited to the super-wedding of the century as T'Challa marries Storm!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

Sometimes people get hitched at the courthouse because they’re bored and in love. Others foster affection for over a decade that eventually blossoms into a love that binds two of the greatest heroes on the planet. Storm and Black Panther easily fell into the latter category when they wed in BLACK PANTHER #18 by Reginald Hudlin, Scot Eaton, and Kaare Andrews, but the four issues leading up helped get the heroes to the chapel, so to speak.

After T’Challa spent the previous quartet of issues hanging out with the likes of Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo, Blade, and Monica Rambeau he realized that his heart belonged to the one and only Ororo “Storm” Munroe of the X-Men.

With the soul-searching portion of the journey over and done, Black Panther needed to find the woman herself, though her mission to help the people of Africa by creating lakes and destroying crime rings preoccupied her mind. By the end of that reunion, Black Panther got down on one knee and proposed to the lady he’d known since a chance meeting in their youth.

However, Storm refused to offer an answer right away, instead wishing to go to Wakanda and spend some time with T’Challa in his homeland. After talking to her would-be-husband’s mom and seeing how the people of Wakanda loved their king, Ororo found the Panther and agreed to marry him!

Black Panther (2005) #14

Black Panther (2005) #14

What is Marvel Unlimited?

From there, it became a matter of wedding planning, which in this case involved S.H.I.E.L.D. worrying about security threats, Wakandans wondering why their king wanted to marry an outsider, old flames like the Jack Kirby-created Princess Zanda coming out of the woodwork, and helping Ororo’s grandparents take out a Hydra attack squad. Oh, and star-studded bachelor and bachelorette parties.

All of that lead up to a ceremony that mixed a variety of traditions that everyone from President Bush and Fidel Castro to Professor X and The Watcher attended. T’Challa even tried to use the happy occasion as a way to bring peace between Captain America and Iron Man during Civil War, but to no avail.

Given that the union became sanctioned and approved by the Panther God and the only fight took place between Spider-Man and Man-Ape, the wedding of Black Panther and Storm ranks as one of the most beautiful and least attacked ceremonies in Marvel history. Of course, that didn’t stop Doctor Doom from sending a wedding present and asking for a meeting, but that’s a story for another entry.

Secrets of Wakanda 

As recounted in a piece by Jim McCann in the back of the issue, Marvel wanted to make sure that Storm’s wedding dress looked perfect they went to an actual designer to create the look. In this case, Shawn Dudley, the costume designer for the soap opera “Guiding Light” took on the challenge. He came up with watercolor paintings that Frank Cho then used to create the cover for BLACK PANTHER #18 and Eaton based his interior work on. For the whole story, including interviews with Dudley and Eaton, check out the issue on Marvel Unlimited!

Next, T’Challa tries on a new moniker as the Black Leopard in FANTASTIC FOUR #119 from 1972 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema!

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Reginald Hudlin & Scot Eaton team T'Challa with Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, Blade, Brother Voodoo & Monica Rambeau!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

By now we all know that T’Challa and Ororo wedded in the now-classic BLACK PANTHER #18, but before that, the King of Wakanda had to come the realization that she was the one for him. Much of that soul-searching came in the pages of BLACK PANTHER #1013 by Reginald Hudlin and Scot Eaton.

Thanks to a reminder from the Queen Mother, T’Challe realized that being the ruler not only included taking on the Black Panther mantle, but also building a family and siring heirs. In other words, she told him it was time to get married! 

T’Challa then headed to New York City where he met with Monica Lynne. She reminded him that her life remained in constant danger when they dated, that his mother doesn’t like her and, most importantly, that they both understood that another woman held the status of his true love.

Black Panther (2005) #10

Black Panther (2005) #10

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After that, T’Challa and the Dora Milaje jumped to a club where they ran into Luke Cage and the famous rapper he’d been hired to bodyguard. The night ended with Black Panther and Luke Cage hanging out at the latter’s place where a small army of sword-wielding ninjas attacked!

