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Since his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52, Black Panther has shown time and time again why he is one of the coolest superheroes out there. Not only is he the King of the most technologically advanced nation in the world, but he is also established in comic book lore as one of the smartest superheroes in the Marvel Universe.
But are Black Panther villains as cool and powerful as he is? I’m inclined to say that yes, most of them are. And that is one of the reasons why reading Black Panther comics is so engaging. His best-written opponents are interesting not only for their own motivations but for what they reveal about T’Challa. Being a king is not easy, after all!
Whether Wakanda is being depicted as a safe haven preyed upon by outsiders or a nation ideologically divided, the villains in the story always have something to say. And if you want to know more about them, let me guide you through the best of the best.
My Bottom Line Up Front
There are a lot of great villains in this article, but my favorite one is Dr. Doom. I know he is a Fantastic Four villain, but Doom War is one of the best-written series about Black Panther. Be sure to check it out!
Rundown of the article
- The comic debut of each villain
- A quick overview of their powers and story
- Alphabetic order to make your reading experience easier
- Which villains are our top 3 picks for the next Black Panther movies and other adaptations
Achebe (Black Panther vol 3 #3): Legend says a farmer named Bob lived in a country called Ghudaza. When an insurgency ensued in a neighboring country, the guerilla rebels invaded his farm. His wife fell in love with the rebel leader and the rebels stabbed the poor farmer 32 times.
Fueled by hate, the farmer refused to die and made a deal with the Devil. He then proceeded to kill everyone who had ever entered into contact with his wife by stabbing them exactly 32 times.
The farmer later became known as Reverend Achebe, a cunning man who was able to seize control of Wakanda through a Coup d’état. He had the help of the devil? Yeah, sure. But he proved to be a more than capable foe both in physical prowess and intellect. At least until he started going insane and almost destroyed Wakanda in the process.
It is also important to note he is a very skilled ventriloquist, which is at least a little bit curious.
American Panther (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #521): The American Panther grew up an orphan after his dad was brutally murdered. After that, he trained with the sole purpose of getting revenge. But his bloodthirst was endless and got him into intense conflicts and fights with the Black Panther during his time defending Hell’s Kitchen.
Baron Macabre (Jungle Action Vol. 2 #9): He is a skeleton-like mutant with the power to revive the undead. Alongside Killmonger, he stole weapons and tech from Wakanda to use against its own people.
Dr. Doom AKA Victor Von Doom (Fantastic Four #5): Arguably the greatest Fantastic Four nemesis, Dr. Doom is a genius scientist hellbent on world domination. He makes this list for his brilliant attempt to steal all Vibranium from Wakanda.
The scientist used nanite cameras to turn the population of Wakanda into unknowing spies in order to unveil the secrets necessary to invade the country. After successfully taking control of Wakanda through a local xenophobic group, a great conflict ensues.
In order to prevent Doom from using the Vibranium to his advantage, T’Challa destroys all the metal supply. A controversial decision that would impact all the conflicts in Wakanda from then on.
Dr. Doom is a great martial artist and a master of the mystic arts. The combination of genius intellect, peak physical condition, and sorcery makes him an outstanding foe.
Frederick Kiber (Black Panther #11): After an experiment went wrong, Kiber became a mass of protoplasm meshed with the floor. His powers include the ability to absorb energy and to project an image of his old self, which he uses to commit villainous acts.
Hatch 22 (Black Panther Vol. 1, #1): Hatch 22 is a human from millions of years in the future, an era where humans have psychic abilities and live in underground hatches. He was accidentally brought into the past by Princess Zanda (more on her later).
Hatch became furious for being taken from his time and got into conflict with the Panther. However, the hero was able to take the future man back to his timeline. Hatch’s powers include telekinesis, magnetic control, energy manipulation, and psychokinesis. But his physical strength is below average.
Jakarra (Black Panther #6): The long-lost brother to T’Challa who sought his birthright by challenging the Black Panther. His powers include energy absorption and superstrength.
Killmonger (Jungle Action Vol. 2 #6): A young Erik Killmonger became an orphan as a result of Ulysses Klaw’s invasion of Wakanda. After being taken to New York as a slave, his hatred towards King T’Chaka only grew. He believed the king was to blame for everything that had happened to him, so he sought revenge through his son, T’Challa.
Killmonger is extremely strong and has won one on one combats with T’Challa several times. He is also extremely smart and has a P.h.d in engineering.
