The year 2018 will be renowned as the year of Black Panther -- a movie that left an indelible imprint on both the pop culture and societal landscape of the world.
Already, the movie has eclipsed the $1 billion dollar mark at the global box office and is on track to surpass the eight slot in the highest grossing movies of all time list. It currently ranks as no. 3 in the United States’ box office all-time.
Because of the success of the character, interest has been rejuvenated in the Marvel staple.
Created in 1966 during the Silver Age of Comic Books, Black Panther was one of the first superheroes of African descent in American comics, inspiring a slew of other black characters in the Marvel canon who have since become household names, including Falcon, Luke Cage, and Blade.
Over five decades later, Black Panther is still considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time, as reflected by the financial success of his first Hollywood superhero solo outing.
However, many fans who have just seen the movie aren't really aware of certain aspects of the character. We decided to examine his physicality and explore the abilities that make Black Panther so great.
With that said, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Panther’s Body.
15 MASTERY OF NUMEROUS MARTIAL ARTS
As well as boasting a strong mental intelligence, T’Challa is gifted physically in his prowess of hand-to-hand combat.
As early as Fantastic Four #52, he boasted that he was a boxing champion of the entire continent of Africa as he bludgeoned the Thing during battle, out-punching his foe whose physicality was literally composed out of bricks.
Other disciplines that he’s mastered include Brazilian Jeet Kune Do, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.
He incorporates elements of each different fighting style while attacking ne’er do wells.
However, the brunt of his fighting style hails from African based martial arts, including disciplines like Dambe, Lutte Traditionnelle, and NGolo.
As well as martial arts, he’s a practiced gymnast and parkour artist. He uses both skills when he’s in a physical confrontation with an enemy.
Due to his extensive training since childhood, he’s at peak human ability, and has successfully clobbered most of his peers and enemies in the Marvel universe at one point or another.
Various enhancements and gadgets within his Black Panther costume also give him the one-up while brawling. These enhancements include invisibility, infrared and enhanced vision, and nasty claws infused with Antarctic vibranium that can rip through anything.
These are just a few perks that he can use while implementing one of his many fighting styles.
14 KING OF THE DECEASED
As essentially the equivalent of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings series, T’Challa has the ability to summon the deceased whenever the going gets tough.
In the Jonathan Hickman run of Fantastic Four, Anubis sends hordes of zombies to collect the heart of Amun-Ra during Shuri’s Black Panther coronation.
In Fantastic Four #607, the Necropolis is introduced for the first time in the Marvel Universe -- a Wakadan city of the deceased where previous Black Panthers are buried after croaking from old age or being felled in honorable combat.
The panther goddess Bast sits on a throne and inquires what T’Challa wants. T'Challa responds that he desires to become king again, but doesn’t want Shuri removed from the responsibility.
Bast compromises and dubs T’Challa the kind of the deceased -- earning the powers of all previous Black Panthers and replacing Anubis' job.
The ability soon becomes a familiar staple in story arcs moving forward. After acquiring the Infinity Gauntlet, T’Challa busts down a wall and releases the zombies in Secret Wars #7, rallying them with promises of “glory and honor” and “a second chance” by striking down the false God that is Doctor Doom.
T’Challa also later resurrects the legions of the deceased in Black Panther #11.
13 CAT LIKE REFLEXES
As cheesy as it sounds, most of T’Challa’s abilities stem from the strength of cats. In his initial battle with the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #52, T’Challa has the speed of a feline when he imprisons Jonny Storm in some kind of fire-retardant Jack Kirby structure.
He also boasts the senses of a jungle cat, stating that they are triggered whenever Invisible Girl vanishes around him. In the darkness, he’s able to smell like a cat, making one bad pun after another in the issue until he finally takes out both The Thing and Reed Richards.
The powers of the Black Panther were passed down from chieftain to chieftain, originating by a gift presented by the panther goddess Bast to protect the countries’ vibranium source.
As a gifted tracker and hunter, T’Challa can utilize his instincts to follow prey across vast distances.
Just like animal instincts draw from generations past, the Black Panther can implement the experience of each individual ancestor who derived their power from Bast.
According to Captain America, the Black Panther has swifter reflexes than his animal namesake, becoming an emissary for Bast’s powers and taking out criminals. A panther is notorious for challenging other animals who are much larger than them for sustenance.
In early issues of Jungle Action, T’Challa takes on gorillas, rhinos, and even -- inexplicably -- dinosaurs without breaking a sweat. He even stopped a stampede of elephants, something that a real panther could probably never do, as it would be squished instantly.
12 NUMEROUS ALTERATIONS TO COSTUME
Despite his traditional appearance, Black Panther has donned numerous alterations to his costume. Marvel outfit changes is a staple of the brand, especially with the success of Peter Parker’s Symbiote look in The Amazing Spider-Man #252.
