One of Marvel’s top martial artists, the Black Panther has achieved renown not only through his intellect and nobility, but also through his combat prowess. The powers of the Heart-Shaped Herb only augment what the bearer of the Black Panther identity already possesses, allowing for the ruler of Wakanda to be on the country’s front lines.
In the tumultuous world of the Marvel Universe, T’Challa has had to do so plenty of times. In addition to battling his own personal enemies, T’Challa has fought a myriad of foes, ranging from the enemies of super-groups he’s joined to acting as a pawn of cosmic beings.
10/10 Black Panther And Wolverine’s First Meeting Was A Brawl
Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions #3: Written by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by John Romita Sr., inks by Pablo Marcos, colors by Don Warfield and Carl Gafford, and letters by Joe Rosen
1982’s Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions was the company’s first ever miniseries. The series saw Elder of the Universe the Grandmaster wager against the cosmic embodiement of Death. Rather than physically fight, the two compelled the multinational superheroes of Earth to battle each other for the fate of their Universe.
The simple-enough series had three issues, the third of which saw Black Panther and Wolverine meet for the first time. Ironically, though the pair was on the same team, Wolverine immediately assaulted the Panther. The fight had no true winner (due to the timely interruption of the Thing), but it was an exciting first meeting for two iconic heroes.
9/10 T’Challa And Klaw’s Initial Fight Saw The Young King Rise
Rise of the Black Panther #1: Written by Evan Narcisse, pencils and inks by Paul Renaud, colors by Stéphane Paitreau, and letters by Joe Sabino
Ulysses Klaw is one of Black Panther’s greatest villains, a colonialist arms dealer who has sought conquest of Wakanda and ownership of the nation’s vibranium time and time again. Klaw’s grasping at Wakanda is tied intricately to his relationship with T’Challa, and his first attack upon the country saw the two meet.
After T’Challa’s father T’Chaka refused to sell Klaw any vibranium, Klaw and his mercenaries opened fire on the assembled Wakandans. Though T’Chaka lost his life in the attack, the young T’Challa took down Klaw with his own sonic weapon, starting a rivalry that has persisted for years.
8/10 Captain America And T’Challa’s Grandfathers Went From Enemies To Allies
Black Panther/Captain America: Flags of Our Fathers #1: Written by Reginald Hudlin, pencils by Denys Cowan, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Pete Pantazis, and letters by Joe Sabino
Though the modern era has seen Captain America and the Black Panther as close allies, T’Challa’s grandfather, Azzuri, was not initially as warm to Steve Rogers.The Black Panther/Captain America: Flags of Our Fathers miniseries saw the two meet for the first time in World War II as both the Allies and Axis sought the power of vibranium.
Captain America’s insistence combined with Azzuri’s protectiveness led to the two battling each other as the Howling Commandoes watched. The battle was close and Cap won Azzuri’s respect, leading the two to team up against a group of invading Nazis led by Baron Strucker.
7/10 Beating The Grim Reaper Got T’Challa Onto The Avengers
The Avengers #52: Written by Roy Thomas, pencils by John Buscema, inks by Vince Colletta, and letters by Sam Rosen
While Black Panther may be synonymous with the Avengers brand today, such was not always the case. The Warrior of Wakanda did not join the team until issue #52, when then-current members Wasp, Hawkeye, and Goliath were captured by the scythe-swinging Grim Reaper in his first appearance.
Furious about the Avengers’ responsibility for the death of his brother, Grim Reaper had induced the trio into a coma. Luckily, Black Panther broke into the mansion and took out the villain, saving the other heroes and prompting them to offer him membership.
6/10 T’Challa And Shuri Took Down An Army Of Supervillains
Black Panther Vol. 4 #6: Written by Reginald Hudlin, pencils by John Romita Jr, inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Dean White, and letters by Randy Gentile
Ulysses Klaw’s fascination with Wakanda has never faded (except maybe when he became made of sound), leading the supervillain to assault the country in a variety of ways. The closest he ever came to a complete takeover was when at the head of a joint group of supervillains, Nigandan soldiers, and U.S. special forces.
