T’Challa made his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War and managed to steal scenes, despite competition from the spectacle of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man finally coming home.
It was a strong first appearance, and in a time where diversity and representation matters to people more than ever, the Black Panther solo movie feels genuinely culturally important.
Black Panther debuted in 1966 in Fantastic Four #52, becoming the first superhero of African descent to appear in mainstream comic books. This was a watershed moment and opened the door for heroes like The Falcon and Luke Cage in the years following.
As people take to the internet to read up on Black Panther’s awesome adventures and abilities, we thought it was only fitting to reach deep down into comic book history and give a rundown of some of his more unusual and notable powers.
Here are the 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Black Panther Had.
15. Telepathic Resistance
Some of Earth-616’s most powerful mutants and villains have some form of telepathy and are able to bend others’ wills to their own. T’Challa knows this and has spent years building up some form of immunity to it.
It’s unclear quite how he does it, but a reasonable guess would be a combination of technology and mental conditioning.
Let’s not forget that Black Panther has had psychic powers before, so some resistance may have come from that.
In Original Sin #4, Omega Class telepath Emma Frost tries to see inside T’Challa’s mind and finds out it’s like a steel trap, or more accurately “a bear trap wrapped in barbed wire… that someone set on fire.“
Black Panther can even mute his thoughts like a trained telepath, with Cable only barely able to sense him lying in wait in the jungle canopy above in Cable #54.
One of T’Challa’s coolest inventions is arguably the Black Panther suit itself. He’s upgraded the traditional vibranium-laced Panther suit with many features of his own design and has kitted out the costume with some serious offensive and defensive technology. One of these is a cloaking device that can be controlled telepathically.
Using this, T’Challa can not only disguise his Panther garb as regular street clothes, but he can even turn invisible with a single thought, as seen in New Avengers Vol.3 #1. Black Panther is a master of stealth anyway, but having the ability to disappear entirely is obviously a huge advantage when it comes to his heroic duties.
The fact that Black Panther can literally vanish in the blink of an eye makes him a legitimately scary combatant and a serious threat to anyone brave or stupid enough to consider taking him on.
13. Hyper-Cosmic Awareness
There are distinct tiers of heroes and villains in the Marvel universe. Some fight ground-level threats where as others battle huge cosmic beings that threaten the entire galaxy.
The latter tier usually have what is called Cosmic Awareness, an ability to perceive a greater scale of time and space. It’s an expansion of the mind that allows some beings to tap into a greater wealth of universal knowledge and understanding.
In The Ultimates 2, T’Challa ended up with this new sixth sense after exposure to Galactus’ mind.
He had premonitions of the future as well as visions of the cage around the multiverse. Long story short, in issue #100, the universe ends up under threat by a fusion being known as Logos.
The Ultimates and a good guy Galactus team up to fight, but to no avail. Black Panther ends up ascending to a higher astral plane after defeating the Tiger God, a manifestation of humanity’s first fears.
Black Panther then projects himself as a gigantic black tiger and tears Logos apart with his claws. Comics are awesome.
Raising the dead isn’t usually a heroic power, but as part of the bargain with the Panther Goddess, T’Challa gains the ability to not only commune with the spirits of the deceased, but raise undead soldiers to do his bidding.
In Secret Wars #7, T’Challa summons an entire zombie army to take on God Emperor Doom’s forces. He delivers a rousing speech to the assembled (and somewhat sassy) horde and leads them into an epic battle consisting of thousands of soldiers and a multiverse’s worth of Hulks and Thors.
If this wasn’t awesome enough, Black Panther also arrives rocking the Infinity Gauntlet, swearing to dethrone the false god Doom. This macabre ability is seen again in Black Panther Vol 6 #11, when T’Challa rouses legions of the dead from Necropolis to fight against a terrorist movement intent on seizing control of Wakanda.
11. Super strength
The power of the Black Panther traditionally comes from a special heart-shaped herb called erm… the Heart-Shaped Herb that only grows in Wakanda. The plant is basically a natural Super-Soldier serum, boosting the host’s physiology to insane new levels.
When a champion becomes a Black Panther, they are anointed with the juices of the herb and the mixture seeps into the muscles, strengthening them considerably. Black Panther has had numerous shows of strength over the years, from body slamming rhinos to stopping a rampaging elephant.
