Erik Killmonger

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Erik Killmonger
Black Panther Vol4 37.jpg
Textless cover of Black Panther #37 (August 2008).
Art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceJungle Action #6 (September 1973)
Created byDon McGregor
Rich Buckler
In-story information
Full nameN'Jadaka
Notable aliasesErik Killmonger
Abilities
  • Superhuman intelligence
  • Expert tactician
  • Skilled hunter and tracker
  • Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
  • Enhanced strength, speed, agility, and durability
  • Alchemical precognition and protection against mystical attacks
  • Uses high-tech equipment and weapons, including vibranium outfit

Erik Killmonger is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Don McGregor and Rich Buckler, the character first appeared in Jungle Action vol. 2, #6 (Sept. 1973). Killmonger, whose birth name is N'Jadaka, is an enemy of Black Panther.

Michael B. Jordan portrayed the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther (2018).

Publication history[edit]

Erik Killmonger first appeared in the "Panther's Rage" storyline, initially in Jungle Action vol. 2, #6-8 (Sept. 1973 - Jan. 1974), and was created by writer Don McGregor and penciler Rich Buckler.

The character subsequently appeared in Jungle Action vol. 2, #12-18 (Nov. 1974-Nov. 1975), Iron Man Annual #5 (1982), Over the Edge #6 (April 1996), Black Panther vol. 3, #13 (Dec. 1999), #15-16 (Feb.-March 2000), #18-21 (May-Aug. 2000), Deadpool #44 (Sept. 2000), Black Panther vol. 3, #23-25 (Oct.-Dec. 2000), #60 (July 2003), and Black Panther vol. 4, #35-38 (May-Sept. 2008).

Erik Killmonger appeared in an entry in the 2006 reference book All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #6.

Fictional character biography[edit]

A native of Wakanda, he was born under the name N'Jadaka. When Ulysses Klaue and his mercenaries attacked Wakanda, they press-ganged N'Jadaka's father, N'Jobu, into helping them; when Klaue was defeated, his father died and his family was exiled. N'Jadaka ended up in Harlem, New York, nursing a hatred against the supervillain and T'Chaka, the king who had exiled him. He changed his name to Erik Killmonger and studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, desperate to avenge his father's death.[volume & issue needed]

He eventually contacted King T'Challa and was repatriated back to Wakanda, settling in a village that would later change its name to N'Jadaka Village in his honor. He became a subversive, with dreams of ridding Wakanda of what he termed "white colonialist" cultural influences and return it entirely to its ancient ways.[volume & issue needed] He then took advantage of the Black Panther's frequent absences in America with the Avengers to stage a coup d'état, along with Baron Macabre.[volume & issue needed] He was defeated and killed,[1] until the Mandarin claimed his body.[2]

Resurrection[edit]

Using his rings, the Mandarin was able to amplify the Resurrection Altar and restore Killmonger to life. Killmonger returned to his lover and ally, Madam Slay, and the two plotted to kill the Black Panther and return Wakanda to its ancient ways. While Tony Stark visited Wakanda, Madam Slay drugged Jim Rhodes and took him prisoner. Killmonger appeared to have killed the Black Panther, and blamed Rhodes and Stark, convincing the Wakandans that he could lead them to vengeance. The Black Panther returned, revealing that he had faked his death using a Life Model Decoy. The Black Panther defeated Killmonger. The Mandarin recalled his ring, and Killmonger reverted to an inanimate skeleton. Killmonger's followers resurrected him again and he would clash with T'Challa on several other occasions.[2]

Wakanda takeover[edit]

In the wake of the sorcerer Reverend Achebe's attempted takeover of Wakanda, with T'Challa absent and control of the country left with his regent Everett Ross, Killmonger tried to gain control of the country via its economy, forcing T'Challa to stop him by nationalizing all foreign companies in Wakanda and cause a run on the stock market. The two foes fought in a vicious ritual combat over the right to rule the country, and Killmonger was finally able to defeat his foe and gain the status of Black Panther for his own. He maintained control of Wakanda for a while and even attempted to inherit T'Challa's Avengers status, but when he underwent the ascension rite needed to cement his position, his body had a severe reaction to the heart-shaped herb that he was required to consume - it was poisonous to all but the royal bloodline. Although it would have been convenient to allow him to die, and be unquestionably entitled to the position of the Black Panther, T'Challa preserved his rival's life.[volume & issue needed]

