M’Baku is one of the greatest warriors in Wakanda who ascends to the Jabari Clan’s chieftain, though his ambitious goals of ruling the African Nation cloud his judgement and lead to exile. Empowered by the sacred white gorilla with superhuman strength and agility, M'Baku leads a life as a super criminal and mercenary, seeking to best the Black Panther.
Chieftain of the Jabari Clan
The prosperous African nation of Wakanda is comprised of many tribes who have, at times, warred for power but generally live in peace. The traditionalist, isolationist Jabari tribe grow dissatisfied with the other Wakandan tribes’ reliance on technology and their contact with the outside world. Most Wakandan tribes worship the Panther God, and their king adopts the guise of the Black Panther, the religious head of all the tribes. In recent years, when King T’Chaka, AKA Black Panther, was murdered by Ulysses Klaw, AKA Klaw, the Jabari reveals their decision to follow the White Gorilla God (possibly either Ghekre or Gullah), worship of whom had long been outlawed. The Jabari then seek to conquer all of Wakanda, and the other tribes ally against them. T’Chaka’s son, the newly coronated King T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, outlaws the tribe and disperses them throughout all of Wakanda; the Jabari are shunned and ridiculed, some even put to death.
Jabari leader Damola flees the country with his wife and relocates to Chicago, Illinois, where they conceive a daughter, Ce’athauna Asira Davin, who goes by the American name Chanté Giovanni Brown. An unknown tribal faction has Damola and his wife killed, leaving the child to be raised by Toyosi, an appointed aide of T’Challa’s. The Jabari eventually relocate to Wakanda’s frozen Crystal Forest, where they grow accustomed to the harshly cold environment and build a large edifice, the Gorilla Palace, to honor the Gorilla God.
M’Baku becomes the Jabari chieftain after many other Jabari leaders are exiled or killed. He feigns friendship with T’Challa as they were raised, though T’Challa spends years studying overseas. Eventually, M’Baku hunts down one of the sacred white gorillas who dwelled in the Crystal Forest and slays the beast, consuming its flesh, though no one outside the Jabari knows this. This ritual mystically enhances M’Baku’s physical abilities, and M’Baku turns the gorilla’s carcass into a costume for himself. T’Challa eventually undergoes similar religious rites and becomes the new Black Panther.
During a time when T’Challa planned on staying overseas to work with the Avengers Super Hero team in America, M’Baku, as the first of Wakanda’s warrior command, is named acting leader of Wakanda and is expected to follow the rules T’Challa set before he left. M’Baku immediately begins making changes, however, building secret effigies to the Gorilla God and even giving edicts that strangers to Wakanda were to be shot on sight. When T’Challa seeks admission for Wakanda into the United Nations, M’Baku has his aide, N’Gamo, send loyalists N’Taka, M’Chata, and Naraba to the United States, where they recruit the Death Tiger to kill T’Challa. A deadly warrior who had been exiled from Wakanda, Death Tiger stalks and attacks the Black Panther only to be shot dead by T’Challa’s young friend Delroy Watkins.
In time, T’Challa brings his fellow Avengers Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, and Vision, and their ally Dane Whitman, AKA Black Knight, to Wakanda with him, and M’Baku holds a feast in their honor. He secretly poisons the heroes and takes them captive, then reveals himself in his costume as the Man-Ape. After a fierce battle with Black Panther across the Techno-Jungle, M'Baku ends up buried in the rubble of a Panther statue after trying to crush T’Challa with it.
M'Baku possesses superhuman strength, capable of lifting up to 10 tons. He also has enhanced endurance, agility, and durability. A natural fighter, his style is reminiscent of the gorilla.
For a time, he possesses supernatural abilities thanks to Baron Macabre, who resurrects him from death.
While the King of Wakanda T’Challa works with the Avengers in the U.S., he leaves M'Baku in charge of the African nation, though M'Baku often plots to overthrow his rule and take the throne.
The Avengers including Hawkeye, Vision, and their ally Black Knight pose a threat to M'Baku’s rule in Black Panther’s stead when they accompany the Panther to Wakanda. M'Baku orders his lackey N’Gamo to poison the Avengers, though they survive.
