WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther #6 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jen Bartel, Paul Reinwand, Triona Farrell and Joe Sabino, in stores now.
With the launch of Marvel Comics' latest volume of Black Panther, readers were plunged into a cosmic adventure that has taken all of the character's mythology into the far reaches of space. Although there's still much we don't know about the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, the curtain is slowly being pulled back with each new issue.
We may not know what happened to T'Challa, or how he ended up on the other side of the universe -- if he's even in this universe -- and we have yet to be given a timeline of events. But there's one thing we do know: N'Jadaka, better known as Erik Killmonger, is the self-proclaimed emperor of this cosmic nation. Wearing a Panther/Jaguar suit reminiscent of the one seen in the Marvel Studios blockbuster Black Panther, N'Jadaka spread his empire across five galaxies. We just didn't understand how, until now. The truth is, he had a bit of help, from a Klyntar symbiote.
Black Panther #4 first teased the possibility that N'Jadaka's Panther suit is actually a symbiote in disguise. The issue ended with the mask forming over his head with small tentacles, a manner similar to what we've seen the Venom symbiote do. But the issue didn't focus on that development; it was more something to makes us wonder. However, Black Panther #6 delivers the official reveal.
Before he was emperor, N'Jadaka was simply a mercenary, betrayed by those to whom he swore allegiance. But when he came across a Klyntar on another planet, he found the means to fight back, to usurp the throne and spread the influence of Wakanda throughout the cosmos. That makes him a far more powerful villain than we previously realized.
This is only the latest Marvel character to have new ties to the alien Klyntar. Recently, in the pages of Venom, it was revealed the Thor mythology was linked to the Klyntar through All-Black the Necrosword, a weapon forged by Knull, the god of the symbiotes. On top of that, we also recently learned Wolverine fought symbiotes during the Vietnam War. Now, whether it's in the far future or in another universe entirely, the Black Panther mythos, as well as one of his greatest enemies, is now tied with Venom.
N'Jadaka has always been a great villain, but now, with a symbiote by his side, Black Panther has quite the battle ahead of him if he hopes to defeat Killmonger -- and safeguard the future of his people.