All of that acted as an invitation for T’Challa to travel to China to visit Han, Shang-Chi’s dad, who wanted to marry Shang’s sister Kwai Far off to the king of Wakanda. The Panther attempted to politely decline, but that didn’t go so well and another battle ensued with the Master of Kung Fu there to help.

On their way back to the States, T’Challa and Cage visited New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to stop “certain predatory elements,” which turned out to be vampires! There, our heroes meet up with Blade, Brother Voodoo, and Monica Rambeau to put a stop to the bloodsuckers’ reign partially thanks to Black Panther sliding into his thrice-blessed armor and wielding the ebony blade confiscated from the new Black Knight in the first arc.

Not only do these four issues include some amazing super hero team up battles with Black Panther at the center of them, but also Hudlin and Eaton’s updated takes on a variety of genres ranging from horror to kung-fu and beyond!

SECRETS OF WAKANDA 

Currently, Black Panther and Monica Rambeau–now going by Spectrum–serve together on the team in ULTIMATES by Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort. Along with fellow members like Captain Marvel, Ms. America, and Blue Marvel, the group attempt to fix huge problems like Galactus’ hunger and the ravages of constant time travel on the space-time continuum. These days Spectrum uses her powers in all kinds of amazing ways, which is interesting because T’Challa said to her, “You have the power of the sun at your disposal and you use it like a six-shooter. You manipulate matter on a molecular lever. You are a goddess. Act like it.” When the Wakandan king talks, people listen.

Captain Britain, Meggan, Shadowcat, Captain America and War Machine visit Wakanda in EXCALIBUR #5960 by Scott Lobdell and Scott Kolins.

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T'Challa and his people defend Wakanda from the threat of Super Skrulls!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

K’vvvr might have had the most difficult mission in all of the Skrull’s Secret Invasion: invade Wakanda. Told in BLACK PANTHER #39#41 by Jason Aaron and Jefte Palo in 2008, the story of his ultimate failure remains a true classic.

Though the invaders knocked out Wakanda’s power, the home team succeeded in doing the same to the incoming fleet. On relatively equal footing, the Skrulls only found bludgeons and swords to wield against their prey, but all of this fit in with T’Challa’s plan. “We’ve got them exactly where we want them,” he said before leading an army against the green-skinned aliens.

T’Challa’s true test came in the form of a Super Skrull with Bullseye’s aim, Danny Rand’s Iron Fist, Wolverine’s claws, Luke Cage’s impenetrable skin and fighting skills from Moon Knight, Shang Chi, Captain America, Daredevil, Elektra, and the Panther himself. The alien explained that he’d trained his whole life to take out Black Panther, to which T’Challa responded, “I have trained my entire life to face the unknown.”

Though he understood that the Skrull could easily outfight him, Black Panther knew that he needed to keep it up long enough to find the creature’s weak points—like the fact that it could only use one power at once. Using this information, the Panther snapped the Skrull’s arm, beat him senseless and snatched out one of his eyes. Defeated, that opponent was replaced by two more Super Skrulls to battle T’Challa: one a mix of Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and Loki, the other combining Hulk, Thing, Juggernaut, and other powerhouses.

Black Panther did pretty well against his attackers until his enemies revealed that they used one last spy in Wakanda to capture Queen Ororo, otherwise known as the X-Man Storm, then T’Challa’s wife. Tied up alongside Ororo, T’Challa pledged to hunt down the entire Skrull race if they hurt his wife. After more boasting by the head Skrull, Black Panther told them all to go to hell at the behest of the queen before taking a horrible beating from the invaders.

Black Panther (2005) #39

Black Panther (2005) #39

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to some voice modulators and other technology, T’Challa and Ororo switched places with their captors and infiltrated the leader’s quarters where they unceremoniously stabbed him through with swords. The Wakandans beat back the invaders and left a simple message in blood on the walls:

“This is what happens when you invade Wakanda.”  

Ultimately, the difference between winning and losing this battle came down to the leaders of the respective sides. While T’Challa pledged himself to the continued safety and honor of his people, his counterpart had grown tired of waging war for a ruling body he no longer fully believed in anymore.

