Black Panther has always been an underrated and important Marvel character, and the list of Black Panther’s greatest adventures proves that. As one of the first and most prominent black superheroes ever created, the best Black Panther comics are not just good reads, they hold some serious cultural significance. Black Panther stories have a tendency to explore major societal themes, blending action and adventure with political intrigue and social issues. King T’Challa is at his best when his comics are making the reader think, along with entertaining them.
Black Panther made his debut in July of 1966, having been created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the godfathers of Marvel Comics. T’Challa first appeared in Fantastic Four #52, but since then he’s been just as associated with the Avengers as he has with Marvel’s first family. Nearly as significant as the invention of Black Panther was the invention of his homeland, the fictional nation of Wakanda, which remains one of the most progressive depictions of an African nation to ever appear in a comic book.
Issues: Black Panther #16-20
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Sal Velluto
A spiritual successor to Panther’s Rage, this story arc explores the long-burning rivalry between Black Panther and Eric Killmonger, his greatest enemy. Once again, the legitimacy of T’Challa’s monarchy is called into question, and once again, he proves himself as the true and rightful King of Wakanda.
Issues: Secret Wars #1-9
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
The events of Secret Wars acted as a culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s multi-year run on the Avengers’ titles, and it set the table for the future of the entire Marvel Universe. Taking place on a planet controlled by Doctor Doom after the death of the multiverse, Secret Wars sees the Black Panther getting his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet and taking the fight right back to Doom, in an epic clash of the marvelous monarchs.
Issues: Black Panther #1-6
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Artist: John Romita Jr.
This short arc explores both T’Challa’s past and his modern role as King of Wakanda, and both parts of the story involve Ulysses Klaw, one of the Panther’s greatest rivals. This arc was so beloved that it was chosen to be converted into a “motion comic,” which is available for viewing on Netflix and is highly recommended.
Issues: Black Panther #39-41
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jefte Palo
This story arc carries an ominous title, and it’s not much of an overstatement. Taking place during Secret Invasion, this arc sees a faction of super-Skrulls attempting to invade Wakanda, and the Black Panther repelling their invasion with extreme prejudice. Piles of Skrull bodies soon ensue, and a powerful message about the sovereignty of Wakanda is delivered.