The battle for the country was heated, and saw T’Challa and his sister Shuri take down characters like Batroc, the Rhino, and even a Vatican Version of the Black Knight before besting Klaw. The bloody battle is notable not only for the size of it, but also T’Challa’s tactical skill.
5/10 Black Panther Outmaneuvered Doctor Doom
Astonishing Tales #7: Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Mike Esposito, and letters by Jean Izzo
While Black Panther is Marvel’s heroic monarch, Doctor Doom is their most devious. The ruler of Latveria has grasped for ever-more power in the Marvel Universe since his debut, and in Astonishing Tales #7, Doom made his play for the fabled vibranium mound of Wakanda.
Doom played on T’Challa’s honor by making the Panther think himself unarmed, using the element of surprise to take Black Panther down. After escaping his shackles, T’Challa got between Doom and the vibranium mound and pointed an energy weapon at it, preferring his country destroyed rather than enslaved by Doom. Doom conceded and left the country.
4/10 T’Challa’s First Fight Against The Fantastic Four Introduced Him To The MU
Fantastic Four #52: Written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Stan Goldberg, and letters by Stan Rosen
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original run on Fantastic Four was one of the greatest comic book runs, ever, introducing multiple characters and creating the MU as readers know it today. When Stan and Jack introduced the Black Panther as the antagonist of issue #52, they broke ground by creating the world’s first major black superhero.
T’Challa lured the Four to Wakanda and sprung a trap on them, testing himself in combat against Marvel’s First Family. Though the Fantastic Four eventually prevailed, the battle gave readers an exciting introduction to the capable king and introduced one of comics’ greatest characters.
3/10 M’Baku’s Betrayal Of T’Challa Was The Beginning Of His Downfall
The Avengers #62: Written by Roy Thomas, pencils by John Buscema, inks by George Klein, and letters by Artie Simek
M’Baku, the Man-Ape and leader of the White Gorilla tribe, has long been one of T’Challa’s chief rivals. However, the Panther also felt his rival would be a good stand-in for himself while he was a member of the Avengers. Unfortunately, M’Baku betrayed T’Challa.
After drugging the Avengers and seeking to crush T’Challa by toppling the Panther Idol on top of him, M’Baku was brought low first by T’Challa himself and then by the combined might of the Avengers. M’Baku and T’Challa’s relationship would take a decidedly antagonistic return after this, with the leader of the White Gorilla Tribe becoming a bona fide supervillain.
2/10 Jungle Action Saw The Black Panther Take On The Klan
Jungle Action Vol. 2 #19-22,24: Written by Don McGregor; pencils by Billy Graham, Rich Buckler, and Keith Pollard; inks by Bob McLeod, Jim Mooney, and Keith Pollard; colors and inks by various
As one of the break-out stars from Fantastic Four and The Avengers, Black Panther found his own book in the early 70s entitled Jungle Action. Though the series was popular with college students, some Marvel editors wanted the Panther-centric book to incorporate more white people to appeal to a broader base. Writer Don McGregor’s solution? Have T’Challa take on the KKK.
“Panther Vs. the Klan” saw the King of Wakanda venture to the American South to investigate the murder of his partner’s sister. The multiple-issue arc contained a variety thrilling fights as Panther fought the group, but the clarity and tightness of its writing had a profound impact on creators like Dwayne McDuffie and Grant Morrison and further proved the impact of the Panther.
1/10 T’Challa Got His First Rematch With Klaw In His Second Appearance
Fantastic Four #53: Written by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, and letters by Artie Simek
As the Black Panther, T’Challa has made a number of enemies, but Ulysses Klaw remains the most determined.of all his foes. After T’Challa became friends with the Fantastic Four in issue #52 of their self-titled series, he related his past woes with Klaw to the team.
Klaw attacked shortly thereafter, using his mastery of sound to surprise the Four, the Panther, and their friend Wyatt Wingfoot. T’Challa tracked Klaw to his hideout and collapsed it upon him, land a decisive victory over Klaw and cementing himself as a hero.
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