N’Gamo is M'Baku’s chief supporter in leading Wakanda. Often acting as an aide to M'Baku, he has on his ruler’s order poisoned the Avengers and helped him defeat Black Panther.
M'Baku is a part of the Jabari Clan of the Wakandan nation in Africa. The Jabari worship the White Gorilla God and after the Jabari clash with other Wakandan tribes over technology, they are reduced in number and M'Baku becomes their chieftain.
He is formerly a member of Eric Williams, AKA Grim Leaper’s group Lethal Legion alongside Living Laser, Erik Josten, AKA Atlas, and Jacques Duquesne, AKA Swordsman. He later joins the Hell-lord Mephisto’s Masters of Evil group which allies him with a mutated Josten, Samuel David Barone, AKA Black Talon, and demons posing as the villains Enchantress, Executioner, and Baron Heinrich Zemo, AKA Baron Zemo.
Chanté Brown, AKA Queen Divine Justice, is M'Baku’s cousin as is her father Damola, who is deceased. She is the rightful heir to the Jabari clan in Wakanda and when M'Baku finds out, he offers his allegiance to her.
A Leader's Ledger
Most of Wakanda believed M'Baku killed, but he was smuggled out of the country by N’Gamo and the duo traveled to the U.S. He was soon recruited into the Lethal Legion alongside the Living Laser, Power Man (Erik Josten), and Swordsman, by Avengers foe Grim Reaper, who promised his teammates that the one to take down the most Avengers would be granted a reward. Immediately acting, M’Baku attacked Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, but fled when the other Avengers arrived. He then kidnapped Black Panther’s lover, Monica Lynne, and held her hostage to lure T’Challa into a trap, soon defeating the Panther in single combat.
M'Baku then captured Captain America while the rest of the Legion apprehended the other Avengers, but just when victory seemed certain, Grim Reaper changed his mind and set the heroes free after learning the Vision might be an android re-creation of his late brother. The Legion was soon defeated and left for the police.
M’Baku was officially exiled from Wakanda, so he began hiring himself out as a mercenary, accumulating wealth and power while plotting the conquest of Wakanda and the final defeat of T’Challa. Grim Reaper eventually reassembled his Lethal Legion, and M'Baku battled the Avengers alongside Ultron-12 to recruit Goliath (the further mutated Erik Josten). Together, they defeated the powerful Simon Williams, AKA Wonder Man, before departing. Soon estranged by Grim Reaper’s racial slurs towards blacks, M'Baku and new Legion recruit Samuel Barone, AKA Black Talon, abandoned Grim Reaper, and the Avengers defeated the remaining villains.
Manipulated by Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom’s Aggression Enhancer, M'Baku next attacked the Fantastic Four alongside several other villains and was quickly defeated. M’Baku attended the Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) Weapons Expo on Boca Caliente where dozens of villains fought against Captain America and his allies. M'Baku also apparently joined with Goliath, Black Talon, and demons posing as the villains Enchantress, Executioner, and Baron (Heinrich) Zemo, under the guidance of the Hell-lord Mephisto in a group loosely referred to as the Masters of Evil (though it more closely resembled the Lethal Legion) in a plot against Wonder Man and Mephisto’s son, Blackheart. This group dissolved almost immediately, and many related events may have been part of an elaborate illusory deception spun by Mephisto.
Still in the U.S., M'Baku accepted an offer from Justine Hammer, AKA Crimson Cowl, to join her new Masters of Evil. Based in Mount Charteris in Burton Canyon, Colorado, M'Baku and 23 other criminals participated in the Cowl’s global weather control blackmail scheme. As M'Baku pondered his plans to take over the Masters and get revenge on Wakanda, the Thunderbolts (an outlaw super-team led by Hawkeye) swiftly defeated the entire Masters team.
M'Baku was imprisoned for a time until Nakia, AKA Malice, a former Dora Milaje seeking revenge on the Black Panther, freed him. In recent years, the Black Panther had recruited Chanté Brown as one of his ceremonial wives-in-training, the Dora Milaje; growing up in Chicago, she had developed into a sarcastic and politically concerned adolescent, calling herself Queen Divine Justice. Chanté knew nothing of her tribal heritage, and the Jabari suspected that the Black Panther only recruited her in order to develop greater control of the Jabari. Malice provided M'Baku with Wakandan imperial codes and entreated him to kill Ramonda (T’Challa’s stepmother) and Chanté, with M'Baku unaware of Chanté’s Jabari heritage.
