Black Panther and Captain America have many of the same physical powers and abilities, but Black Panther’s go deeper with supernatural elements.
On the surface, Black Panther seems to be a super soldier just like Captain America in Marvel Comics, albeit with a cool tech suit and claws in place of a shield. In terms of super strength, endurance, and dexterity, the two heroes are actually quite similar with their skillsets. However, Black Panther has a slew of secret superpowers that Cap wishes he could have.
T’Challa gains the powers of the Black Panther after consuming the Heart-Shaped Herb, which connects him to the panther goddess, Bast. Bast bestows upon T’Challa the same physical abilities that the Super Soldier Serum gives to Captain America, as well as a few other supernatural ones. These are referenced in Avengers #53 by Jason Aaron and Javier Garrón when the Deathloks, beings similar to the zombie cyborg Avengers, tell T’Challa that they cannot lie to the King of the Dead.
King of the Dead? This is a strange title for the Wakandan hero but makes sense looking at some of the feats he’s performed over the years. The 2015 Secret Wars event by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribić actually has Black Panther dabble in necromancy. In this story, he raises and takes command of a zombie army to take the fight to God Emperor Doom, as he was known during the event. T’Challa also has the ability to commune with past Wakandan kings and Black Panthers, gaining their knowledge and council on things that might not have survived the test of time. This is very similar to what the Avatar does with past lives in the Avatar series. In addition to necromancy powers, Black Panther can also summon energy weapons to use during combat, and energy soldiers that will fight in his name.
These abilities definitely make Black Panther stand out and add a layer of depth to the hero that the average fan would not expect. Knowing this, T’Challa seems more like a character on par with sorcerers like Doctor Strange or Scarlet Witch. Funnily enough, one hero that Black Panther shares necromancy powers with is unexpectedly Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, although they are not as powerful or to the same extent. The Hulk has the power to see ghosts, and this could make for some interesting exchanges between T’Challa and Bruce.
When the two are looked at side by side, Captain America and Black Panther have identical levels of physical prowess. But T’Challa takes the cake here, because just being strong and athletic isn’t very special, especially in the world of comics. When supernatural powers are added to the mix, as well as being king of the most technologically advanced civilization in the world, Black Panther makes Captain America look like a novice.
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