King Cadaver (Jungle Action Vol. 2 #10): King Cadaver can influence minds and control the dead. In his comic debut, he helps Killmonger to steal weapons from Wakanda.
During Black Panther’s 2019 run he was reimagined as an influential entrepreneur who quadruples Wakanda’s Vibranium mining capabilities. This leads to natural catastrophes which were all part of his plan to demoralize T’Challa and seize control over the country.
Knull (Thor: God of Thunder #6): The god and creator of the symbiote race, Knull existed before the creation of the Universe. As a god, he is immortal, possesses super strength and durability, has the power to create and manipulate symbiotes, and can do a whole lot of stuff only Gods can do, like killing a freaking Celestial.
He is the main villain of the King in Black saga, and in King in Black: Black Panther, he invades Wakanda. Against all odds, T’Challa is able to defeat him, proving once again why he is one of the smartest superheroes out there.
See also: Wonder Woman vs Thor
Kraven AKA Alyosha Kravinoff (Spectacular Spider-Man #243): Kraven is more well known as a Spiderman villain. However, Black Panther fought the son of the original Kraven(Sergei Kravinoff) in Christopher Priest’s run. Kraven possesses superstrength and all the other abilities related to it. He is also very experienced in hand-to-hand combat.
K’vvr (Black Panther Vol. 4 #39): The Skrull in charge of Wakanda’s invasion. He is totally ruthless and capable of killing anyone, even fellow Skrull, to finally put his hands on Wakanda’s technology. He possesses the characteristic shape-shifting abilities of his race.
Madam Slay (Jungle Action Vol. 2, #18): Erik Killmonger’s partner and lover, Madam Slay is able to control leopards. With this ability, she used to kill leopard hunters in the jungle. It is unknown whether her control over leopards is due to powers or special training.
Man-Ape AKA M’baku (Avengers #62): M’baku first shows his true colors when, after a trip with the Avengers, T’Challa finds out the other warrior had taken his place. After that, he would make numerous appearances as the leader of the White Gorilla cult, the counterpart to the Black Panther.
His powers include superstrength, increased stamina, superhuman agility, and durability. Born in the Jabari village, he is known as one of the best warriors in Wakanda, second only to T’Challa.
Mephisto (Bible Tales for Young Folk #1 – As serpent) (Silver Surfer #3 – As Mephisto): A powerful demon, ruler of his own dimension called hell. Not to be confused with the Christian devil, but just as powerful.
Do you remember Achebe? Well, this was the devil he made a deal with. Mephisto was behind all the machinations regarding the Reverend’s actions in Wakanda. When T’Challa discovered that, he knew only force wouldn’t be enough to defeat the demon. Therefore he made a deal with the devil – his soul in exchange for Wakanda.
But there was a catch. Accepting T’Challa’s soul was accepting the soul of all his panther ancestors, which was too much for the devilish creature. As the demon begged the Black Panther to reverse the deal, the hero was able to set his own terms. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Miyo Moshigo (Marvel Comics Presents #35): A mercenary tasked with firing invaders in the South African jungle, including Black Panther. He is a highly skilled shooter.
Morlun (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #30): Despite being a Spiderman villain, Morlun had a big fallout with T’Challa. This villain is part of a race of beings that consumes totems, which are hybrids of humans and animals. Do you get now why he is a Spiderman villain?
But Spidey isn’t the only human with animal features, so the Black Panther is also a target. Morlun was resurrected by the crocodile cult and fed on M’baku’s energy. During these events, T’Challa was in a coma. So Shuri had to take the Black Panther mantle to finally defeat Morlun.
Moses Magnum (Giant-Size Spider-Man #4): Originally a Spider-Man villain, Magnum fought the Black Panther when he tried to invade Wakanda.
N’Jadaka (Black Panther Vol. 7 #2): No, I am not repeating a villain. This is somewhat an alternate version of Killmonger. N’Jadaka is the King of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda.
As this topic could be a whole other article, suffice it to say that Wakandan warriors who went to space ended up traveling back in time and creating a space version of Wakanda. The problem is this empire is a cruel and ruthless conqueror.
When T’Challa travels in search of his lost soldiers, he ends up trapped and later becomes part of the resistance and the emperor N’Jadaka is his greatest enemy. He has not only the powers of the panther but his body is also merged with a symbiote. I wouldn’t want to mess with him!
