The Powers That Make Black Panther Such a Badass

Chris Tilly
Movies Comics
Movies Comics

With Black Panther hitting screens in just a few weeks, FANDOM is taking a look back at T’Challa‘s powers in the comics, and also ahead to how they might be used in the movie.

Natural Skills and Abilities

Chadwick Boseman (l) as T'Chall/Black Panther.

Coming from a long line of Black Panthers, T’Challa was born with a variety of skills and abilities that give him an edge in battle. He’s strong, quick, agile and acrobatic, with the stamina and reflexes of his animal namesake. T’Challa therefore quickly became an expert in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, while he’s also adept with pretty much any weapon.

T’Challa is also one of the smartest people on the planet, possessing a photographic memory and seriously big brain. He gained a PhD in physics from Oxford, and went on to found a new branch of science called Shadow Physics, which is directly related to Vibranium. For the uninitiated, that’s Wakanda’s precious metal, which you can find out more about here.

Those smarts also make him a brilliant tactician, strategist and politician, while his inventor skills are responsible for many of Black Panther’s awesome gadgets.

Heart-Shaped Herb

The Heart-Shaped Herb being applied to T'Challa in the comics.

Those natural skills and abilities are all well-and-good, but what of Black Panther’s actual super-powers? Well they come courtesy of the ‘Heart-Shaped Herb.’ A plant infused with Vibranium, it is bestowed upon chieftain of the Wakanda Panther Clan.

The juices of the herb improve the Black Panther’s already impressive attributes, giving him super-strength, speed, agility, stamina and durability. The plant toughens up his bones and muscles, and imbues him with incredible healing powers.

T’Challa is also given an animal-like sense of smell, taste, hearing and vision by the herb, turning him into an expert tracker, able to hunt down man, beast, and when necessary, Vibranium.

King of the Dead

The comic in which Black Panther summons zombies.

Becoming Black Panther also makes you ‘King of the Dead,’ which has a couple of uses. Firstly you gain the power and knowledge of your predecessors, with all that Black Panther wisdom passed down from generation to generation.

Secondly, the King of the Dead possesses the power of necromancy. Yes, that’s right, Black Panther can raise and control armies of the undead, George Romero-style. Which is something T’Challa did to devastating effect in Secret Wars #7.

Vibranium Suit

Boseman in the iconic suit.

It isn’t a superpower per se, but that damn-cool costume is pretty helpful. Black Panther’s suit is made from a Vibranium weave that’s tough, durable, and nearly impossible to pierce. Making it pretty much stab and bullet-proof. It also robs objects fired at T’Challa of their momentum.

The soles of his boots are also made from Vibranium, enabling Black Panther to survive large falls by landing on his feet, cat-like. His Vibranium claws allow him to climb walls, Spider-Man-style. And with enough speed and momentum, T’Challa can walk on water. A bit like Jesus.

Source of Powers in the Movie

It’s not clear which of these powers will be making it into the Black Panther flick, but the trailers released thus far suggest that audiences will see the majority of the above. Aside from the zombie stuff. Early word from the men behind the movie also suggests that the Heart-Shaped Herb will be central to proceedings.

Regarding the mysterious plant, director Ryan Coogler told Entertainment Weekly: “The Heart-Shaped Herb is how Black Panther achieves his powers. He can fight hand-to-hand with Cap, who is a super-soldier, so he has super-strength and heightened instincts that give him advanced abilities.”

Producer Kevin Feige added there will be a spiritual twist. “People who read the comics would be familiar with the Heart-Shaped Herb and the ceremonies that surround that” Feige explained. “That’s partially spiritual. We certainly don’t call it magic, but there’s Vibranium that has been interwoven within that soil and that land for thousands of years, so there are things going on with it.”

Intriguing! And we won’t have long to wait to find out what Feige means, with all being revealed when Black Panther hits UK screens on February 13, and US screens on February 16.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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