M'Baku swiftly returned to the Jabari’s Wakandan lands, where he found a suspended animation containment unit holding an alternate future (Reality-1145) Black Panther inside. He realized the Black Panther had placed this in the Crystal Forest so that no one would find it, and M'Baku returned the unit to Gorilla Palace, thrilled to have discovered one of the Panther’s secrets.
Using the codes Malice had given him, M'Baku commandeered a ship that Ramonda and Chanté were on and, after shooting down other ships, returned them to the Crystal Forest. He soon learned, however, that Chanté was the Jabari heir and thus bowed before her, stating that he would obey her in all things. Young hero Vibraxas tried to retrieve Chanté, but M'Baku disabled the hero’s vibrational powers by removing the headband that allowed Vibraxas to control them. Vibraxas was wrapped in a burial shroud that blocked his powers.
The Jabari were preparing the March of Lights to proclaim Chanté as their ruler when the Black Panther arrived and demanded that the Jabari follow his laws. M'Baku prepared to fight the Panther in single combat and was shocked when T’Challa appointed American bureaucrat Henry Peter Gyrich to fight in his place. Using his verbal skills and knowledge of Wakandan law to taunt M'Baku, Gyrich managed to avoid harm, though M'Baku took a bite out of Gyrich’s government identification.
The Black Panther soon returned, and M'Baku resumed his battle with his former friend, demanding that the Jabari be allowed to secede and form their own nation, and disrespecting the Black Panther by repeatedly calling him the “dog-king.” During this battle, Chanté finally learned about her true heritage and her responsibility to her tribe. When Vibraxas’ powers returned, he unintentionally shattered the entire Gorilla Palace. The Jabari’s battle was lost, yet M'Baku took pleasure in exposing the unit with the future Black Panther inside, revealing T’Challa’s secret.
M'Baku was imprisoned in the Black Panther’s palace for the following weeks until Chanté and Vibraxas released him, and Chanté made him promise to return to the Jabari and not to seek revenge on the Panther. M'Baku immediately attacked the future Panther’s life support unit, however, slaying him and infuriating T’Challa. The Wakandan tribes again united against the Jabari. Chanté sought a peaceful resolution and pleaded with the Black Panther to let her people go. The Panther, delirious due to a medical disorder, lashed out furiously and severely wounded her. M'Baku ordered his tribe into battle, and war erupted until Chanté, though still very weak, begged for them to stop. The Jabari were allowed to return to their lands.
Months later, Black Panther announced his wedding to American mutant Ororo Munroe, AKA Storm. Insulted because he believed he had not been invited, M'Baku prepared his tribe for battle, but eventually settled on crashing the ceremony, where he learned he had been invited while clashing with fellow guest Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man.
Later, after he represented the Jabari at the Pan-African Congress on the Treatment of Superhumans, a response to the U.S.' recent Superhuman Registration Act, M'Baku allied with Grim Reaper and Saboteur to blow up the Statue of Liberty, but they were thwarted by the new Heroes for Hire.
M'Baku soon encountered Morlun, a Totemic hunter, who murdered the Jabari leader by consuming him. Though he wasn’t dead for long and joined Villains for Hire led by Zebediah Killgrave, AKA Purple Man, and Helen O’Hara, AKA Headhunter, to sell his services in the same way the Heroes for Hire go about business. M'Baku was later imprisoned at Pleasant Hill by S.H.I.E.L.D. with the Cosmic Cube entity Kobik who rehabilitated their villainous natures into something more productive to society. M'Baku joined Baron Helmut Zemo, AKA Baron Zemo, and fought back, releasing the prisoners from Kobik’s control, and they fought off the Avengers as well.
When M'Baku suffered yet another brush with death, his brother, Mandla, took up his mantle until his death. It wasn’t until Baron Macabre resurrected M'Baku an in so doing granted him supernatural abilities. Black Panther, Shuri, and Kantu defeated M'Baku and Macabre removed his newfound powers.