Killmonger eventually came out of his coma, thus reclaiming his position as chieftain over Wakanda. He went to New York and contacted Kasper Cole, an inner-city police officer masquerading as the Black Panther to help him with cases, and attempted to gain him as an ally (and one-up T'Challa) by offering him a buffered version of the Panther's heart-shaped herb and help finding his supervisor's kidnapped son. In exchange, he had to drop the Panther identity and take up that of a White Tiger acolyte of the Panther cult, and would owe Killmonger a favor. While Kasper agreed to this, he then used his new herb-enhanced abilities to track down the boy on his own to avoid owing Killmonger an unpayable debt.[volume & issue needed]

T'Challa is then once again the sole ruler of Wakanda when Killmonger resurfaces and takes control of the neighboring country of Niganda.[3] During a subsequent duel with T'Challa, Killmonger is killed by Monica Rambeau, whom he had previously captured and imprisoned. Killmonger's young son is last seen swearing vengeance against the Black Panther, much like N'Jadaka had done years earlier after the death of his own father.[4]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Erik Killmonger is an expert martial artist with peak-level strength and a genius-level intellect. He is also an expert tactician.

Other versions[edit]

X-Men Forever[edit]

In an alternate timeline depicted in X-Men Forever, Killmonger made a pact with an evil version of Storm to kill T'Challa, which they succeeded in doing. However, Storm later betrayed and killed Killmonger so she could be seen as a hero to the Wakandans and become the Queen of Wakanda.[5]

Once and Future King[edit]

In an alternate universe, Killmonger and his cabal kidnapped T'Challa's friend, Everett Ross, in order to make T'Challa himself come out of isolation. However, he, his cabal, T'Challa's daughter were all killed by T'Charra, T'Challa's son.[6]

Infinity Wars[edit]

During the Infinity Wars, when the universe was folded in half, Killmonger was fused with Killraven, forming Erik Killraven. In a possible future, where the Martians had invaded Earth, Erik along with his family, who had been exiled from Wakanda, were captured and experimented on by the Martians. Erik along with M'Bakshulla (a fusion of Man-Ape and M'Shulla Scott) escaped the Martians and stole Time Diamonds, which they used to travel back in time and weaken Wakanda so it would fall with the rest of the world during the Martian invasion. In fact, they were successful in killing T'Chaka and destroying the heart-shaped herb. They eventually confronted Ghost Panther (a fusion between Black Panther and Ghost Rider), with the latter killing M'Bakshulla. Erik retaliated by impaling him from behind and planting bombs around Wakanda. However Ghost Panther came back and along with his resurrected father, consumed Killraven's soul.[7]

Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda[edit]

