Every great hero has an arch nemesis. And for the Black Panther, that man is Erik Killmonger.
A fierce and cunning warrior who thinks of himself as a more capable and courageous than T’Challa, Killmonger has opposed the King of Wakanda almost constantly. Over the years, Killmonger’s villainy has taken many forms, but his goal has always remained consistent: to undermine the Black Panther at every turn while forcing him to look inward at his own actions.
A Troubled Beginning
Born with the name N’Jadaka, Killmonger grew up in Wakanda, like T’Challa. Still a child when Ulysses Klaw invaded the country to steal Vibranium, he was orphaned when his family was killed by Klaw during a botched job. As he escaped, Klaw took N’Jadaka captive, taking him to America. There, N’Jadaka was able to escape from Klaw’s grasp, but had no way to get back home. So, he changed his name to Erik Killmonger and moved to Harlem in New York City.
In New York, he studied business before earning a Ph.D. in engineering and becoming a professor at MIT. Upon seeing Wakanda’s new king, T’Challa, in the United States alongside the Avengers, Killmonger contacted him to arrange a safe return to his mother country, posing as a lost citizen. In reality, Killmonger blamed the Wakandan monarchy for his parents’ deaths and would use everything he learned abroad to make life hell for T’Challa back home.