After making his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War, 2018 brings us T’Challa, aka the Black Panther’s first solo outing and a ridiculously good one at that. As directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is stylish, well-acted, and comes at a time when fictional figures like T’Challa are more culturally important than ever.
However, for as good as the movie is, it only scratches the surface of what Black Panther can do power-wise. While we know that T’Challa is a skilled combatant who is basically bulletproof thanks to his high-tech, vibranium armor, Black Panther is arguably one of the most well-rounded and diverse Marvel heroes there is. He’s got a slew of abilities and many of them aren’t obvious at a quick glance.
Here are 12 superpowers from Black Panther’s comic book history that you may not have known he had at his disposal.
Thanks to his natural agility and athleticism, T’Challa is able to sneak around pretty much anyone he wants, but he also has the ability to go fully invisible thanks to the Black Panther suit’s tech. While the suit upgrades T’Challa’s strength, stamina, and endurance, it also features some cool upgrades of his own making, including a cloaking device that can be controlled telepathically.
This upgrade not only allows T’Challa to turn invisible with a single thought, but also disguise his Panther suit as regular street clothes, which proves handy when he doesn’t want to attract unnecessary attention. Basically, Black Panther has the ability to disappear at whim, which must be terrifying for anyone who would dare cross him.
Unlike the other powers on this list, clairvoyance is an ability that Black Panther possessed for only a short time. This happened during T’Challa’s dealings with the vampire Kiber the Cruel, who inflicted the hero with strange nightmares and visions of the future. After tracking Kiber down to his lair, it’s revealed that the vampire is actually a sentient flesh pile that needs to feed off life energy in order to live. T’Challa takes Kiber’s last energy store, essentially dooming him to death in the process; an act that causes Black Panther to lose his new clairvoyance abilities.
10. Cosmic Awareness
Black Panther is a formidable superhero but as an earthbound, more ground-level character, he’s definitely outclassed by many beings in the Marvel Universe. Characters on the cosmic plain are generally on a whole other level in terms of power and abilities compared to their earthbound counterparts, with many having what is called Cosmic Awareness, which allows them to perceive time and space on a greater scale.
While Black Panther may not display the same level of Cosmic Awareness as some more powerful beings, he has displayed some ability. He has perceived the cage that surrounds the multiverse as well as had premonitions of future events. And in Black Panther #100, when the universe is under threat by a being known as Logos, Black Panther is able to project himself as a gigantic black tiger after defeating the Tiger God on a higher astral place, and rips Logos apart.
9. Resistance to Telepathy
Telepathy is wielded by some of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe and is such a concern for some that Magneto developed a special helmet just to keep his archnemesis Professor X out of his head. While T’Challa wouldn’t be capable of keeping someone as powerful as Charles Xavier out of his head, he does have some immunity to telepathy thanks to years of training.
It’s thought that T’Challa derives his telepathic resistance from some combination of technology and his own mental conditioning. He’s even displayed an ability to mute his thoughts much like an actual telepath would, with Cable barely being able to sense Black Panther’s presence in the jungle canopy in Cable #54.
8. Master Tactician
With his incredible wealth, awesome array of weaponry, and superior fighting skills, Black Panther is in some ways the Marvel Universe’s Batman. In addition to those skills, T’Challa also possesses another ability often associated with the Dark Knight: a sharp intellect. T’Challa is always prepared for a fight and has thought of every possible contingency to outside threats, including his allies.
Yes, in another Batman parallel, T’Challa likes to keep tabs on his allies and has counter-measures in place in case they were ever to go rogue. We get to see this in action in the comics when he and his wife Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, end up on opposing sides of a conflict and deploys his Storm counter-measures, including a system of drones and satellites designed to neutralize weather patterns. Understandably, Storm is deeply hurt by her husband’s actions and it causes a rift in their marriage, but in Black Panther’s eyes, you can never be too careful.
7. Black Panther Knowledge
This ability is explored in some capacity in Ryan Coogler’s film, but only in the sense that T’Challa is able to commune with his deceased father. In the comics Bast, the Panther God, imbues T’Challa with all the strength and knowledge of every previous Black Panther, which is quite a bit when you consider the role dates back centuries.