Secrets of Wakanda

BLACK PANTHER #41 ended the volume launched by Reginald Hudlin in 2005. The writer soon after returned for BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1 from 2008 with artists Larry Stroman and Ken Lashley. That issue not only features the return of Solomon’s Frog from early in Jack Kirby’s BLACK PANTHER run, but also a look at a future in which T’Challa and Storm remain married and have a family. This issue not only looked back at the long view stance Wakanda took as the slave trade ravaged neighboring villages, but also ahead to a still never seen mega-conflict with the United States. The issue marks a nice endcap to Hudlin’s run on this volume, though he did return for to launch the next volume of BLACK PANTHER as well as a limited series called CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.

Next, BLACK PANTHER crosses over with X-MEN in Wild Kingdom by Reginald Hudlin, Peter Milligan, David Yardin and Salvador Larroca. 

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Get that question and more answered in this expanded origin tale!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

Every long-lasting hero needs a bit of an update now and then. Director-turned-BET President of Entertainment Reginald Hudlin stepped in for exactly that along with artist John Romita Jr. to recreate the T’Challa’s early days in the pages of BLACK PANTHER #16 which debuted in 2005.

To give Wakanda even more cultural and technological significance, the first issue features a variety of attempted invasions by outside forces that soon discover why this place remains one of the few unconquered nations on the planet! Readers also see exactly how T’Challa became the Black Panther, besting the then-current representative, his uncle S’yan, years after the death of his father, T’Chaka.

Speaking of that death, instead of Klaw just traveling to Wakanda to get his hands on Vibranium, he’s revealed as an assassin with a hatred for the place because his relative died as one of the foolish invaders back in the 19th century. He gladly takes on the assignment of killing the chieftain at a global economic conference right in front of his family. Though he succeeds in his primary mission, a shot from the young T’Challa not only saves his mother and sister, but also removes Klaw’s hand.

Fueled by long-standing hatred, Klaw—now wielding a cybernetic enhanced hand with sonic powers—puts together a team of super villains including the body-swapping Cannibal, Rhino, Batroc, Igor “Radioactive Man” Stancheck, and a new Church-sanctioned Black Knight to destroy Wakanda. He also makes a deal with the neighboring despot of Niganda to use his country as a staging ground, all of which fails to go over well with the Black Panther.

Black Panther (2005) #1

Black Panther (2005) #1

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The Wakandans make relatively short work of most of Klaw’s agents, but some temporarily get the upper hand on Panther’s mother the Queen and sister Shuri. And yet, T’Challa understands that the women his life can more than handle themselves and that they all agree the safety of the nation surpasses the importance of their own.

As all of this goes on, the United States government presses Everett K. Ross for information about Wakanda, giving the reader an excellent history lesson in the process. Feeling uncomfortable with the nation’s immense power, resources and wealth, the U.S. sends in zombie troops to “help.” As you might expect, they arrive after Black Panther and his people put down the threat. The king shows mercy in giving them one hour to remove themselves from Wakandan soil before considering their presence an act of war.

Hudlin’s first arc of the series not only builds on and reshapes Black Panther and Wakanda, but also firmly places both in the Marvel Universe by utilizing a unique variety of existing characters to tell a story that expertly displays not only the benefits of an intricate shared universe, but also the immense talents of Romita, Jr. and his sometimes-beautiful and sometimes-brutal pages.

Secrets of Wakanda

Ever wonder exactly how the Black Panther mantle moves down through the ages? Ross explains all of it in issue #2: “The Black Panther is the ruler of Wakanda. It’s a spiritually-based warrior cult. Sort of like being Pope, President and head of the joint chiefs of staff all at once.” He goes on to detail that, while the title does move down the hereditary line, subjects must train from youth to even have a chance of obtaining the honor. Still, to keep the process open, anyone can challenge the Panther to combat on a certain day every year. T’Challa bested his uncle on one such day to take the role previously held by his slain father. As it turns out, T’Challa’s sister intended to take their uncle on that same day, but her brother literally beat her to the punch.

Next, head back to the first time the Black Panther teams up with the Man Without Fear in DAREDEVIL #52 by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith.

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