When T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, becomes the new Black Panther, she inherits the abilities, leaving T’Challa superpowerless.
However, he makes a deal with the Panther Goddess Bast and she bestows her divine blessing upon him, making him the King of the Dead and returning his powers.
T’Challa’s strength seems to get an upgrade in the process and he’s able to go toe-to-toe with some of the Marvel Universe’s biggest and baddest, chalking up an impressive victory over the powerhouse of Thanos’ Black Order, Black Dwarf.
10. Genius inventor
T’Challa is said to be the eighth smartest man on Earth-616 and he’s put those brains to good use. He’s a gifted engineer, with his work helping Wakanda to become a technological superpower in its own right.
Perhaps most impressively, he combined alchemy with advanced science to create a whole new branch of scientific research known as Shadow Physics.
T’Challa is also responsible for many Marvel hallmarks like Falcon’s signature wings and the Avengers’ famous Quinjet. Thanks to his photographic memory, he can also duplicate any technology he comes across by simply glancing at it.
When the chips are down and T’Challa finds himself without his fancy toys, he’s been shown to create formidable devices with very limited time and resources.
In Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #515, he makes himself a powerful electromagnetic glove and several taser-like projectiles after a quick visit to a local electronics store in Hell’s Kitchen.
9. Black Panther Knowledge
As most fans should know, the Black Panther mantle has been passed down for generations through the Wakandan royal family. It’s a role steeped in tradition and has been around for centuries, with many previous kings taking up the name and protecting their country from harm.
When Bast chooses T’Challa to be the King of the Dead, she wants him to be her champion of champions.
To do this, she imbues him with all the strength and knowledge of every previous Black Panther. As the Panther lineage is populated by the sharpest minds and most fearsome warriors of their times, this gives T’Challa a huge advantage.
T’Challa then has a wealth of collective wisdom and can even summon the spirits for counsel and advice, making him better prepared for practically any threat the universe can throw at him.
8. Super durability
As heroes usually have to fight to solve their problems, any hero worth their salt has to be able not not only take a punch, but withstand a barrage of punishment from some of Marvel’s strongest and cruellest.
T’Challa’s muscles and bones are incredibly dense, basically giving him a natural suit of armor. Thanks to his boosted genetics, he’s able to take horrific amounts of damage, even without his vibranium suit on.
In Black Panther Vol. 3 #20, this is put to the test when T’Challa faces off against a genetically augmented Erik Killmonger. Despite Erik now having the strength to kill a stampeding elephant, T’Challa confronts him at Warrior’s Falls without his damage-absorbing costume.
The pair embark on a brutal marathon of a battle that lasts hours. Their fight is ceremonial and part of a tribal challenge, so the combatants take rest breaks in between trying to tear each other to pieces.
Their epic slugfest goes on for 13 hours before T’Challa has Erik beaten. Unfortunately, he gets distracted by his friends at a crucial moment and Killmonger manages to steal a victory.
7. Super stamina
To be an effective superhero, you have to be able to go the distance and push every limit you have in order to save the day. By this meter, Black Panther is up there with the best of them. T’Challa’s body processes fatigue in a completely different way to your average human.
This means that he can push himself for longer and harder than Olympic athletes could dream of.
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #9, T’Challa can operate at peak physical exertion for several hours before fatigue starts to set in. This can be seen in Jungle Action #14, when Black Panther tracks the villain Sombre through the desert for three days before he catches up to his target.
The pair grapple and Sombre uses his powers to gruesomely open up T’Challa’s old wounds. Black Panther still manages to keep going and has enough energy to kill a T-Rex later in the issue. The whole ordeal lasts for five days and T’Challa triumphs thanks to his tireless efforts.
6. Combat expert
If you thought a practically tireless warrior with a bulletproof suit that could turn invisible at a moment’s notice was overpowered enough, you haven’t seen anything yet.
According to T’Challa, he has studied and mastered every fighting style in the world. This should come as no surprise, as T’Challa is constantly honing his skills to make sure he’s in the best fighting shape for whatever new threat emerges.
Looking at some of Black Panther’s more notable fights, he’s won plenty of battles punching above his weight. He’s beaten Namor on multiple occasions, nerve-pinched his way to victory against Luke Cage, won a tangle with Captain America and whooped Iron Man, despite Tony having a suit specifically designed to beat him.