In the Christopher Priest run of the character, T’Challa sports a blue hued armor with golden jewelry and glammed-out nails that were likely done at some kind of salon.
Briefly in Avengers #52, T’Challa had a cowl mask with an open mouth portion just above the nose. His relatives brandished the same look in early issues of Black Panther (1977).
In the most recent iteration of the character by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Black Panther started wearing a sleeker outfit that served as the inspiration to the movie.
In various universes, T’Challa can bee seen as an actual panther mutant, afflicted by the Spider-Virus that causes him to grow additional appendages. He can also be seen as a zombie hunter who wears a loose mask and no shirt and as an experiment of Weapon X.
Others have assumed the cowl. T’Challa’s son K’Shamba is a futuristic lackie of Dr. Doom. His Black Panther outfit, which is from the year 2099, has a mouth.
Similarly, the narcotic cop Kevin Cole wears a white variation of the Wakanda garb and the track star Ngozi is Black Panther infected by the Symbiote virus -- a familiar trope that Marvel artists employ whenever creative inspiration fails to strike.
11 WEARS VIBRANIUM SOLES
The Black Panther costume was originally composed of black spandex until writer Christopher Priest redesigned the character to stand alongside the top tier of Marvel’s heroes.
In his 1998 run, Black Panther was reimagined with a techie suit that included vibranium soles on his shoes. This was further referenced as one of the most quoted moments of the Black Panther movie.
When T’Challa wanders into Shuri’s lab wearing sandals that would make any father jealous with fashionista envy, his sister approaches him and declares, “what are those?” to the kicks that are more suitable for a Jesus Christ Superstar school play.
Shuri then hooks her brother up with sleek footwear enhanced with vibranium soles -- an ultra quiet accessory that comes in handy when creeping up on the baddies.
The various fields of energy that come out of the shoes allow T’Challa to survive great falls and land on his feet like a feline.
In the comics, the invention permits T’Challa to walk on water. In Black Panther #29, he stands on the ocean surface below a boat with Namor and encourages the anti-hero to initiate Atlantis’ surrender.
Additionally, T’Challa can bounce off the waters surface as a makeshift aquatic bungie for attack, scale the sides of buildings, grip the bottom of planes, and halt the momentum of moving objects.
The look of the shoes has inspired a fashion frenzy, with major shoe brands leaping on the Black Panther bandwagon and introducing character-inspired wear.
10 WORE THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
Black Panther is one of a multitude of characters who wielded the Infinity Gauntlet -- the laundry list even includes Santa Clause.
During the events of the Final Incursion, both Universe-616 and Universe-1610 collide, destroying existence to give the writers an excuse to wipe the slate clean and create new superhero tales.
Some of the characters of the Universes managed to survive and were scattered around the map by Doctor Strange to escape from the power-hungry clutches of Doctor Doom, who has essentially become a God of Marvel.
In Secret Wars #6, Black Panther and Namor are searching for the Sanctum Sanctorum. They find a teleportation device and the Infinity Gauntlet, which T’Challa promptly puts on.
Accompanied by an army of zombies, he challenges Doctor Doom, brandishing the bejeweled hand, and immediately uses the Gauntlet to turn the villain to stone. Namor then obliterates it and creates a shield when his adversary retaliates.
T’Challa has accepted that the Infinity Gauntlet is a relic compared to Doom’s powers, which are enhanced by the Beyonders.
While Molecule Man and Reed Richards scheme to take Doctor Doom down, T’Challa utilizes the Time Gem and jumps back to before the Final Incursion and resets everything, encouraging his people to travel to the planet Bast and occupy the world.
Yep, Secret Wars was heavy.
9 ONE OF THE SMARTEST CHARACTERS IN THE MCU
As a polymath genius with eidetic memory, T’Challa is considered one of the smartest characters in the Marvel universe. In fact, he is in the top eight.
From his conception in Fantastic Four #52, the Black Panther -- assuming the role of the hunter in The Most Dangerous Game novella -- outwitted the Fantastic Four to test his mettle against Klaw.
In addition to beating the super-powered family, he’s often overcome their adversary Doctor Doom, outwitting the antagonist in both Doomwar and Secret Wars.
With his superior intellect, T’Challa is a master manipulator.
During his narration of Black Panther #11, Agent Ross relates T’Challa to being “much more like the puppet master. Always one step ahead of the bad guys and manipulating things to his advantage.”
T’Challa is also a skilled inventor who created the Black Panther's vibranium infused suit, and cobbled together makeshift armor and weaponry without resources in Black Panther #516, during a time when he assumed the Daredevil role in Hell’s Kitchen.