Nakia Shauku(Black Panther Vol 3 #1): First appearing at the beginning of Chris Priest’s run, Nakia was part of the Dora Milaje. She, alongside Okoye, accompanied the king in his adventures in the United States. But Nakia’s romantic obsession with T’Challa led to her doom.
She attempted to kill one of the king’s ex-girlfriends and was banished from Wakanda’s capital for it. Later on, she was left for dead by Achebe but Killmonger resurrected her through a process that granted her increased strength and accuracy. She then became known as Malice.
See also: Best Wonder Woman Gifts
Namor(Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1): Although his different incarnations may put him either on the villain or anti-hero spectrum, his interaction with the Black Panther was more than evil.
In Avengers Vs. X-Men both groups were at odds with each other due to differences in opinions on what they should do about the Phoenix Force.
The Avengers sought refuge a Wakanda, and Namor who was on the other side of the conflict flooded the Black Panther’s country.
Princess Zanda (Black Panther #1): The first villain of the Black Panther comics, Princess Zanda is the fearless ruler of Narobia. She came into conflict with the panther over a pair of grass frogs. After the mystical elements were accidentally destroyed, she imprisoned T’Chala and threatened to launch missiles in Wakanda if he didn’t find another artifact for her.
The hero was able to find what she wanted, a water skin that granted eternal life. But this artifact too was destroyed, and only a fragment was left.
Salamander K’Ruel (Jungle action vol 2 #15): K’Ruel is an experienced archer and his skin is covered in razor-sharp quills that give him an edge in combat. A native of Wakanda, K’Ruel aided Erik Killmonger in his first attempt to overthrow T’Challa.
Solomon Prey (Black Panther: Panther’s Prey #1): Solomon is one of the smartest Wakandians of his time. However, pursuing an education in the United States wasn’t enough for him. He decided creating a drug cartel in order to trade drugs for Vibranium was much more fun.
Of course, that didn’t sit well with T’Challa, and the villain eventually met his doom. Solomon possesses bat-like wings and razor-sharp claws that turn into a powerful threat.
Soul Strangler (Jungle Action Vol. 2 #22): A man with supernatural abilities who was an enforcer of the Ku Klux Klan right after the end of the civil war. He was the main villain in the ten-part miniseries “Black Panther Vs The Klan”.
Tetu (Black Panther Vol. 6 #1): Tetu is one of the leaders of the insurrection at Wakanda. The country is at war, Shuri is between life and death and T’Challa is overwhelmed trying to bring peace to his kingdom.
Tetu possesses the ability to control natural forces, especially plants. He believes he is doing the right thing by opposing a king that in his opinion, doesn’t care for his subjects. Still, his ideals lead to destruction and death everywhere. A complex and compelling character.
The supremacists (Black Panther Vol. 2, #1): This is a supremacist group comprised of 6 superhumans. They are responsible for enforcing the apartheid in the African nation of Azania. Its members are Captain Blaze, Barricade, White Avenger, Voortrekker, Hungyr and Harrier.
When seeing the atrocities committed by the group, T’Challa resorted to economic pressure in order to change the situation. When that proved to be insufficient, the Black Panther defeated the group in combat and later on arrested them.
Ulysses Klaw (Fantastic Four #53): A scientist in the field of applied sonics, Klaw needed Vibranium to fulfill one of his creations. He invaded Wakanda and king T’Chaka refused to give up the metal. Klaw opened fire, which resulted in T’Chaka’s death. Still, the scientist lost the conflict and went back home.
But he didn’t give up so easily. He came back again, this time to fight against T’Challa. When Klaw realized things wouldn’t go his way, he jumped in a sonic converter device and transformed his body into pure sound. This gave him superhuman strength and powers.
Fortunately, this wasn’t enough to fulfill his plans and he was defeated by the Black Panther and the Fantastic Four. Still, this was far from being his last appearance, as he is a major player in the Marvel Universe.
Venomm (Jungle Action vol 2 #7): Not to be confused with Spiderman’s villain, Venomm controls snakes through chemical potions to use them as weapons. He has worked together with Killmonger in an attempt to conquer Wakanda.
Vlad the Impaler AKA Vladimir Dinu (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513): His conflict with Black Panther happened during the hero’s time defending Hell’s Kitchen after Daredevil left. Vlad possesses superhuman strength and can convert matter into energy.