Perhaps his most impressive (and somewhat controversial) feat was managing to restrain the astronomically powerful Silver Surfer, putting him in an armlock. Black Panther didn’t win the fight and gets almost immediately blasted, but it’s a significant achievement on its own.
5. Master tactician
Of all of T’Challa’s awesome weaponry, the most powerful thing he possesses is his intellect. He researches and analyzes potential threats to ensure that he’s ready when it comes time to throw down. Given enough preparation time, Black Panther can usually figure out ways of incapacitating some of the biggest baddies around.
He has contingency plans for practically everyone he deems to be a potential danger.
He has an ultimate plan to stop the planet-eating Galactus, but he keeps tabs on heroes closer to home too. In Avengers vs X-Men Vs #5, he and his wife, Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, end up on opposite sides.
They square off, but T’Challa deploys his pre-prepared counter-measures and a system of drones and satellites neutralize the weather, rending her powers useless. The fight continues, but despite all the punches thrown, Storm is hurt most by the fact her husband had a plan for her. She flies off, leaving her wedding ring in the dirt behind her.
4. Healing factor
Along with some of the Heart-shaped Herb’s more obvious enhancements, it also grants some more subtle abilities. One of these is a potent healing factor, which means that Black Panther can heal cuts and broken bones far faster than a normal human.
It isn’t the strongest healing factor by a long shot. T’Challa can’t regenerate entire limbs like Deadpool or reform from a drop of blood, but according to the 1991 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, his conditioned metabolism ensures that his body is extraordinarily efficient at repairing any damage sustained.
On top of everything else, this makes T’Challa incredibly difficult to keep down as he can shrug off serious injury in a relatively short amount of time. As an added bonus, his healing factor also works around the clock and keeps him immune to all known diseases.
Evil never has a sick day, so it makes sense that the Panther wouldn’t either.
Black Panther can’t hold a candle to some of Marvel’s true speedsters, but he’s still crazy levels of quick. In the comics, he’s routinely been shown dodging gunfire and catching arrows.
He’s managed to catch the notoriously slippery Spider-Man at least twice, catching Spidey off guard.
There have been numerous comics that have stated that Black Panther can attack faster than the human eye can comprehend and can appear like a blur to his enemies.
In Jungle Action #11, the captions describe T’Challa as striking a man three times in the time it would have taken a normal man to throw one punch.
His speed often surprises people and he uses it to his advantage, such as in The Avengers #53, where he closes a significant gap between himself and Cyclops and manages to get a hit on the X-Man before he can even reach for his visor.
2. Super senses
Granted initially by the Heart-shaped Herb, T’Challa’s senses were boosted to superhuman levels. His vision became super-sharp and he could see far greater distances than any regular man. Secondly, he was granted the ability to see in the dark as his vision now covered the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums.
His sense of smell also became incredibly powerful. Black Panther can recognize the scents of thousands of different people and creatures and track the source to its precise location.
Not only that, but as Susan Richards finds out in Black Panther Vol. 4 #24, he can detect when people are lying by smelling subtle changes in their body odor.
If that wasn’t enough, he can also detect a hint of poison on anything and his augmented sense of taste even extends to tasting every single ingredient in the food he’s eating. He sounds like a nightmare to cook for.
There was a point in the comics where T’Challa found himself to be suddenly clairvoyant, troubled with strange nightmares and disturbing visions of the future.
The reccuring theme in these premonitions was an unknown sort-of energy vampire named Kiber the Cruel.
The explanation behind Panther’s new ESP abilities is given as prolonged exposure to the Vibranium Mound, because why not?
After his initial hunt for Kiber is foiled, Black Panther reaches into the psychic limbo to track him down. T’Challa finds his secret lair and ends up fighting off Kiber’s goons before confronting the main man himself.
Kiber himself seems to have an impressive array of psychic powers, but it’s all revealed to be a holographically projected ruse. Instead of a bald man in a classic supervillain jump suit, Kiber is actually a sentient melted flesh pile that has to feed off life energy to live.
When T’Challa finally discovers the truth, he takes Kiber’s last energy store and rather coldly leaves him to his fate. Black Panther’s clairvoyance disappeared soon after.
Can you think of any other superpowers that Black Panther has? Sound off in the comment section!
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