T’Challa considers every possibility like his father taught him, always planning numerous steps ahead and bragging about his success to his outwitted foes. In a “gotcha” moment, he foiled White Wolf’s scheming by replacing the bullets with blanks in Black Panther #523.1.
As well as a strategist, he’s also book smart, earning a P.H.D. in Physics from Oxford University.
8 CREATED SHADOW PHYSICS
Because of his genius, and through superior intellect, T’Challa created Shadow Physics -- a new scientific field of study that permitted the Wakanda ruler to track vibranium at the quantum level and invent weapons to battle the precious metal.
After he’s nearly destroyed by Doom during the events of Doomwar, T’Challa implements his creation, combining quantum science with ancient alchemy. The new discipline allows everything from teleportation to entanglement theory.
In Doomwar #5, Black Panther patiently explains the concept to Deadpool, lecturing that Shadow Physics “allows for the creation of a contained field that is a simultaneous state of nonexistence and omniexistence. Even though we can’t fix the location of the vibranium on the physical plane, we can connect to it on the quantum level.”
He then transports Deadpool through the Nowhere Room -- another invention -- to Dr. Doom’s location via the quantum level.
In the following issue and the conclusion of the series, he uses the Shadow Physics to take out Doom by destroying the vibranium, claiming “your own armor was the power source I needed to do what has to be done,” before transforming all the metal into a useless and inert form.
The vibranium-weaved mesh in the Black Panther suit spoils bullets of their momentum. The casing falls to their ground whenever it comes into contact with the suit.
In Black Panther #7, a group of thugs fire on T’Challa at point blank range. After he’s buried in what looks like a bed of bullet shells, he gloats about his bullet resistant armor and breaks his shackles, taking out the goons.
During the scuffle, Agent Ross explains the suit perk like this: “I vaguely remember you saying something about the vibranium webbing in your costume being bulletproof... sapping the bullets of their inertia.”
In the Black Panther movie, Shuri instructs T’Challa on how to use the refurbished suit, saying “it is lighter, completely bulletproof, and it absorbs energy for redistribution.”
After getting shot at numerous times by Klaw and his crew, T’Challa utilizes the energy from the bullets and causes a car to flip over numerous times.
A bullet doesn’t penetrate the armor because of its tensile strength and the kinetic energy is absorbed. However, Black Panther still feels the impact like a blow.
Even at point blank range, bullets do nothing, as seen by T’Challa seizing the barrel of a gun to save villain Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. It probably caused a nasty hand cramp, though.
6 DIFFERENT BLACK PANTHERS
T’Challa isn’t the only person who has assumed the Black Panther title. Before him, generations of Wakandians served to protect the cities' sacred site of the vibranium mound.
In Black Panther #7, T’Challa recounts the history of his people: “Bashenga was the first Black Panther. Wise and fearless, he closed the mound and formed a cult that would guard it against all intruders. Each of his descendants lived and [passed away during] that cause.”
For centuries, T’Challa’s ancestors protected the element from exterior forces that wanted to mine vibranium for their own gain. Later, the metal was sold to research laboratories for astronomical prices, but the purchase was handled by qualified scientists.
The forbearer to T’Challa was his father T’Chaka, who ascended the throne after the passing of his father, King Azzuri the Wise.
T’Chaka had numerous adventures with Captain America, Nick Fury, and S.H.I.E.L.D. during World War II. Protecting the vibranium from Klaw and his mercenaries, T’Chaka was gunned down, causing his brother S’Yan to temporarily rule, before he was challenged by T’Challa and happily abdicated the throne.
After T’Challa destroys the source of vibranium and joins the Illuminati, Shuri ascends to the throne.
Additionally, Kevin Cole becomes the White Tiger and T’Challa’s son becomes Black Panther in 2099 -- two protagonists who eventually are converted to commit acts of evil.
5 BRAIN ANEURYSM
Christopher Priest’s Black Panther is considered by many Marvel fans as the best run on the character in his 52 year history. However, giving T’Challa a brain aneurysm was a writer’s faux pas that was never properly addressed.
In Black Panther #39, T’Challa took on a brainwashed Iron Fist, whose evil was apparently reflected in his costume being a darker shade -- because villains always have to look physically bad, as per the universal rules of comics.
Iron Fist clobbered the heck out of Black Panther, but T’Challa managed to get Danny Rand through his mental spell.
In this story, Priest actually created real world repercussions to being struck in the head repeatedly by a man with a magical fist.
Over the next ten issues, T’Challa began to act like a weirdo and started seeing Magneto, nearly starting a war because of his dementia, before getting a shot in the neck to come back to normal.
The arc also introduces a goofy future version of the Black Panther, sent back through the magic of King Solomon’s Frogs.
Unlike the emotionless nature of T’Challa, this iteration of the character is happy-go-lucky, going fruit loops because of the brain aneurysm that is gradually claiming his life. T'Challa is soon replaced by the White Tiger, which basically concludes the run.
