Published May 28, 2019

The First Time Shuri Became the Black Panther

Flashback to Shuri's first stint as the Black Panther.


In Shuri's first appearance—as seen in 2005's BLACK PANTHER #2 by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita Jr.—she wanted to get into the ring to earn the title of Black Panther. She didn't even get a chance to try, though, because a tossed-out challenger landed on top of her and a masked T'Challa leapt over them both to win the mantle.

Throughout the rest of that volume, Shuri proved her brilliance and bravery, but only took on the iconic title with the DARK REIGN era BLACK PANTHER series that launched in 2008. That volume opened with Doctor Doom brutally attacking T'Challa after he refused to join Norman Osborn's cabal. Barely alive, the king returned to Wakanda before his wife, Queen Ororo, took over leadership duties and immediately nominated Shuri to become the next Black Panther.

Black Panther (2009) #1

Black Panther (2009) #1

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The princess then focused her efforts on proving her worth by completing a series of challenges. She walked barefoot across fire, meditated for hours in a scorpion pit, and even free-climbed the mountain that was home to the heart-shaped herbs... Herbs that happened to be surrounded by a pride of panthers.

Having acquired the herb, she ingested it back in the palace and met with Bast, the Panther God. The meeting did not go as planned, though, when Shuri's arrogance led her to declare her worthiness instead of presenting herself humbly. The god told her to go, saying that she would never be the Black Panther. After conveying this to the others, Zuri pointed out that the god must have seen something in her because it usually destroyed anyone deemed unworthy.

With Morlun attacking Wakanda, the country needed a hero while Storm attempted to save T'Challa from Death in Limbo. Shuri answered the call and donned the Black Panther costume for the first time, understanding that she needed to prove herself by overcoming her arrogance and ego. While she defeated Morlun, T'Challa returned to consciousness, but did not retake the Black Panther title, leaving it to Shuri for a time.

In the second half of that BLACK PANTHER volume, Shuri traveled to America, where she was attacked. Shuri and her crew investigated the encounter which uncovered a revolutionary group of Wakandans called the Desturi that had been manipulated by Doctor Doom. The Latverian leader orchestrated a fight between her and Namor. However, the truth came to light when the Fantastic Four showed up.

Doomwar (2010) #1

Doomwar (2010) #1

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All of that lead into the DOOMWAR limited series in which Doctor Doom finally revealed his plan to steal Vibranium out from under Wakanda. While T'Challa dealt with that, Shuri worked to excise all traces of the Desturi from their homeland. In the end, they all came face to face with Doom and T'Challa made the choice to destroy all of the processed Vibranium instead of allowing Doom to keep possession of it.

Back in action, T'Challa decided to focus on being the king, leaving Shuri as Black Panther to star in KLAWS OF THE PANTHER. In that four-issue limited series, she traveled the globe learning lessons from the likes of Ka-Zar, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Black Widow.

She later returned home, where Namor led an attack against Wakanda in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #7-8 and NEW AVENGERS #7-12 because T'Challa had granted asylum to Hope and the others opposing the Phoenix Five. Shuri  declared war against the Atlantean and eventually ousted her brother (who then became king of the Necropolis) for secretly dealing with Namor.

The two made up to some extent when Shuri sacrificed herself in battle with Proxima Midnight to give T'Challa enough time to escape in NEW AVENGERS #24. The sacrifice proved worthy because he survived the reality-ending incursions at the beginning of SECRET WARS and even managed to help restore reality. When the 2016 BLACK PANTHER series launched, T'Challa worked to bring his sister back, which succeeded leading to her important role in that series and now in her own!

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