One of the eldest of the Ennead, Bast is god of pleasure, dancing, and music, and patron god to the Wakandans, protecting her children with absolute ferocity.
Ancient Egyptian History
As early as 10,000 BC, Bast is worshipped as a panther god, granting power to worshippers and descendants. The Children of Bast dwell in the mountaintop city Bastet, existing as panthers but becoming human via the magical Eye of Bast gem until its theft. As the pharaohs took over the rule of Egypt, many gods moved to Celestial Heliopolis, while Bast adopts a realm bordering Heliopolis and Ala, home of Africa’s gods, the Vodū. Bast inherits Ra’s life-giving solar heat, while their sibling Sekhmet inherits his fiery, destructive fury; both siblings have male and female forms.
In Egypt, Bast is worshipped primarily in the city of Bubastis as a goddess of pleasure, dancing, and music, and it becomes a pious custom to bury mummified cats within Bast’s sanctuaries. Bast protects men against disease and evil spirits, and eventually parents a lion-headed son, the war god Mahes. An unidentified sorcerer creates the Claw of Bast, a powerful artifact using Bast’s power to restore the sick or dead or empower its wielder. It’s used seven times before Egyptian leader Khafre has it broken into fragments in 2500 BC. Bast achieves greater regard in 952 BC when Pharaoh Sheshonk elevated Bubastis to prominence within the kingdom.
In the modern era, Reed Richards, AKA Mister Fantastic, Francesca Fisher, and Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom reassemble the Claw. Though, it crumbles after being used to defeat a Khafre-possessed Sphinx and heal Richards’ ailing mentor, Professor van Nuys.
The Most Powerful Ennead
Bast has typical godly superhuman strength, durability, longevity, etc. Appearing most commonly as an immense black panther or a humanoid panther, Bast has both male and female forms, and typically empowers others. Empowered by the sun, Bast is one of the most powerful of the Ennead.
When Bast deems their hand-picked Black Panthers as unworthy, they remove their powers, and Bast's worshippers occasionally turn on her.
Patron to Wakanda
Bast’s primary worshippers are Wakandans, who are fiercely loyal to the Cat Goddess, since she offers them aid when needed and gifts their leader with abilities that allow them to protect Wakanda. One such leader is T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, whom she sometimes gets impatient with and withdraws power from him.
A History of Protection
As the Panther God, Bast has been patron to the African nation Wakanda for many centuries. A Panther Cult developed, and a succession of representatives have undergone rites, including consumption of a rare, heart-shaped herb which bind each to Bast and crowns them as Wakanda’s spiritual and literal leader, the Black Panther.
In Wakanda, the Panther Cult is rivaled by the Jabari tribe, worshippers of the White Gorilla and Ghekre, AKA Gorilla God; and the worshippers of Sekhmet, the Lion God. Wakanda’s unprecedented prosperity and power in Africa has enhanced surrounding nations’ respect for the Panther God as well. In recent years, Bast became impatient with T’Challa, the current Black Panther’s diplomatic policy towards neighboring Azania’s apartheid oppression, and Bast directly possessed Sekhem Naville, a tortured Azanian who prayed for aid. Bast withdrew their power and support from T’Challa, sparking unrest in Wakanda, while the Panther-empowered Naville attacked Azanian soldiers and officials, leading the people to rebel, only to be slaughtered by the heavily armed soldiers. When Naville challenged T’Challa directly, T’Challa outwitted and subdued him, regaining Bast’s respect and power; T’Challa continued his non-violent support of the black Azanian majority, who soon gained a voice in the Azanian government.
When the Hell-lord Mephisto sought to consume T’Challa’s soul, he was forced to consume Bast’s as well as every previous Black Panther; unable to contain this mass of noble, pure spirits, Mephisto relinquished them all and swore to avoid Wakanda.
T’Challa’s bond to Bast was later severed by Erik Killmonger (N'Jadaka), AKA Killmonger, and an effort to restore it drew the demon Nightmare to assault Bast’s mystical base and the Black Panther spirits present. Ultimately, T’Challa restored his bond to Bast and forced Nightmare to relinquish the Panther spirits or be trapped in the realm of the dead.
Bast judged T’Challa’s new bride Ororo Munroe, AKA Storm, as worthy, and subsequently devoured the body-possessing Shadow King after he had possessed a number of people in Wakanda. When T’Challa was later rendered comatose, Bast judged T’Challa’s sister Shuri as unworthy to replace him as the Black Panther since she was selfish and carried an air of entitlement.
When Doctor Doom visited Bast in the spirit world, he sought the Panther God’s permission to take Vibranium from Wakanda to conquer the world. Bast, seeing his past crimes also saw his conviction to rule the world and make it better. Bast allowed him to take what Vibranium he needed.
During the Chaos War and while in the realm of the Japanese deities, Bast, to their own demise, helps the God Squad against a demon horde. Bast's sacrifice allowed the Japanese deities to flee.
Though being a God has its benefits. Returning to New York City with other animal gods and demons, and going by Bastet, she sought Rahne Sinclair, AKA Wolfsbane’s unborn child, whose father was Hrimhari, one of the Asgardian Wolf Gods. Though it’s unclear why Bastet desired the child, she was willing to do anything to get to them, even kill.
When Bastet is awoken by Jennifer Walters, AKA She-Hulk, within a replica necklace at a museum, cats overrun the museum. They flee and cause a traffic accident outside, to which She-Hulk and her ally Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, save people from. She-Hulk removes the necklace, and all the cats combine to form Bastet’s gigantic cat-headed human form. Bastet demanded that She-Hulk protect Earth and while She-Hulk stated that it is protected, it wasn’t enough for the Cat Goddess and she demanded love from She-Hulk who promptly fought back, sending Bastet flying through the air and crashing to the ground. Sobek, the servant of the Goddess of War and Hunting Neith, then intervened (though it was just Spider-Man impersonating her using a bull mask from the museum to hide his face). He said that the Earth was under Neith’s protection. Bastet believed it and took her leave.
When T’Challa confronted Bast and demanded the return of his powers, Bast refused and instead allowed Shuri to remain as the ruling Black Panther of Wakanda. She tasked T’Challa with ruling Necropolis, where Black Panthers go to die, as a new Black Panther.
Bast was also worshipped by the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda led by Emperor N’Jadaka (Killmonger), whom Bast deemed Emperor. Though when N’Jadaka nearly died, he felt betrayed by his deity and using a symbiote, he killed Bast, draining her of her abilities. Surviving in N’Jadaka’s daughter Zenzi, she assisted the Maroons to fight the empire that worshipped her.