Because of the haughty nature of his position, T’Challa has little emotion as the king of Wakanda. By donning the Black Panther garb, T’Challa fronts a spiritual based warrior cult, akin to being the pope or president.
Wakanda runs a highly militaristic culture with no ties to the USA, and T’Challa must serve as the general to his people.
In some iterations of the character, he doesn’t claim the lives of others, while in other iterations, he has claimed the lives of more men than he can count, contributing to his rigid exterior, burdened by the weight of guilt.
Internal conflict keeps T’Challa’s emotions preoccupied with the war he wages inside himself.
Black Panther #6 portrays T’Challa as being torn between two causes: “Two men are warring inside of me -- the man I am called to be and the man I truly am. I am called to be regal, irreproachable, and all-knowing. That is the mask. That is the king. But I am in my heart, a scientist.”
It’s T’Challa’s desire to know things that keeps him motivated, despite his stern demeanor.
Black Panther keeps it serious, avoiding the zingers often hurled by more fun superheroes like Spider-Man and Deadpool, and is often called out for his humorless disposition.
3 DOESN'T HAVE ACTUAL SUPERPOWERS
Despite his intelligence and notoriety as a prodigious fighter, T’Challa doesn’t actually have any super powers.
While confronting Mephisto, who attempts to prey on his opponents' insecurities, the root of his enhancements are revealed in Black Panther #5, in which he details a “special heart-shaped herb… enhanced my ability, strength, and senses and helped me become one with the spirit of the panther god.”
The vibranium lined suit also helps with being bulletproof and uses the metal to redistribute energy, which makes him basically indestructible against opposing forces.
In the movie, T’Challa must be cleansed of the heart-shaped herb in order to challenge or defend the mantle-- the tradition only permits his human physical prowess to be displayed during the clash.
The comics present a different side: only the Black Panther can ingest the herb and must face-off against normal people. Instead of being seen as a challenge, it can be compared to a steroid user smacking around wimps that don’t even ingest protein.
T’Challa still bested his uncle to earn the costume, but S’Yan didn’t want the responsibility in the first place.
So basically, the costume comes from a meteor from outer space and the powers are derived from mystical enhancements. Otherwise, T’Challa is just a pretty strong dude dressed up like a black cat.
2 SUPERIOR STAMINA AND HEALING
T’Challa is renowned for the length of some of his physical brawls and processes fatigue differently from the average human.
In Black Panther #20, T’Challa faces off against rival Erik Killmonger and the duo fight for 13 hours, playing punch face like two boxers after downing several scoops of pre-workout before their sparring session.
T’Challa has Killmonger beat, and has fought so hard that all of his clothes are ripped off besides his mask. In a twist, T’Challa actually loses when he’s distracted by a flying bicycle and Killmonger squashes his chest.
In Jungle Action #14, he stalks the villain Sombre for three days through a mesh of forestry in the Serpent Valley. During this, hr has also torn at his suit -- a trope artists apparently use whenever the Black Panther is exhausted.
After defeating the monster, he then faces a T-Rex and fight the creature to its demise. All-in-all, the experience stretches over five days.
The heart-shaped herb also gives T’Challa rapid healing of injuries and mends his broken bones faster. Additionally, he’s immune to diseases and toxins.
Most versions of the character can’t regenerate. This isn't including his form as an experiment of Weapon X in The Ultimates arc.
1 BLACK PANTHER ACTOR CHADWICK BOSEMAN IS ACTUALLY JACKED
Although Chadwick Boseman wasn’t the first actor to portray Black Panther -- there were a slew of others who voiced the superhero in animated ventures -- he is the first to embody T’Challa in a live action adaptation.
In order to look as invincible as the heart-shaped herb makes the Wakanda king, Boseman had to get jacked.
According to a recent article by Complex, trainer Harley Pasternak recommended a training plan focused on “posterior chain and movements that emphasize the rhomboids, glutes, hamstrings, and triceps.”
In several social media posts, Boseman is actually seen sweating at the gym in order to play the role. Unlike Ben Affleck’s body in all of his Batman outings and the cast of 300, who had their abs digitally painted on by the power of visual effects, both Boseman and Michael B. Jordan exercised and dieted to earn their muscular look.
Celebrity nutritionist Lisa DeFazio warns of the unrealistic expectation of maintenance when comparing the average Joe to a celebrity: “If we knew we were going to shoot a movie and be paid tons of money, that would motivate anyone."
She continued: "Anyone could look like a celebrity if they really wanted to, especially if you have the money behind you. They’re just everyday people. A lot of them were waiting tables five years ago.”
Can you think of any other crazy facts about Black Panther's body? Sound off in the comments!