1

In marvel comics when or In what comics issue was black panther first depicted as a master of martial arts? His initial abilities included cat like reflexes and agility he performed acrobatic movement ressembling a cat’s. When did the writers decided to make him one of the best martial artists on the planet ?

1 Answer 1

3

The answer to this may depend on what you mean by T'Challa being depicted as a master of martial arts. Would he need to be a master of multiple martial arts, or widely-known ones, such as karate or jiu-jitsu? Or would being a master of a single style specific to him or the Black Panther line be sufficient?

I think he was always intended to be a highly-skilled fighter. As far back as the 1960s, he was shown to hold his own against Captain America and to get the better of the Beast and Karnak, each of whom had enhanced physical stats in their own right.

Tales of Suspense Vol. 1 #98, page 3

Tales of Suspense Vol. 1 #98 (February, 1968)

Avengers Vol. 1 #53, page 17

Avengers Vol. 1 #53 (June, 1968)

Fantastic Four Annual Vol. 1 #5, page 10

Fantastic Four Annual Vol. 1 #5 (November, 1967)

T'Challa's first Official Handbook entry, published in 1983, states that before assuming leadership over his people, he had to triumph against six of Wakanda's greatest warriors in unarmed combat. Since he passed that test, he was presumably an excellent fighter at the time, and that was before he gained his powers.

T'Challa returned to his homeland with a degree in physics to assume the mantle of leadership. He was given two tests: to triumph against six of Wakanda's greatest warriors in unarmed combat and to obtain the secret heart-shaped herb that grants great physical strength and heightened senses. T'Challa passed the tests and donned the ceremonial garb of the Black Panther, the totem of the Wakandan people.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1 #2, page 12

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1 #2 (February, 1983)

The same entry specifies that he's a "masterful natural fighter" but that "his fighting style does not belong to any established martial arts discipline."

The Panther is a masterful natural fighter. His fighting style does not belong to any established martial arts discipline, but incorporates acrobatics and a number of cat-like stances, moves and blows.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1 #2 (February, 1983)

Another entry from 2008 says more or less the same thing, suggesting that not much had changed in the 25 year interval between the publication of these two entries, at least not in the view of whoever wrote the later one.

He is a skilled tactician, strategist, scientist, tracker, gymnast and unarmed combatant whose unique hybrid fighting style incorporates acrobatics and aspects of animal mimicry.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1, page 222

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1 (March, 2008)

The more recent entry also gave him a rating of '5' in fighting skill, indicative of him being a "master of a single form of combat." I'm not saying that's definitive, incidentally; comics are often inconsistent, so other sources may vary on this point.

FIGHTING ABILITY

Proficiency in hand-to-hand combat

1 = Poor

2 = Normal

3 = Some training

4 = Experienced fighter

5 = Master of a single form of combat

6 = Master of several forms of combat

7 = Master of all forms of combat

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1, page 239

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #1 (March, 2008)

In 2018, a list of Marvel's top ten martial artists was posted on Marvel.com, and T'Challa didn't make the list. Again, I'm not saying that list is definitive, but it is an indication that not everyone working at Marvel viewed T'Challa as one of the MU's absolute best fighters, even as recently as five years ago.

Who are Marvel's fiercest fighters? We ranked the top 10 Martial Artists in the Marvel Universe...

[Ten]. Master Izo

[Nine]. Fat Cobra

[Eight]. Daredevil

[Seven]. Steel Serpent

[Six]. Colleen Wing

[Five]. Gamora

[Four]. Karnak

[Three]. Elektra

[Two]. Iron Fist

[One]. Shang-Chi

Top 10 Martial Artists

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.