WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Black Panther #20, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ryan Bodenheim, Daniel Acuna, Michael Garland, and VC’s Joe Sabino, on sale now.
Ta Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther has been one of the most thought-provoking runs on the character, revealing King T’Challa went through a wormhole which saw him end up in a Wakandan Empire that was inherently evil. He joined and led a rebellion, and after finally returning home, he’s brought some of the resistance with him for the last stand against the evil legion.
He thought their leader, N’Jadaka (an alternate reality Erik Killmonger) was dead, but thanks to the symbiote that the villain had, his essence lived on. It came to Earth and possessed the corpse of the 616-Killmonger after N’Jadaka’s body was destroyed. Now, in Issue #20, it’s revealed that the symbiote is more similar to Venom than initially thought.
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As fans know, Venom and Eddie Brock have had an antagonistic relationship. It’s been portrayed in movies, cartoons and decades of comics since they bonded. One side often wants to do the one thing the other doesn’t and over the years, it’s become harder to tell who’s using who. They always had ulterior motives for each other, although this was fixed as both were turned into full-fledged heroes which culminated in Donny Cates’ take on them. They quit their bickering and started working together, amid all the secrets, to fend off threats like Knull and Carnage.
In Black Panther, N’Jadaka’s symbiote appeared to be co-operational with him, but it’s been revealed that isn’t the case. It’s hasn’t been smooth sailing because while the symbiote powered up the soldier, it was indeed using the warrior as a means to an end — one that’s still uncertain.
Here, as Black Panther fortifies with the likes of Storm, Gateway, the Dora Milaje, he also has to destroy the Djalia to protect his ancestors and ensure N’Jadaka doesn’t get its power. The villain is inching closer, though, with his eyes set on a star-gate that’ll allow them to invade Wakanda. But as he doles out instructions, N’Jadaka collapses in pain and retreats to the bathroom. There it’s shown that he and the symbiote aren’t on the same page.
It’s unclear sure what the symbiote wants to happen but N’Jadaka warns him against this kind of betrayal as he’s the only physical body who could contain the being. They argue as the symbiote threatens to return N’Jadaka to the land of the dead but the soldier makes it clear someday he won’t just offer the alien a body to occupy, he’ll actually become its master. This is the same kind of threat Eddie repeatedly made against Venom during their tenure together. Eventually, they worked together but it’s hard to deny that they did try to dominate each other from time to time.
It appears that this is the case here as well. What’s most intriguing is if N’Jadaka’s psyche is purged, the old Killmonger could return. So, in theory, the symbiote can revive the physical body and the mental state as well. Only time will tell but with Bast seemingly defecting to N’Jadaka’s side, he may just have gotten the weapon of mass destruction he needs in the god in order to get whatever it is the symbiote ultimately wants.
KEEP READING: The Haunted Symbiote Hunting Black Panther Is Really Possessed By [SPOILER]
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