After seeing him kick some ass in Captain America: Civil War, viewers got another glimpse at how badass Black Panther is in the teaser trailer for the upcoming Black Panther movie. The movie captures the way that Black Panther is, in a lot of ways, the Batman of the Marvel Universe (or perhaps Batman is the Black Panther of the DC Universe?) in the way that he mixes fighting skills with brilliantly devised plans.
On occasion, Black Panther has been known to let other heroes get an understanding of where they stand with him. He doesn’t often fight other superheroes, but when he does, he tries to make definitive statements. Here, then, are 15 superheroes that Black Panther has destroyed, ranked in order of the impressiveness/definitiveness of the victory.
One of the biggest changes in Black Panther’s status quo is when he married Storm during the events of Marvel’s Civil War storyline. Ororo Munroe had been a childhood sweetheart of T’Challa years before she was a member of the X-Men and he was Black Panther.
During Avengers vs. X-Men, though, the two were torn between the overall fight of their respective teams. In AVX: VS #5 (by Jason Aaron and Tom Raney), the two fight and Panther shuts down her mutant powers. They then part, with their marriage annulled. He doesn’t specifically knock her out, but come on, as good a hand-to-hand fighter Storm is, once Panther eliminated her powers, he had won the fight and she knew it (she was more pissed off at the fact that he had contingency plans in place for her).
It appears clear that the main area where people underestimate Black Panther is his speed. They just don’t seem to expect a seemingly “normal” person to be able to cover the ground that he can cover. This has been demonstrated in a number of fights against Spider-Man, who certainly is no slouch himself in the speed department.
In Marvel Team-Up #87 (by Steven Grant, Gene Colan and Frank Springer), Black Panther is being framed for an attack on Roxxon as part of a false flag operation by Roxxon. Spider-Man goes to investigate Black Panther, and he is promptly shocked when Panther is able to grab him and then smash him through a desk. It seems likely that Panther could have done even worse had he wanted to, but obviously he wanted Spider-Man on his side, not injured. It shows, though, that Panther can strike at Spider-Man any time he wants.
13. CAPTAIN AMERICA
As noted earlier, Black Panther was preoccupied during much of Civil War by his marriage to Storm (their wedding notably was a ceasefire during the Civil War storyline, as both Iron Man and Captain America attended their friend’s nuptials). However, once he and Storm were finished doing the diplomatic rounds (visiting various countries as a married couple), they got involved in the fight in Black Panther #24.
In that issue (by Reginald Hudlin and Koi Turnbull), Black Panther takes out Captain America pretty easily, noting that he could have stomped Cap’s head like a grapefruit if he had wanted to. Cap, though, explains that he wasn’t fully engaged in the fight, as he just wanted to make sure that Panther was the real deal (and not a spy by Iron Man). We’ll take Cap at his word and rank this win a bit lower than others.
In a storyline that ran from Captain America #414-417 (by Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins and Danny Bulanadi), Captain America, Falcon and Black Panther were all drawn to the Savage Land due to some bad guys illegally trying to mine for vibranium there. Ka-Zar, the ruler of the Savage Land, naturally got involved, as well. Ka-Zar, though, ended up under the control of the bad guys and was sent to attack Panther.
Naturally, since Ka-Zar was mind-controlled, you should discount this result a little bit (hence it not being higher on the list), but Panther handled Ka-Zar with ease, simply tossing him about like it was nothing. The only success Ka-Zar had at all against Panther came from when Panther tried to save Ka-Zar after tossing him into some quicksand, but then Ka-Zar let go of the rope Panther was using to help him and Panther fell in, as well.
Another fight where Black Panther’s amazing speed was on great display occurred in Avengers #53 (by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and George Tuska). Nowadays, we’re quite used to the Avengers and the X-Men fighting each other, but back in the 1960s, it was still a novelty when the two teams were pitted against each other following Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver seemingly quitting the Avengers to return to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The Brotherhood then captured the X-Men.
Cyclops had just escaped after knocking out Quicksilver when the Avengers showed up, not knowing for sure that their former teammate, Quicksilver, was not on the right side of the fight. Cyclops can open his visor by either touching a button on his visor or a button in his glove. Panther, though, was so fast that he knocked him to the ground before he could even press a simple button!!
Surprising speed was once more the name of the game in Black Panther #8 (by Reginald Hudlin, David Yardin and Jay Leisten) when the X-Men and Black Panther both showed up in a neighboring country of Wakanda that appeared to be messing around with mutated animals involving a former Genoshan scientist. Neither the X-Men nor Black Panther knew why the other one was there, so Wolverine being Wolverine, he automatically questioned Black Panther, who then shocked him by grabbing him and simply tossing him across the room!!
The fight then resolved itself quickly when they realized that they were on the same team. A few years later, though, Panther gave Wolverine an even bigger beatdown when Wolverine was still dealing with the loss of his healing powers in Paul Cornell and Alan Davis’ Wolverine “Killable” story arc.
During the Silver Age, there were two things that could seemingly do anything. Those two things were transistors (“How does Iron Man’s armor do all of those amazing things?” “Uhm…transistors, that’s how!”) and judo. Pretty much every character in the world could be defeated by a good judo throw.
This was demonstrated well in the aforementioned battle between the X-Men and the Avengers in Avengers #53 (by Thomas, Buscema and Tuska. You see, when Cyclops escaped from captivity, his teammates were in the midst of being brainwashed by Magneto. So they were then sent to fight the Avengers. The Avengers initially backed off, not wanting to attack fellow heroes, but when they realized that they were not technically “good guys” at the moment (due to the mind control), they treated them like bad guys and Panther dealt with Beast easily by using his own strength against him!
