Black Panther’s First Avengers Appearance Flipped His MCU Debut


While Black Panther has become one of the most popular heroes in the Marvel Universe, with his affiliation with the Avengers well noted throughout his history, his origins with the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a bit spotty as he suffers through a misunderstanding that nearly cost him his standing as a hero, and even his life–a story that is practically the exact opposite of Black Panther’s MCU debut.

T’Challa aka Black Panther made his first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance in Captain America: Civil War. In the film, T’Challa is in New York as one of the representatives of his home country, Wakanda, for the signing of the Sokovia Accords. During the U.N. Summit during which the Accords were to be signed, there is an explosion that kills T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, and everyone thinks the notorious assassin, the Winter Soldier, is responsible–including T’Challa. Throughout the majority of the film, Black Panther is on a mission to avenge his father’s death by killing the Winter Soldier, but Black Panther is unaware that he was operating on misinformation. The real villain responsible for the explosion at the U.N. and the death of T’Chaka was Zemo, not the Winter Soldier, so Black Panther nearly killed an innocent man for a crime he didn’t commit.

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In Avengers #52 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Black Panther is officially a member of the Avengers after Captain America vouches for him following a mission Cap helped T’Challa with in Africa. When Black Panther goes to meet up with the other Avengers for the first time, he sees that they’re all seemingly dead as they were lying still on the floor upon his arrival. Black Panther stands there, shocked by what he’s seeing, until he is suddenly accosted by a SHIELD agent who immediately suspects that Black Panther was the one who killed the Avengers since he is the only one standing and wasn’t an established member of the team quite yet.

The situation Black Panther finds himself in during his Avengers debut is the exact opposite of the one he’s in upon his MCU debut. In the comics, Black Panther is accused of murder when he’s really innocent, but in the MCU, he’s the accuser and even takes things one step further by actively trying to kill the person he believes is responsible for that particular murder–an example of cosmic irony that transcends the comic book realm of Marvel lore and is presented in the relatively new medium of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While these instances are almost exact opposites of each other, they do eventually align as the outcomes wind up being the same. In the end, in both the comics and the movies, the misunderstanding Black Panther finds himself in the middle of gets resolved and results in Black Panther becoming a life-long Avengers ally. However, just because the endings were the same doesn’t mean the situations were, as Black Panther’s first Avengers appearance in Marvel Comics totally flipped his MCU debut.

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