Part Iron Man, part James Bond, part Bruce Lee, T’Challa, the Black Panther, made his debut in 1966 when The Fantastic Four #52 came out (three months before the Black Panther political movement). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he exploded on the big screen in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. Since then, people have been getting to know and reacquaint themselves with the King of Wakanda. Not only is he armed with cool Wakandan technology, he also is one of the world’s greatest hand-to-hand combatants, having fought almost everyone from Wolverine to the Silver Surfer.
Black Panther’s been training to be a fighter since he could walk but when it comes to T’Challa, it’s more than just how well he can kick or how fast he can punch. Did you know that he can smell if you’re lying? Did you know that the boots of his suit allow him to safely land from distances of 50 feet? And what about when his sister, Shuri, took on the mantle of Black Panther? Did she have different powers and suit abilities? Read on to find out 7 weird facts about Black Panther’s body (as well as 8 weirder ones about the suit).
15. CLAWS BUILT WITH “ANTI METAL”
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve seen the Black Panther’s retractable claws in action. They put scratches into Captain America’s shield and if T’Challa had his way, he would have used them to put an end to Bucky Barnes in Captain America: Civil War. In the comics, the claws are even more deadly if you can believe it due to the fact that it’s made with a unique type of Vibranium.
Not all Vibranium can be found in Wakanda. Some can be found way down South in Antartica, specifically a place called The Savage Land. Antarctic Vibranium is also referred to as “Anti-Metal” due to its hatred of the rock band Megadeth. We’re joking. Anti-Metal has the ability to liquefy other metals through unknown means. It’s a good thing then that Black Panther fought Captain America and not Iron Man!
14. SIGHT BEYOND SIGHT
Although T’Challa has amazing physical abilities due to years of training, he was also given additional powers by through a variety of means. The Heart-Shaped Herb enhanced his abilities to superhuman levels. Bast, The Panther God, also granted T’Challa increased abilities. Just like Lion-O from the Thundercats, T’Challa has a sort of sight beyond sight, and he’s able to do this without the help of The Sword of Omens.
Without any technological assistance, T’Challa has superhuman vision, in terms of distance and detail. Not only can he see farther than the average person, he can also retain excellent visual clarity even under extremely low light situations. He can also see information beyond the electromagnetic spectrum, being able to see infrared and ultraviolet information. If Black Panther is staring at you, it’s probably because he’s noticing how poorly you’re doing your laundry. You filth.
13. MOVE OVER, SPIDER-MAN!
Who’s that climbing up walls? Is it Spider-Man? In Spidey’s case, his ability to walk on walls could either be due to tiny hairs on his hands and feet, or it could be a form of static electricity. What if you’re Black Panther? Are panthers known for climbing up the sides of buildings? Nah, it’s gotta be the shoes! If you see Black Panther climbing up a wall, that’s only one of the many feats (no pun intended) his boots can do.
Climbing a wall may be un-panther like, but jumping and landing great distances sounds like something a cat would do. To say Black Panther’s boots are shock-absorbent is an understatement; he can land a 50 foot drop without a problem (and without a sound) thanks to his Vibranium-lined soles. With enough speed, he can also skim across water. Try and do that, Web-Head!
12. HE CAN SMELL IF YOU’RE LYING
Can dogs smell fear? Arguably yes because when you’re nervous or scared you have a tendency to sweat more and emit pheromones, and dogs can pick up on this. There are other changes in your body chemistry that dogs can sense and react to. Bloodhounds can follow a scent trail over 100 miles, even if the scent is over ten days old. So what about cats? It’s safe to say your cat doesn’t care if you’re scared as long as you feed them regularly. Black Panther is a completely different story.
Not only can T’Challa smell if you’re afraid, he can also smell if you’re lying. You can try and fool the Black Panther, but he’s able to discern thousands of distinct scents and has a vast number of them memorized. But can he smell what the Rock’s cooking?
