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Saturday, February 17, 2018

How do you compare the black panther characters to their comic-book counterparts?

What do you know about Wakanda? If you've seen Captain America: Civil War, then you probably know that the fictional African nation of Wakanda is home to both the Black Panther, the superhero alter ego of King T'Challa, and a whole lot of Vibranium, a.k.a the strongest and most powerful metal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America's shield? Vibranium. Black Panther's energy-absorbing suit? Vibranium. The supervillain humanoid Ultron's world-ending drill? That's Vibranium, too. So you know what the Wakandan people are hiding, and why they're hiding it — but who are they?

In Black Panther, out today, director Ryan Coogler revitalized Marvel's first black superhero for a new generation, taking the most problematic aspects of its legacy — as an infallible character created during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s — and making them something new altogether. From the multifaceted women of Wakanda to the glorious rebirth of M'Baku (otherwise known as Man-Ape in the comics), here's how the characters in Coogler's revolutionary Black Panther stack up against their ink-and-paper counterparts.

The first black superhero in mainstream comics, the Black Panther was created by prolific comics duo Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. T'Challa made his first appearance in the pages of Fantastic Four — one of Marvel's most successful monthly titles at the time — when he invited the superhero team to the reclusive African country, the most technologically advanced land in the world, only to defeat them one-by-one. T'Challa had the unique responsibility of being both a king and a superhero, but his duty to his people always came first. As such, he was a bit of a loner, but he did spend some time with those Avengers.

The biggest difference between the T'Challa we meet in the MCU and his comics counterpart is the time at which he ascended the throne. In the comics, T'Challa lost his father T'Chaka at a young age, so he had already spent years on the throne by the time he met Reed Richards and company. But in the MCU, T'Chaka was killed in the bombing of the Vienna International Centre in Captain America: Civil War, which resulted in an adult T'Challa taking up the mantle. In Black Panther, he's still acclimating to the role of king, but his duty to Wakanda is still paramount.

"He's wealthy, he's smart, he's good-looking, and he's serious because he has to be," Coogler told MTV News during a recent press day for the film. "He's got all of this weight on his shoulder.

A Wakandan exile, Killmonger's motivation has always been revenge. In the comics, Erik Killmonger, born N'Jadaka, and his family were exiled from Wakanda following his father's betrayal. So he grew up in Harlem, New York, plotting his revenge against T'Challa and the man responsible for his father's death: Ulysses Klaw. Brilliant and cunning, Killmonger eventually returned to the outskirts Wakanda (after graduating from MIT), where he regularly clashed with T'Challa on a physical and ideological level.

Their ideological differences become the crux of Coogler's film. "The best way to describe him and T'Challa's relationship is Magneto and Professor X," Jordan told MTV News last year. "He's not afraid to take a life." In the film, Killmonger is incredibly smart, extremely patient, and he has, as Jordan described, a "by-any-means-necessary" attitude. Not to mention, he's effortlessly cool.

At a young age Nakia was recruited for the Dora Milaje, an elite group of warrior women who serve as the personal bodyguards of the Black Panther. Chosen from rival tribes, the Dora Milaje were originally envisioned.


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