Meet the White Wolf, Black Panther’s Villainous Brother
Who is the White Wolf? Read on to learn more about Hunter, T'Challa and Shuri's adoptive brother who went down a dark and dangerous path as leader of the Hatut Zeraze.
Long before suiting up as the Black Panther, siblings T’Challa and Shuri were always destined to rule as members of Wakanda’s royal family. However, the same cannot be said for their adoptive brother, a man known only as Hunter, AKA the White Wolf.
After growing up alongside T’Challa, the White Wolf has been both one of Wakanda’s fiercest defenders and one of the Black Panther’s most dangerous enemies – but now, Hunter has set his sights on Sam Wilson in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH (2022) by Tochi Onyebuchi, R.B. Silva, and Ig Guara. Before he unleashes his next plan against the high-flying Captain America in the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR crossover event, we’re taking a closer look at the White Wolf and how he turned against Wakanda.
THE WHITE WOLF AND THE BLACK PANTHER
The White Wolf debuted as an adult in BLACK PANTHER (1998) #4 by Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira, but he joined Wakanda’s royal family years before T’Challa’s birth. Hunter hails from Mohannda, a nation that neighbors Wakanda to the north and has a history of racial inequality and violent oppression. When Hunter was a small child, he was the only survivor of a plane crash that killed the rest of his family. After a kindly Wakandan couple found him in a desolate part of northern Wakanda, they brought the young survivor to King T’Chaka, who made the shocking decision to adopt Hunter with his wife N’Yami. Although Hunter was viewed with some suspicion due to his status as an outsider, he had a princely upbringing and grew up loving his adoptive parents and his adoptive home.
However, Hunter’s status in the family shifted after N’Yami died giving birth to T’Challa, who quickly became the heir apparent and T’Chaka’s favored son. As Tochi Onyebuchi, Setor Fiadzigbey, Fran Galán, Enid Balám, and Ramon Bachs detailed in BLACK PANTHER LEGENDS (2021), Hunter and T’Challa grew up alongside each other, but Hunter soon became jealous of his brother. However, Hunter found a kindred spirit in Ramonda, T’Chaka’s South African second wife, and the two bonded over their shared status as relative outsiders to Wakanda.
Eventually, T’Chaka gave Hunter the title of the White Wolf and made him head of the Hatut Zeraze, Wakanda’s secret security force. These so-called “Dogs of War” mixed mystic enhancements with weapons-resistant vibranium suits and advanced cloaking technology that could render them invisible. With his extensive combat training and a fierce devotion to protecting Wakanda’s secrets, the White Wolf led the Hatut Zeraze as they conducted assassinations and kidnapped political prisoners. However, T'Challa vehemently disapproved of their actions, as he made clear during a fight with the White Wolf in RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER (2018) #5 by Evan Narcisse, Javier Pina, and Edgar Salazar.
THE WHITE WOLF BREAKS BAD
After T’Chaka’s death, T’Challa became the King of Wakanda and disbanded the Hatut Zeraze when he took power, adding that the group’s brutality was an insult to their father’s memory. Following a stint in a Wakandan prison, the White Wolf and several other members of the Hatut Zeraze started operating as mercenaries with their signature vibranium suits. Despite their status, Hunter and his team still saw themselves as ultimately loyal to Wakanda.
The White Wolf resurfaced with the Hatut Zeraze while Black Panther was stuck in the United States in BLACK PANTHER (1998) #4. After the villainous Achebe launched a coup and installed himself as the ruler of Wakanda, Hunter confronted T’Challa and tried to force him to order Achebe’s assassination. After the Black Panther refused, the siblings came to blows in an explosive fight over their dueling visions for Wakanda and T’Challa’s leadership.
Although Hunter was imprisoned after that encounter, he was released by Black Panther ally Everett Ross to deal with an attack from Erik Killmonger during the American’s brief time as Wakanda’s regent. Then, following his defeat, the White Wolf resurrected a fallen Klaw in a misguided attempt to help T’Challa prove his worth as Wakanda’s king in BLACK PANTHER (1998) #26 by Christopher Priest and Sal Velluto. Hunter was also briefly in charge of a scheme involving XCon, a group of intelligence agencies, and took control of the leaders of Canada and the United States. However, Iron Man and Alpha Flight foiled this plot in BLACK PANTHER (1998) #44 by Priest and Velluto.
When T’Challa briefly stepped away from the Black Panther mantle following a brain aneurism, Hunter offered his aid to Kevin “Kasper” Cole, the NYPD officer who briefly operated as a vigilante Black Panther in BLACK PANTHER (1998) #50 by Priest and Dan Fraga. However, Cole rebuffed his advances and began taking advice from T’Challa instead.
After a lengthy absence, the White Wolf returned in BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE (2010) #523.1 by David Liss and Jefte Palo. When the Black Panther abdicated his throne and destroyed Wakanda’s vibranium supply, the White Wolf started killing people T’Challa had previously saved in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Furious at his brother and aiming to claim the Black Panther mantle for himself, the White Wolf fought T’Challa once again. After soundly defeating Hunter, T’Challa told him to never return to Wakanda and effectively excommunicated him from their family.
THE WHITE WOLF RETURNS
In the years following that encounter, Wakanda went through several major changes. Without the White Wolf, the Hatut Zeraze were reinstated as Wakanda’s secret security force. Although their most brutal methods were curtailed, they still operated as a lethal strike force during events like Wakanda’s war with Atlantis and EMPYRE (2020).
After a tumultuous period of political unrest, Wakanda started transitioning into a parliamentary democracy with a more limited role for King T’Challa, as seen in BLACK PANTHER (2021) #1 by John Ridley and Juann Cabal. After several years in the shadows, the White Wolf returned in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2022) #0 by Tochi Onyebuchi, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Mattia De Iulis. Now, Hunter has his sights set on sowing chaos and taking advantage of political instability in Wakanda, the United States, and beyond.
In CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH (2022) by Tochi Onyebuchi, R.B. Silva, and Ig Guara, the White Wolf tried to activate a bioweapon that would destabilize the relationship between the United States and Wakanda. As the “Wakandan Forever” social movement encouraged Americans to emigrate to Wakanda, Hunter infected new immigrants to Wakanda with a lethal blood-borne virus that could be activated and turned airborne by exposure to vibranium, a rare metal primarily found in Wakanda.
However, Captain America and Joaquín Torres’ Falcon discovered the White Wolf’s vibranium-smuggling operation, as well as evidence that he tested the virus on migrants in America. While the heroes ultimately foiled the White Wolf’s plans to cause a mass casualty event, Wakandan leadership saw Sam Wilson’s actions on Wakandan soil as an illegal incursion by a sanctioned operative of the United States government. In response, Wakanda immediately ended all immigration from the United States and rescinded the asylum status previously given to American immigrants.
Although his bio-weapon plot was foiled and his associate Crossbones was apprehended, an infuriated White Wolf doubled down on his larger plans. After recommitting himself to destroying Captain America’s homeland, Hunter turned his attention to his family homeland, Mohannda, and a plot involving the assassination of the troubled nation’s prime minister in the "Pax Mohannda" storyline.
While Hunter may have started life as one of Wakanda’s most favored sons, the White Wolf has strayed far from the path that his upbringing set him on. With much of the same training that forged T’Challa into the Black Panther, the White Wolf stands as one of Marvel’s most dangerous threats, and the CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR event could prove just how dangerous he really is.
Watch White Wolf's latest plot unfold in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH (2022) #6, on sale now, and don't miss CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR in 2023!
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