11. CLOAKING TECHNOLOGY
Black Panther’s superhuman agility and speed makes it hard to track him, and his suit’s enhancements only make him even more difficult to keep him in plain sight. In the Black Panther film, we see that his armor is actually housed within his necklace, allowing him to get in and out of his armor quickly. In the comics, he’s got even more advantages that allow him to do the quickest of changes.
Using light energy pulses, the suit can refract light around him to make him completely invisible, making him even harder to detect. If the Black Panther doesn’t want to disappear altogether, the same technology that made him invisible can also give his armor the appearance of street clothes. Of course, we also know T’Challa isn’t hurting for outfits to wear, given the fact that he’s the King of Wakanda with an impressive wardrobe budget.
10. BIRDS AND CATS GETTING ALONG
In Black Panther #2 released in 2005, we were introduced to Shuri, the sister of T’Challa. She eventually, for a period of time, took on the mantle of Black Panther when T’Challa is injured in a battle with Doctor Doom. The Panther God did not give Shuri enhanced capabilities after consuming the Heart-Shaped Herb, but that’s not to say that she doesn’t have any superpowers of her own.
Using magic, Shuri is able to use a limited form of animorphism, which allows her to turn either into a giant bird or a flock of birds. She can also extend this transformation to the people around her. Given the relationship between cats and birds it is a little funny that she would chose to turn into that. You would think that if she had the power to turn into an animal, she would choose panther! But hey, whatever gets the job done!
9. HEART-SHAPED HERB
In the Marvel Universe, there are a lot of elements and events that give people their superpowers. Exposure to gamma radiation transformed milksop Bruce Banner into the Hulk. An injection of Super-Soldier Serum turned the tiny Steve Rogers into the almost perfect Captain America. T’Challa was given increased physical ability when he consumed the Heart-Shaped Herb, a flower that was mutated by its exposure to Vibranium.
T’Challa’s physical abilities have been brought to peak levels thanks to the Heart-Shaped Herb. Such things as his speed, endurance and strength are beyond that of a normal person. However, unlike Bruce and Steve, T’Challa was already studying martial arts for years and honing his mind and body. Acrobatics, armed and unarmed combat, tracking and hunting are things T’Challa has mastered on his own. Still, one thing is clear: drug tests at Avengers Mansion are, shall we say, a bit lax.
8. LINED WITH VIBRANIUM
Spider-Man wears spandex because he relies on agility, not armor to protect him from enemy attacks. It’s more realistic that heroes like Iron Man and The Punisher walk around wearing gear that protects them from bullets, punches, and blasts. Black Panther has the best of both worlds: not only does his suit allow him to be agile, it’s also amazingly durable thanks to his armor being lined with Vibranium.
Because of Vibranium’s ability to absorb kinetic energy, it was the perfect substance to put into Captain America’s shield, as well as Black Panther’s armor. This enables Black Panther to resist punches, the attacks of blunt and edged weapons, and of course, significant gunfire. In Captain America: Civil War, he virtually ignores gunfire coming from a helicopter. Ignoring gunfire might be the new cool thing to do besides walking away from explosions.
7. COSMIC AWARENESS
Although The Black Panther is the protector of Wakanda, there have been many times that T’Challa has ventured off-planet. In May 2018 Marvel will launch Black Panther #1 written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it will deal with The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. If we can get Space Punisher and Space Ghost Rider and even Space Dr. Strange, why can’t we get Space Black Panther? He’s fought Silver Surfer and Galactus, so T’Challa is clearly comfortable in space.
Speaking of Galactus, the guy has gone through a lot of changes. For one, he went from eating planets and ending life to doing the exact opposite, changing from the Eater of Worlds to the so-called Lifebringer, creating fertile new worlds instead of consuming them. During this change, T’Challa was exposed to the mind of Galactus and the resulting exposure expanded how Black Panther saw things, even allowing him to see visions and experience a form of Cosmic Awareness.
6. STONE COLD BLACK PANTHER
T’Challa is powerful as The Black Panther, but let’s not forget that Black Panther is a mantle that is passed onto different people. T’Challa has lots of responsibilities and besides being the King of Wakanda, he is also The King of the Dead. At one point he was on the Avengers, The Fantastic Four, and even was Daredevil for a hot second. So when we look at The Black Panther, let’s not forget Shuri took on the mantle for a short period.
