Black Panther: Top 5 Superhero Secrets

Secrets of the Panther

Black Panther:My name is King T’Challa, son of King T’Chaka. I am the sovereign ruler of the nation of Wakanda. And for the first time in our history, we will be sharing our knowledge and resources with the outside world. Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows.

Black Panther

Secrets are Black Panther’s stock-in-trade. His homeland of Wakanda spent millennia hiding from the rest of the world as they advanced technologically. They’ve opened up to the outside world, but Black Panther still keeps a lot hidden in the bush. So what are Black Panther’s five greatest secrets? Let’s find out.

#5 Shuri-Fire Successor

Shuri: “It was always about my brother first. He was the right gender, plus he was the oldest. Now he’s flown off and I can’t find him.

Shuri #1

It’s easy to forget that a hero is more than their secret identity. T’Challa might be the most famous Black Panther, but many preceded him. Our number five Black Panther Secret is his most frequently mentioned successor: Princess Shuri.

Shuri is T’Challa’s younger sister and the Princess of Wakanda. She grew up in her brother’s shadow, always resenting that she would never become the Black Panther unless he died. Shuri finally got her chance when her brother was comatose after a fight with Doctor Doom.

Shuri is one of the few women to become a Black Panther, which allowed her to become the Queen of Wakanda. She led a war against Doom’s forces, halting their progress until her brother could be revived. Both Black Panthers worked together to defeat Doom and destroy his army. Once the war was over, T’Challa agreed to share the Black Panther title with Shuri.

Shuri was killed during a fight with Thanos’ Black Order, but remained active on that plane. She studied magic under the ghost of a West African bard called a griot. She can now turn her skin into stone, raise zombies, and transform into a flock of birds.

Following Chadwick Boseman’s death in late 2020, it seemed likely that Letitia Wright’s Shuri would take over the role in any future movies. Unfortunately, recent controversy over sharing anti-vaxxer videos has made that more difficult to say for certain.

#4 The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda

Emperor N’Jadaka:When I pledged myself to the Klyntar, I pledged to something that needed me… something that was me, and thus could never betray me.”

Black Panther #6

With all of Wakanda’s technological wonders, is it any surprise that they have the world’s best space program? Our number four Black Panther Secret is so secret that even he didn’t know it at first.

Black Panther woke up one morning as a prisoner with amnesia. Even worse, he quickly learned he was the slave of an intergalactic empire called Wakanda, ruled by the tyrannical Emperor N’Jadaka. Black Panther managed to escape from the empire’s main city and allied with a resistance movement called The Maroons.

The Maroons are a coalition of aliens who had been conquered by Wakanda who sought to bring down the empire by any means. They are named after important figures from Wakanda’s history, such as M’Baku and Ramonda, but their personalities are suspiciously closer to their movie counterparts.

Readers soon learned that Black Panther had accidentally created the Empire. He sent several spaceships to find where a Vibranium meteorite had originated, but the ships accidentally passed through a time warp. Stranded two thousand years in the past, they created the Empire of Wakanda, which eventually became a fascist state.

Black Panther regained his memories and led the Maroons in a war against the Empire. His first attempt to defeat N’Jadaka failed when he was blindsided by the emperor’s Symbiote. Black Panther eventually assassinated the emperor by blowing up the planet they were on, escaping with The Maroons before it went kaboom.

#3 King of the Dead

Bast:Necropolis, Wakandan City of the Dead… where Black Panthers go to die. And where you will rule as King of the Dead.

Fantastic Four #607

T’Challa has many titles. He is known to most of the world as Black Panther. The people of Wakanda call him their king. But the number three Black Panther Secret is his lesser-known title: King of the Dead.

The Necropolis is hidden in the depths of Wakanda. It is a graveyard for Black Panthers and a place where the walls between life and the afterlife are thin. T’Challa often goes to the Necropolis to seek the counsel of his predecessors. When he needs to, he can also harness their strength and knowledge.

They don’t call Black Panther King of the Dead for nothing. During the event Secret Wars, he realized that he could command anyone who was dead, not just Wakandans. Black Panther used this ability to take command of an army of superhero zombies and force them to aid the heroes in the battle against a god-like Doctor Doom.

Wait, so Shuri can create zombies and T’Challa can control zombies. Are we sure Black Panthers aren’t just necromancers in cat costumes?

#2 Withholding The Cure

Advisor:We won’t get much further without help from the West. Why not make this a condition of limited trade? Maybe they would give [Klaw] up in exchange for the cure for cancer.
Advisor 2:And admit their own complicity? I doubt it. If they really cared about their people’s health, they wouldn’t sell cigarettes.

Black Panther, Vol 4 #3

Wakanda is extremely advanced, but that has often led writers to portray Wakandans as arrogant jackasses. You don’t get much more arrogant than the number two Black Panther Secret.

Shortly before Black Panther revealed himself to the world at large, he learned that his old enemy Klaw was working for the U.S. government. Klaw had assassinated T’Challa’s father and was thought to be long dead, so T’Challa was understandably upset. 

One of T’Challa’s advisors made the mistake of suggesting they trade Klaw for the cure to cancer. The rest of the court was disgusted, blaming the government for selling cigarettes and claiming that they would weaponize the cure. How do you even do that, lace bullets with the cancer cure? In any event, T’Challa agreed and refused to let the trade happen. This is bad enough, but then you stop to think about it.

Due to the nature of retcons, Black Panther has always had easy access to the cure. This includes the famous story The Death of Captain Marvel, when the titular hero slowly died from cancer. Black Panther was part of a cadre of scientist heroes desperately trying to find a cure for the disease, but this retcon means that he let his friend and ally die instead of revealing the cure.

Black Panther withholding the cure makes it difficult to see him as a hero. No matter how many lives he and Wakanda save by punching villains, they let countless more die out of sheer arrogance. No matter the justification the writers make, it’s still a total dick move that needs to be retconned out of existence.

#1 Black Panther: Destroyer of Worlds

Black Panther:Goddess, oh, goddess. Save me from what this world demands. Save me from righteous men. Save me from thinkers. Save me from summoners. Save me from midnight kings and the devil himself. Oh goddess, save me…. Save me from what we are about to do.

New Avengers: Everything Dies

Being a king is never easy. You are constantly called to make decisions affecting the lives of your people, all while the Sword of Damocles hangs by a thread, waiting to unleash new disasters. You may even have to do something unforgivable. This is the final Black Panther Secret.

Unknown to most of the world, Black Panther is part of a superhero team called The Illuminati. This coalition of heroes represents various factions of the superhero community, including magic users, Mutants, Inhumans, etc. The Illuminati ruled the superhero community from behind the scenes, eliminating threats other heroes knew nothing about.

The Illuminati learned that the multiverse was ending. Events had caused the barriers between universes to break, and another Earth threatened to crash into their world. Determined to save their Earth, the Illuminati developed a weapon that could destroy entire planets. Black Panther was chosen to use the weapon. He reluctantly pulled the trigger and slaughtered a parallel Earth.

The Illuminati’s relief was short-lived. They learned that there were countless Earths that would collide with each other, which would destroy everything. Black Panther’s shot had only prolonged the inevitable. The Marvel Universe was destroyed during the event Secret Wars. It was soon resurrected, but Black Panther and the Illuminati’s secrecy nearly made that impossible.

Didya get all that?

Even Wakanda paranoia can’t keep these secrets hidden.

Black Panther image courtesy Marvel Pictures.

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