To kick off the first installment of ‘Get Familiar’, we’ll be getting you ready for the ‘Black Panther’ movie which drops February 16th. So the first character to get familiar with is the one and only T’Chala aka Black Panther.
Unfortunately, I started collecting comics during an era where Black Panther was just a whisper in the Marvel pantheon of heroes. See, I started reading Marvel comics in the late 80’s, early 90’s. That was a period dominated by the X-Men. Spider-Man was popular, Avengers was just your average superhero team and Iron Man was still considered a B-Rated superhero. Pretty much, if it wasn’t Spider-Man or X-Men, I didn’t want anything to do with it. Of course, I had heard of Black Panther, but I’d written him off as an affirmative action superhero for this period. As I got older and started learning more about Black Panther, I realized just how important of a character he was back when he first appeared. I learned he wasn’t the “affirmative action superhero” I once believed. In fact, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created Black Panther because they saw a void of characters of color and they created Black Panther to help fill that void. T’Challa was never meant to be the token black hero. He was a fully fleshed out character with a detailed backstory. T’Challa was just as important as any big name character at Marvel, he just never, for whatever reason, never received the recognition he deserved. Now in 2018, T’Challa will finally get the recognition he deserves.
Here are some quick facts about Black Panther you can use to impress your friends who don’t have a clue as to who he is:
1) He beat the Fantastic Four by himself!
2) He beat Captain America
3) He has more money than Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark combined. In fact, he is the wealthiest superhero EVER!
4) He’s one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe
Who Is Black Panther? (T’Challa)
T’Challa was the first biological son of T’Chaka, King of the African Nation of Wakanda. His mother, N’Yami, died while giving birth and his adopted older brother, Hunter, blamed him for her death. His second mother, Ramonda, left the family when T’Challa was only eight. T’Chaka believed Ramonda had run away with another man, and so decreed that no one would speak of her in his presence again. Only decades later did T’Challa learn Ramonda had been kidnapped and brought back to her native South Africa. Read more…
Powers and Abilities
Divine Empowerment: T’Challa was given powers and enhancements by the Goddess Bast, when he became the King of the Dead. This blessing seems to have restored him to the same power levels he possessed as the chosen Black Panther, empowered by the heart-shaped herb granted him nigh-superhuman abilities. Whether his physicals levels are exactly the same remains unknown.
- Black Panther Knowledge: T’Challa has the power to draw all the knowledge, strength, and every experience from every previous Black Panther.
- Superhumanly Acute Senses: T’Challa can see with greater clarity and greater distances than an ordinary human. His vision extends into the ultraviolet and infrared areas of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing him to see in near-total darkness and retain the same level of clarity. T’Challa’s hearing is similarly enhanced, enabling him to detect sounds normal humans can’t and sounds they ordinarily could but at much greater distances. T’Challa can memorize tens of thousands of scents. His sense of smell enables him to recognize people/objects by scent, even if they are well hidden. He can track a target by scent and track them to the exact location, can smell fear, and detect if someone is lying by change in body odor. T’Challa’s sense of taste is sensitive to the point that he is able to taste the exact ingredients of any particular food he is eating.
- Peak Human Strength: T’Challa has received a blessing from the Panther Goddess Bast, which elevated his strength to superhuman levels. His physical strength allows him to consistently sustain lift up to 800 lbs.
- Peak Human Speed: T’Challa is able to run and move at speeds superior to those of any Olympic athlete, and is capable of reaching speeds of 40 mph. He has the ability to attack faster than the eye can follow. His combat speed seems more enhanced then anything else, as he has frequently kept up with other enemies in combat, and blitzed people before they pull their trigger fingers.
- Peak Human Stamina: T’Challa’s body eliminates the excessive build-up of fatigue-producing poisons in his muscles and his musculature generates considerably less fatigue toxins than the muscles of an ordinary human being, granting him superhuman levels of stamina, exceptional endurance, and lung capacity; in all physical activities. He can physically exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue toxins begin to impair him.
- Peak Human Healing: T’Challa has a conditioned metabolism that enables extraordinarily efficient healing.
- Peak Human Agility: T’Challa’s agility, balance, flexibility, dexterity, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels superior to any Olympic-level athlete that has ever competed.
- Peak Human Reflexes: T’Challa’s reaction time are beyond the natural limits of an Olympic-level athlete, allowing him to dodge multiple gunfire with ease.
- Necromancy: As “King of the Dead,” T’Challa is able to take command of the dead itself. He was able to take control of an entire army of zombies and order the spirits of the Necropolis to aid him in his fight with Tetu.
Hyper-Cosmic Awareness: T’Challa’s exposure to Galactus’s mind before and after his transition from the devourer to seeder of worlds due to his odd means of warping to his world ship, he began experiencing visions in his dreams and day to day life. He was beginning to see and sense the cage around The Marvel Universe and the goings on outside it in the Multiverse as well.
Genius Intelligence: T’Challa is also a polymath genius and has an eidetic (aka photographic) memory. His genius is as such that he is one of the eight smartest people on Earth. He possesses accomplishments such as a PhD in physics from Oxford University. He also combined alchemy with science to create a new scientific field called Shadow Physics, a dangerous discipline which allowed him to track Vibranium on a quantum level, craft weapons which would be particularly effective against Vibranium, and create an unstable teleportation device which at the time ripped apart anyone using it with great healing ability.
Master Martial Artist: He has been groomed to be a warrior from birth. An expert in practically all forms of armed and unarmed combat, and a master of all martial arts including African and unknown forms. He is a master of stealth, disguise etc. He is considered to be one of the best martial artists to have ever walked the Earth. This is evident by him being able to stalemate and even gain the upper hand at times against opponents such as Captain America, Daredevil etc. in hand to hand fights to an extent that in his full potential, he was able to defeat Captain America in a few moves, and overpower Wolverine twice without much difficulty, even when Wolverine was using his claws. Captain America himself said that when he won one against T’Challa, T’Challa was not his usual self, seeming weaker than he actually was. He was shown to be skilled enough to defeat the skilled combatant Karnak with a single blow to the head.
Master Acrobat: T’Challa is a rigorously trained gymnast and acrobat.
Expert Marksman: He is a master marksman adept with hunting knives, firearms, and other projectile weaponry.
Master Tactician and Strategist: T’Challa is a genius tactician, strategist, and leader who is practically peerless. He was taught tactics and strategies in his youth by his father who encouraged him to always think two steps ahead of his enemies and three steps ahead of his friends. His prowess is such that he is able to out think and out maneuver individuals such as Tony Stark, and other geniuses.