Although the Heart-Shaped Herb gives you powers, the Panther God still has the ability to chime in, and when Shuri took the Herb, the Panther God rejected her due to her jealousy of her brother when she was young. Not to worry; thanks to magic Shuri has powers of her own. She has the supernatural ability to turn her skin into a thick stone-like material strong enough to resist gunfire, proving her power-set isn’t just for the birds.
When we think about Marvel characters possessing amazing amounts of power, we look at such heroes as The Sentry, The Hulk and even Thor. However, let’s not ignore the amazing feats and foes of Black Panther. He’s fought and beaten Namor, he’s taken on The Silver Surfer and Thanos, he’s even wielded the Infinity Gauntlet (yes the gems were on them). So is there any stopping The Black Panther?
Thor’s lost an arm, the Hulk was killed, even the Juggernaut has been stopped in his tracks, so the answer is yes anyone can lose to anyone. So when The Black Panther is in a situation he can’t win (or perhaps chooses to win another day), his suit has the ability to teleport away an unknown distance. Let’s see him use that trick against Squirrel Girl!
4. DO NOT STEAL FROM BLACK PANTHER
Vibranium has lots of unique properties, and if you’re thinking it’s some sort of magical metal, you wouldn’t be wrong. Vibranium has mystical properties, and because exposure to Vibranium mutated the Heart-Shaped Herb, taking it not only increases your physical ability, it also provides communion between past Black Panther champions as well as the Panther God herself.
Because it’s mystical, The Black Panther has a connection to it that is more than just material. Those that hold the mantle of Black Panther are uniquely aware of the Vibranium located in Wakanda so that if it’s forcibly removed, it will be sensed. Considering that Vibranium is valued at $10,000 a gram, people like Ulysses Klaue want to make off with as much as they can get their hand(s) on!
3. WONDERFUL TOYS
In the Black Panther movie, Letitia Wright played Shuri, the sister to T’Challa. She designed the suits and weapons for the Black Panther and she served as a sort of a Q character (James Bond’s weapons and gadget supplier) to Chadwick Boseman. In the comics, Shuri gets to actually be the Black Panther when her brother is injured in battle, and only time will tell if Letitia Wright will put on the Black Panther suit on the big screen.
In the comics, while serving as Black Panther to Wakanda, her suit had some gadgets and tricks that her brother’s did not have. For example, Shuri’s Black Panther suit had the ability to generate holographic duplicates of herself that even had heat signatures to throw off the enemy. Is she smarter than Tony Stark? Hopefully the two characters will meet in Avengers: Infinity War!
2. MAGIC SUITS
Although the Iron Man armor is incredibly versatile, Tony has been known to pilot mission-specific armor, such as the Hulkbuster armor or the on he designed for deep space. T’Challa’s strategy is no different. The Vibranium in his Black Panther suit allows him to be at the same time both mobile and durable, but there are other times where he needs specialty armor to tackle a specific threat or challenge.
Vibranium, although an amazing metal to put in weapons and armor, also possesses mystical properties. T’Challa had constructed a “Heavenly Armor” as well as a Light Armor, two armors made from Vibranium that were enhanced with magic abilities and shielded from magical attacks. Black Panther also was wielding at the time The Black Knight’s Ebony Blade, just to squeeze in another magical artifact into the mix.
1. NO NEED FOR QUICK CHANGES
Such heroes as Spider-Man and Superman have to hide their costumes under their daily-wear. Flash is able to form his costume using the Speed Force. Iron Man in recent years moved away from having his suit stored in a briefcase to keeping it within the hollows of his bones. So that’s what the hollows of your bones are supposed to be used for! You don’t want to know what we’ve been putting in there!
Black Panther doesn’t need to hide his suit in a case or under his clothes; the King of Wakanda’s suit is high tech enough that it’s able to form around him. This technology is seen in the Black Panther movie and it’s assumed that this technology is shared with Tony Stark in Avengers: Infinity War. Is there anything that Vibranium can’t do?
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