It’s even better when you consider that to even become the Black Panther, a person needs to have a sharp mind and be the fiercest warrior in Wakanda, so T’Challa is getting one serious advantage over his enemies with this gift. T’Challa can also use his Black Panther ability to call upon the collective wisdom of his predecessors, as well as commune with their spirits for counsel and advice. Seems useful!
6. Healing Factor
Oh, did we mention that Black Panther is also Wolverine? Okay, he’s not, but he does share an ability closely associated with X-Men member: a healing factor. While T’Challa’s healing abilities pale in comparison to Logan’s, he is able to heal cuts and broken bones far faster than a normal human would be able to. It also works day or night, and provides him with an immunity to all known diseases. Sure, it’s not as great as being able to regrow an entire limb like Deadpool can, but not having to worry about ever getting cancer is a superpower we can get behind.
5. Super Durability (Even Without His Suit)
Really, it should go without saying that a skilled warrior like the Black Panther would have an incredible amount of durability, but you may be surprised to learn just how well he stands up to physical trauma.
T’Challa’s Black Panther suit makes him impervious to most conventional weaponry and attacks, but’s a force to be reckoned with even without his super suit. Thanks to boosted genetics, T’Challa’s muscles and bones are incredibly strong and dense, effectively becoming a natural suit of armor.
While T’Challa’s cerimonial battle with Erik Killmonger at Warrior’s Falls is brutal enough in Ryan Coogler’s film, it pales in comparison to how the fight plays out on the pages of Black Panther Vol. 3 #20. T’Challa takes on a genetically enhanced Killmonger without the aid of his vibranium costume and despite Killmonger being strong enough to stop a rampaging elephant, is able to endure blow after blow over the course of this brutal 13 hour fight (though the combatants do take periodic rest breaks).
4. Super Speed
When we say that Black Panther possesses super speed, we don’t mean he can move as fast as Quicksilver or Speed Demon, but he’s still fast enough that it could be considered a legitimate superpower. In terms of speed, Black Panther is comparable to agile heroes like Spider-Man, as he is capable of dodging gunfire and catching arrows out of mid-air. However, it’s in the heat of battle that the Panther’s true swiftness is most evident, as it’s said that he attacks so fast that the human eye can’t track his movements and he appears like a blur to his enemies.
3. Heightened Senses
As part of the boost offered by the ingestion of the Heart-shaped Herb (basically a natural Super Soldier serum), T’Challa’s senses were all upgraded to superhuman levels. His vision is perfect and he can see over long distances, as well see in the dark thanks to being able to detect the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums.
Additionally, T’Challa has a powerful sense of smell and can recognize thousands of different scents. Much like a real panther would, he can then use the scene to track the source to its precise location. His sense of smell is so good, in fact, that he’s displayed the ability to detect when a person is lying based on subtle changes in their body odor. He also possesses a superhuman palette, to the point where he can taste every individual ingredient in a dish. Why he wastes his time fighting crime and injustice instead of winning blind taste tests is beyond us …
Yes, you read that right: Black Panther has the ability to raise the dead. In Secret Wars #7, T’Challa strikes up a bargain with the Panther Goddess, who grants him the ability to not only converse with the dead, but raise undead soldiers to fight for him. T’Challa then proceeds to summon an entire undead army to fight the God Emperor Doom’s forces, leading them into an epic battle that also features a bunch of Thors and Hulks from different multiverses. While we’re not sure about the ethics of using zombies to fight your battles, it’s a cool ability nonetheless.
1. Genius Inventor
While T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the brains behind many of the Black Panther’s tech and gadgets in the Black Panther movie, T’Challa is no slouch in this department. In fact, T’Challa is considered the eighth smartest man on Earth and in addition to being a skilled warrior and political leader, he’s also a talented engineer and has played a hand in making Wakanda a technological superpower.
One of T’Challa’s greatest initiatives was Shadow Physics, a branch of scientific research that combines alchemy with advanced science. He also is extremely resourceful and possesses a photographic memory, enabling him to duplicate any technology he sees simply by looking at it.
Some of the advancements developed by T’Challa include Falcon’s signature wings and the Avengers’ Quinjet, though obviously these were developed before Black Panther arrived on the scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, we’ve already seen T’Challa put his skills to good use by crafting a new shield for Steve Rogers in Avengers: Infinity War, and we could very well see him continue to provide the Avengers with new technology as the series continues.
How Well Do You Know The Black Panther?
Take this quiz and find out!