"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"
As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!
So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!
By TJ Dietsch
Unlike many of his fellow super heroes, The Black Panther doesn't just wear his costume to protect himself in combat or hide his secret identity, but to honor his country, family and the spirit of the Panther God who made him king.
Because of that, T'Challa's costume has gone through only minor changes through his career as a solo hero and member of the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Even so, it's time for a walk through the Panther's closet to see the looks he's rocked over the years.
The Black Panther first appeared in 1966's FANTASTIC FOUR #52. Dressed in head-to-toe black, the Panther sported a full mask with ear-like nubs on the mask and a cape. This would be the basis for all of his future costumes on and off the battlefield.
Two years later, T'Challa joined the Avengers in AVENGERS #52 and switched things up a bit. Instead of a mask covering his face, his mouth now sat exposed. He also ditched the cape. While the mask would soon go back to its original design, he kept the cape away for his time with the team. Though his Avengers membership remained sporadic, he returned to this look most often when adventuring with the group as well as during his late 70’s solo series.
Return of the Cape
After kicking around for quite awhile wearing just his skin-tight cat suit, BP went back to the more regal cape look for his 1988 limited series.
Not until the launch of his solo series in 1998 did Black Panther go through a long-term costume change and even that didn’t prove too much of a departure. He started sporting gold embellishments around his neck, waist and wrists. His claws also became more pronounced.
Towards the end of the BLACK PANTHER series that spanned the late 90’s and beyond, Kasper Cole started masquerading as T'Challa, but instead of wearing the traditional costume, he wore a long trenchcoat and used guns to take on the bad guys.
Black Panther returned to his usual look, this time sporting the cape again on the regular, but on certain occasions he busted out a full-on suit of armor kind of like Iron Man's. He even wielded The Black Knight's Ebony Blade once while wearing it to do the full nine yards with the knight look.
Female Black Panther
T'Challa got his backside handed to him pretty bad by Doctor Doom after his series re-launched during Dark Reign . His sister Shuri wound up taking the mantle over, wearing a similar costume to the traditional look. Like her brother she wore a cape, but added to a furry mantle on her shoulder and a big necklace.
Man Without Fear
After healing and getting revenge on Doctor Doom, T'Challa found himself questioning how he fit into the world. Daredevil ended up in a similar situation after Shadowland. DD wanted to leave the city, but not without getting somebody he trusted to take his place to take his place. To fit his new role as protector of Hell's Kitchen, T'Challa took the classic look and made it a little more appropriate for his urban surroundings, hence a bulletproof vest, golden knee protectors and claws on his hands and feet. He's a new Black Panther for a new era.