8. LUKE CAGE
Black Panther played a minor role in the Shadowland crossover that spun out of Daredevil becoming possessed by a demon and essentially taking over New York City alongside the Hand. However, his role increased when Daredevil temporarily retired following his eventually defeat (and exorcism) and Panther agreed to take over Daredevil’s home of Hell’s Kitchen as its now protector. Daredevil’s title was re-named Black Panther, the Man Without Fear.
Panther was in the process of being ostracized by Wakanda, so he was without his greatest pieces of technology, forced to go old school costumed heroics, but in Black Panther, Man Without Fear #516 (by David Liss and Francesco Francavilla), he showed off how much you can do without weapons by using nerve pinches to take Luke Cage out when Cage started to interfere in Panther’s operations.
Generally speaking, the more time passes, the more characters undergo what is called “power creep,” which is that their power levels slowly increase over time (the changes “creep up” on you). Just look at early appearances by Iceman and Wasp to see how much more powerful they got in the years since. Naturally, then, people tend to think that the Black Panther has gotten more formidable over time.
That’s possible, but it is worth noting that Panther’s one punch knockout of Karnak in Black Panther #20 (by Reginald Hudlin and Manuel Garcia), during his Honeymoon World Tour, was completely in keeping with an early Jack Kirby/Stan Lee/Frank Giacoia appearance of the Inhumans in Fantastic Four Annual #5 where Panther knocked Karnak out there, too, with a single punch!
As you might have noticed, superheroes sure do seem to fight superheroes a lot in the Marvel Universe. This was sort of teased a bit in Deadpool #15 (by Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne and Terry Pallot), where Deadpool broke into the Ultimates headquarters to test the abilities of the central figure of Civil War II, the Inhuman Ulysses, who could predict events before they happened. Once Deadpool got what he was looking for, he left. Black Panther, though, stopped him.
Deadpool agreed to give Black Panther a “silly fight,” as he conceded that it seems heroes always need to do these sort of things. He and Panther then proceeded to have a long and brutal battle that ended with Panther literally throwing him out of a window on to the street below! A broken and battered Deadpool crawled away, making sure to note that Panther was now on his $#!+ list.
5. NEW WARRIORS
For a universe that seems to always find plenty of opportunities to have superheroes fight against each other, the Marvel Universe has also had a number of events specifically based around forcing superheroes to fight each other. One of these was the second Contest of Champions miniseries by Chris Claremont, Oscar Jimenez and Eduardo Alpuente, where aliens kidnap a number of Marvel heroes and force them to fight against each other.
Some of the fights were handled in quick succession in just single panels, making you really wonder how the fight went down. One of these panels showed the Black Panther destroying the New Warriors, who were certainly no wimps, as they had Namorita and Nova on their team! Yet Black Panther cut through them like they were no challenge.
4. FANTASTIC FOUR
Fantastic Four was already an excellent comic book, but in late 1965, it began an otherworldly stretch where Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott introduced, in short succession, the Inhumans, Galactus, Silver Surfer and Black Panther! All in just seven issues! As amazing as these issues were, the real trick was that Kirby had developed the Inhumans and Black Panther as separate titles, but Marvel was not able to expand their comic book line, so they had to be merged into the pages of Fantastic Four instead.
Black Panther made the most of his debut in Fantastic Four #52 (by Kirby, Lee and Sinnott) by testing himself by taking down the entire Fantastic Four through a series of Batman-like advanced plans and traps. However, Panther was not prepared for Johnny Storm’s friend, Wyatt Wingfoot, who accompanied the Fantastic Four and freed them from Panther’s traps.
3. IRON MAN
“Enemy of the State II” (by Christopher Priest, Sal Velluto and Bob Almond) was an exceptionally complex storyline that involved time paradoxes and corporate takeovers. Wolverine and Iron Man both played major roles in the story, especially Iron Man, whose own company was besieged by the corporate shenanigans of the story.
The story concluded with an epic battle between Iron Man (decked out in a special anti-Panther armor) and Black Panther (or, rather, a time paradox version of Iron Man) that ended with Panther showing the lengths he would go to if need be, which included shutting down Iron Man’s artificial heart! The real Iron Man (not part of the time paradox) got to see up close what his friend was willing to do to him if push came to shove and it chilled him to the bone.
During that aforementioned “Enemy of the State II” story, Panther got in some good licks in a fight against Namor, but their real enmity did not begin until Avengers vs. X-Men, when Namor (during a period where he was possessed by the Phoenix Force) created a tsunami that destroyed much of Wakanda. The two former friends became bitter enemies from that point forward.
This was clear during the lead-in to Secret Wars, where Panther kicked Namor’s ass in New Avengers #22 (by Jonathan Hickman and Kev Walker) and explained that every breath Namor took from now on was due to Panther allowing him to live. Later in the story, Panther seemingly did decide to kill Namor! And he almost pulled it off, using special weapons designed to hurt Namor. Somehow, they both ended up surviving Secret Wars alive (Namor was then killed by the Squadron Supreme).
1. SILVER SURFER
One of the most controversial feats achieved by Black Panther over the years was the time that he used a special armhold to pin Silver Surfer’s arm behind his back in Fantastic Four #545 (by Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar), when the Fantastic Four were trying to keep Galactus from eating Epoch. People were aghast that Panther was able to use such a normal move against a being powered by the Power Cosmic (it wasn’t even a Judo move!).
The next issue, though, Panther beat the Surfer in a more acceptable fashion. He used a device based on Doctor Doom’s classic Power Cosmic-draining device from Fantastic Four #57 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott) and used it to drain Surfer (then gave the powers to the Human Torch to defeat Surfer’s fellow herald, Stardust). Panther then knocked out the powerless Surfer. Total bad ass.
Which Black Panther victory impressed you the most? Share your picks in the comments section!