In an alternate timeline set 2000 years in the future,[8] a man named after Killmonger's real name, N'Jadaka, became a hero of the empire after retrieving the Shard of M'Kraan during the war against the Shi'ar Empire. However, the current ruler of Wakanda feared that N'Jadaka would overthrow him, so he sent N'Jadaka along with his squad on a secret suicide mission to take the Matrix of the Mamadou galaxy, which was inhabited by the Kronans, Shadow People, and the Klyntar. Upon arriving on a planet in the galaxy, they were quickly attacked by a race known as the Between. Trying to survive, he came across a member of the Klyntar race and bonded with it, since they had a mutual hatred against the current emperor, who made the Klyntar an endangered species.[9] Upon defeating the Between, N'Jadaka and the symbiote killed the emperor and took the throne as the new emperor of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda.[10] During this time, he got married and conceived a daughter.[11] Upon finding out that T'Challa from the past had arrived in his present, he feared that T'Challa would join the Maroon rebels, so he had him become a member of the Nameless, slaves who had their memories wiped and were forced to mine for Vibranium on asteroids. However, T'Challa retained his memories of Storm and managed to escape to join the Maroon. After that, N'Jadaka approached Bast and after recounting his origin, battled Bast's avatar. He was successful in killing it and making his daughter the new Avatar of Bast.[10] After the Maroons got ahold of N'Jadaka's daughter and T'Challa had visited the planet of the Between, N'Jadaka with his army went after the rebels in order to get his daughter back. However, Bast betrayed him and made his Empire fighters crash into the mothership while a rebel commander set the planet holding the rebel base's core to explode as a last ditch attempt to stop him; resulting in the sacrifice of thousands of lives and the apparent death of N'Jadaka.[12][13][14][15]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Erik Killmonger appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Black Panther - Trouble in Wakanda, voiced by Keston John.[16]
  • Erik Killmonger appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced again by Keston John.[17] This version is the leader of the Shadow Council and T'Challa's teacher. In the two-part episode "Shadow of Atlantis", Killmonger hires Tiger Shark to break into the Wakandan Embassy to steal a jar containing a seal with the crest of the Wakandan Royal Family. After escaping with the seal with the Avengers pursuing him, Tiger Shark contacts Killmonger for an extraction only for Killmonger to turn him down due to his failing to have his heist go off without a hitch. In the third episode "Into the Deep", Erik takes to the role of ambassador of Wakanda to the city of Atlantis and its king Attuma while secretly working to spring Tiger Shark from captivity. Revealing his true colors to both Attuma and Wakandan Royals T'Challa, who secretly snuck into the sunken city, and Shuri, who was invited as a diplomatic guest, Killmonger detonated Wakandan tech depthcharges which threatened to destroy Attuma's kingdom while the villains made their escape.[18]
  • Michael B. Jordan is set to reprise his role as Erik Killmonger in the Disney+ animated series, What If...?[19]

Film[edit]

  • Killmonger appears in Black Panther, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan.[20][21] This version is an American black-ops soldier named Erik Stevens, though his birth name was N'Jadaka[22] while his "Killmonger" nickname came from his military career.[23] Rather than a Wakandan exile, he is rewritten to be the son of Prince N'Jobu and an American woman from Oakland, California; which also makes him T'Challa's cousin. Also unlike the comics, his chest is covered with self-inflicted scarification dots; one for each of his confirmed kills. Seeking revenge for his father's death, and angry at Wakanda's refusal to assist disenfranchised black people around the globe, Killmonger challenges T'Challa for his birthright to the throne, and seemingly defeats him. After becoming King of Wakanda, he orders the country's high-tech weapons be sent to marginalized groups in London, New York City, and Hong Kong to help oppressed people rise up and overthrow their governments. He wears a version of T'Challa's kinetic energy absorbing suit that, while reminiscent of his comic book counterpart, has pronounced fangs and glows gold while being used. At the climax of the film, he is mortally wounded when T'Challa stabs him in the chest with a Vibranium spear while his suit is weakened. Though he's offered treatment, he chooses to die rather than be imprisoned after watching the sunset over Wakanda.

To prepare for the role, Jordan studied Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, and Tupac Shakur.[24] Michael B. Jordan compared Killmonger to Malcolm X and Tupac Shakur, as well as the X-Men antagonist Magneto,[25] who was himself also inspired by Malcolm X.[26][27][28] He also cited Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight as an influence.[29] In addition, Killmonger in the film has a new battle armor costume that bears a resemblance to the antagonist character Vegeta in the anime series Dragon Ball Z, which Jordan is a fan of.[30][31][32]

Jordan's performance as Killmonger received critical acclaim. The character was widely hailed as one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[33][34][35]

Video games[edit]

  • Erik Killmonger appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers. He is available through the DLC "Classic Black Panther Pack".[36]
  • Erik Killmonger appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, voiced by Damian Lynch. He is available through the DLC "Marvel's Black Panther Movie Character and Level Pack'". He is also featured as the main antagonist in the new level included in the DLC.[37]
  • Erik Killmonger appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Future Fight.[38]
  • Erik Killmonger appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Contest of Champions.[39]

Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jungle Action #17 (September 1975)
  2. ^ a b Iron Man Annual #5 (1982)
  3. ^ Black Panther vol.3 #35 (April 2008)
  4. ^ Black Panther (vol. 3) #38
  5. ^ X-Men Forever Vol. 2 #15. Marvel Comics
  6. ^ Black Panther Vol. 3 #36. Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Infinity Wars: Ghost Panther #1. Marvel Comics
  8. ^ Charles Pulliam-Moore (25 May 2018). "The Intergalactic Future of Black Panther's Wakanda Is a Bold Statement About Science Fiction". Gizmodo.
  9. ^ "Black Panther's Intergalactic Empire Has Ties to Spider-Man's Greatest Foe". Comic Book Resources. 1 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b Black Panther Vol. 7 #1-6. Marvel Comics
  11. ^ Black Panther Vol. 7 #6-11. Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Black Panther Vol. 7 #13-14. Marvel Comics
  13. ^ "Black Panther's Space Rebellion Unveils Its Own Death Star". Comic Book Resources. 9 August 2019.
  14. ^ "Black Panther is About To Face A SYMBIOTE Killmonger". ScreenRant. October 26, 2019.
  15. ^ "Forget Absolute Carnage - Black Panther Has Marvel's Scariest Symbiote". CBR. September 26, 2019.
  16. ^ "Marvel.com - The Official Site for Marvel Movies, Characters, Comics, TV". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  17. ^ "Shadow of Atlantis Pt. 2". Avengers Assemble. Season 5. Episode 2. September 23, 2018. Disney XD.
  18. ^ "Into the Deep". Avengers Assemble. Season 5. Episode 3. September 30, 2018. Disney XD.
  19. ^ Hughes, William. "Marvel just released an extremely intriguing cast list for Disney+'s animated What If…?". A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  20. ^ "SDCC 2016: Marvel's 'Black Panther' Confirms Additional Cast | News | Marvel.com". marvel.com. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  21. ^ MTV (24 July 2016). "Michael B. Jordan Talks About Becoming a Bad Guy - Comic Con 2016 - MTV" – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "Killmonger". Marvel. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  23. ^ Medina, Joseph Jammer (January 2, 2018). "Black Panther Bios Hit The Web". LRMOnline.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  24. ^ Eells, Josh (February 18, 2018). "The 'Black Panther' Revolution". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  25. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray; N'Duka, Amanda (9 January 2019). "New Hollywood Podcast: Michael B. Jordan Talks How 'Black Panther' Shifted Hollywood's Idea Of Representation". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  26. ^ Young, Paul. "Real Life Inspirations Behind Some of the Best Comic Book Villains".
  27. ^ Hanks, Henry. "The secret to 'X-Men's' success".
  28. ^ Darowski, Joseph J. The Ages of the X-Men:Essays on the Children of the Atom in Changing Times. p. 71.
  29. ^ Dumaraog, Ana (December 29, 2017). "Black Panther Villain Influenced By Heath Ledger's Joker". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on July 19, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  30. ^ "Black Panther's Killmonger May Have Borrowed His Costume From Vegeta". Comic Book Resources. 22 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger Costume Honors His Anime Love". Screen Rant. 21 February 2018.
  32. ^ "'Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan Says Killmonger's Armor May Be Based on Vegeta From 'Dragon Ball Z'". ComicBook.com. November 25, 2018.
  33. ^ Donigan, Wyatt (March 3, 2018). "Why Killmonger Is the Greatest Villain Ever". Medium.
  34. ^ Placido, Dani Di. "Why Killmonger Was Such A Compelling Villain In 'Black Panther'". Forbes.
  35. ^ "All Hail King Killmonger, the Best Superhero Villain Since Heath Ledger". Complex.
  36. ^ Paget, Mat (March 17, 2016). "Lego Avengers DLC Season Pass Detailed". Gamespot.
  37. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon (13 February 2018). "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Black Panther DLC Revealed". IGN. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  38. ^ "The King of Wakanda Rules Marvel Games". Marvel.
  39. ^ "Champion Spotlight – Killmonger". Contest of Champions official website. Retrieved February 16, 2018.

External links[edit]