The First Black Panther – Marvel Comics Explained

Black Panther’s suit and a mystical heart-shaped
herb are what give T’Challa his abilities and make him the King of Wakanda. It is often mentioned that the Black Panther’s
suit is handed down from King to King, but who was the first King of Wakanda? To understand the Succession process, first
we need to know where the suit came from. Before Wakanda was united, it was a series
of battling African tribes located in East Africa located around Uganda or Kenya. The setting was around 10,000 BC. The Panther Cult’s mythology claims that
the Panther Goddess, Bast, sent a meteorite to their village. The villager’s called the meteorite’s
material “rare iron” that was later renamed Vibranium. The meteor crash site is called The Vibranium
Mound and is the only known source of Vibranium in the Marvel Universe. This is a point of contradiction in other
Marvel Comics, where claims are made that natural-forming Vibranium can be found in
Antarctica. The villagers discover that Vibranium gives
off a form of radiation that poisons the mind and soul of anyone in proximity. Following the crash of the meteor, Demons
begin terrorizing the location. The only person whose soul is not poisoned
is the greatest warrior selected by the Panther Goddess Bast who she anoints as the King of
Kings, the Black Panther. His name was Bashenga. Bashenga single-handedly united the tribes
of Wakanda to form an army of protectors, known as the Panther Cult, to defend the Vibranium
Mound from rivaling tribes and those who intended to steal a shard of Vibranium. The Panther Cult also prevented the further
corruption of souls who came in contact with the substance and therefore carried out the
will of Bast. However, Bashenga’s title as “The First
Black Panther” may have been overwritten. T’Challa establishes Bashenga’s origin
in the 1977 comic issue #7, but as of November 2017, the comic Marvel Legacy Volume 1 has
introduced the Stone Age Avengers, which contained the first Black Panther. Marvel Legacy is considered to be canon to
the Earth-616 universe and therefore revokes the title from Beshinga. In this issue, the Stone Age Avengers take
on a celestial creature known as the Fallen alongside a younger Odin during his binding
of Mjolnir. But what qualifies one to be Black Panther? The powers given to Black Panther consist
of two parts, the Vibranium suit and the consumption of the heart-shaped herb. Both are known to be used by T’Challa and
Bashenga alike, but we know very little about the origin of the Black Panther from 1 Million
BC. Regarding the Vibranium suit, Bashenga wears
the same suit seen on T’Challa when protecting the Vibranium Mound. In contrast, Marvel Legacy’s version of
Black Panther simply wears the severed carcass of a panther draped about his body. Throughout Marvel Legacy, Black Panther is
never seen performing any inhuman stunts or portraying any of the abilities seen in Bashenga
or T’Challa. Furthermore, the Stone Age Black Panther could
not have consumed the heart shaped herb either, because the herb was a mutated plant that
resulted from exposure to Vibranium. The first recorded introduction of Vibranium
is through the meteor in 10,000 BC and therefore the herb could not have existed. The lineage of the name Black Panther may
have started with the unnamed Stone Age Avenger, but the origin of the modern Black Panther’s
role begins with Bashinga. Because Bashinga formed and built the nation
of Wakanda, he began the lineage of Black Panther rulers, founded the Panther Cult,
and was given the blessing of Bast to wear untreated vibranium unharmed. Bashenga’s actions also lead to a monopoly
on the market for treated Vibranium, which lead to Wakanda becoming a technologically
advanced nation by the time T’Challa was born. Without the accomplishments of Bashenga, the
modern Black Panther never would have had a chance.

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