White Wolf AKA Hunter (Black Panther vol 3 #4): Hunter lost his parents in a plane crash and was adopted by King T’Chaka. After the birth of T’Challa, Hunter knew he had no chance of having the throne. But since he was resourceful and competent, T’Chaka made him the leader of Wakanda’s secret police.
After the death of the king, T’Challa disbanded the group for their violent ways. The White Wolf was angered, but kept his distance and became a mercenary. It was only after T’Challa destroyed the Vibranium mines and renounced the throne that the White Wolf went after him in other to seize the throne. The two brothers battled and T’Challa came out victorious.
The White Wolf has no powers but he is excellent in hand-to-hand combat.
Windeagle AKA Hector Ruiz (Jungle Action vol 2 #24): A member of the criminal entity The Dragon Circle. Windeagle came into conflict with the Panther when the hero was investigating one of the murders the group was responsible for.
Windeagle doesn’t have powers. Instead, he wears an anti-gravity suit, similar to Falcon’s, which enables him to fly.
Zenzi(Black Panther Vol. 6 #1): The other half of Tetu’s insurgency. She has the power to enhance people’s emotions and uses that to create conflict between the miners of Wakanda and T’Challa.
Zenzi is so powerful she was once able to render T’Challa useless by manipulating his feelings of guilt over his sister’s death and his anxieties about being King.
Anton Pretorius (Marvel Comics Presents #18): A white supremacist who used mercenaries to fight the Black Panther.
Desturi – (Black Panther Vol. 5 #7): A group of ultra-conservative xenophobic people who helped Dr. Doom to invade Wakanda.
T’Channa (Marvel Mangaverse #3): An alternate reality sister of T’Challa who becomes Latveria’s ruler after killing Dr. Doom. She doesn’t quite make it to the main list because her conflicts are more related to Doom and the Avengers, instead of the Black Panther.
Ohyaku – (Black Panther Vol. 5 # 8): One of the main villains during Shuri’s time as Black Panther.
The Best for the Screens
Now that we’ve seen this many villains, you may be wondering which ones I think have the most potential for adaptations. While the choice wasn’t exactly easy, I’m pretty confident these would make great adversaries on the big screen.
#3: Achebe: He is one of the smartest and craziest villains on this list. With him, you can tell a story of political intrigue and backstabbing, which is always fun to watch. Moreover, having a somewhat exiled Black Panther having to adapt to another country and reconquer their kingdom makes for a compelling narrative.
#2:Tetu and Zenzi: Two for the price of one! No, I’m not cheating by putting two villains in the same spot. If you read Black Panther vol.6, you’ll know they are two halves of the same ideology. And an adaptation of one without the other just wouldn’t be as great. But you know what would be great? Seeing a narrative that questions the Black Panther’s efficiency as king and shows the shortcomings of Wakanda’s population at large.
#1 Dr. Doom: It doesn’t matter if he is fighting the Fantastic Four, the Black Panther, or the Marvel Universe at Large, Dr. Doom is always a powerful threat. And he is personally one of my favorite comic book villains. He has the smarts, the presence, and the strength. What else could you want? I really hope one day we get to see Doom War adapted into other media because it is one of the most fascinating conflicts Wakanda has ever faced. And the consequences of its ending are enough to create jaw-dropping storylines.
- Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comics
- After marrying Storm, he became an honorary X-man
- Black Panther and Storm have been part of the Fantastic Four for a while when Sue and Richard decided to leave
- The Quinjet was built by Wkandian scientists under the supervision of T’Challa
Question: Who is Black Panther’s main villain?
Answer: Although the 2018 movie chose Erik Killmonger as the main villain, in the comics the answer to this question is less clear. In terms of appearances and impact, I would say it is a draw between Killmonger, Man-Ape, and Ulysses Klaw.
Question: Has Black Panther ever killed a villain?
Answer: Yes, he has killed on occasion. Most notably, Ulysses Klaw.
Not What You Expected
We are used to knowing more about Spiderman Villains or even Fantastic Four ones, but as this article shows the Black Panther has more than its fair share of cool foes. Being the King of the most technologically advanced nation in the world certainly brings a lot of conflicts, after all. I hope this article gives you the itch to go find Black Panther comics you never read. And when comic history is too much and you need a quick overview of the King of Wakanda’s enemies, you can always come back here.