Many years ago Ulysses Klaw, aided by traitorous tribesmen; led a felonious attack on Wakanda and its royal family. Klaw even managed to kill king T'Chaka, before being stopped by T'Chaka's young son, T'Challa. Having been repelled by the young monarch, he and his forces left the hidden land, but not before some conspirators in his service took back a number of Wakandans to serve as his slaves. One of these was a boy whose parents Klaw's collaborator, M'Demwe had killed, a boy named N'jadaka. Growing up as one of many of the lost sons to the golden realm, N'Jadaka's time as a slave to both his parents' killers was a rather harsh one. Being forced to steal and/or invent various gadgets and mechanisms on the pretense that the two would survive what was deemed the lesser lands that is the outside world. Over time during their shared exile, N'jadaka grew to harbor an intense hatred for T'Chaka, his former king, the traitor M'Demwe, for the death of his family, Wakanda; his former homeland he felt abandoned by, and finally the world as a whole, simply for all of its cruelties and failings. Believing both that the weakness on T'Chaka's part was a key factor in allowing his parents to be killed and him being taken. While resentments for the outside beyond Wakanda's borders stems from a right wing national superiority complex. After growing tired of acting as his treacherous step-father's pickpocket, N'jadaka slew him with extreme prejudice, remembering that transgression against the realm is paid in blood, before venturing off to find his own path. N'Jadaka would soon legally change his name sometime before finding education while growing up in the United States, adopting the alias Erik Killmonger, earning a PhD in Engineering and an MBA. Being highly sought after by a great many powerful facilities from all across New York City stretching all the way to Silicon Valley, who would've payed handsomely for his intellectual insight. It has even been said that he even taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a time.
Erik Killmonger was created by Don McGergor and Rich Buckler and first appeared in Jungle Action volume 2 issue 6 (1973).
Major Story Arcs
Return to Wakanda
N'jadaka would bide his time while staying at M.I.T. furthering his study into electroencephalogram brainwave research in the meantime, not long after he would be present when T'Chaka's son, T'Challa, exposed their shared nations existence to the rest of the unsuspecting world. Offering a great many national delegates the opportunity to share in the advanced tribal metropolitan wonders.
Seeing this as his means of finally returning home. Erik would approach the young king with all due courtesy, presenting himself as one of the many lost children of the hidden kingdom left out in the world.
Upon they're return to the promised land however. Dr. Doom was found sitting within the Wakandan throne room seated upon the seat of kings. Killmonger would find himself shocked and surprised at how callously T'Challa blew up both his his own cathedra. Fearing that things might've changed too much for him to recognize his own home. But T'Challa reassured him that his fears were unfounded, for a time Erik would reacquaint himself with the land he'd been ripped away from. Communing with the Queen Mother and the ruling council of elders before returning to his home villa.
Versus Panther, Versus the World
The truth of it was however, N'Jadaka only prostrated himself before the good king in order to plot his revenge against the throne and the rest of the globe. Having adapted a new plan in which to trigger global conflict, with Wakanda seen as the aggressors on the world stage.
While T'Challa was busy holding up to the mantle of Black Panther; Erik would continue his research into Mind and Memory preservation for that purpose. As he repatriated to Wakanda yet concealing his hatred of T'Challa and his family. Killmonger began to gather the resources and make the contacts that would help him overthrow him as King of the Wakandas and set the nation on the path to conquest over the world.
Erik would begin by appropriating the nations technology for his own plans. Cozying up to Elder Takami in order to retell of the past, only to end up killing him in order to steal his life's experience through his inventions.
He would repeatedly do so to a great many of the other Wakandan's reported missing over the decades during S'Yan's rule. Murdering them and taking their pain and anguish as his ultimate weapon against the perceived failed leadership of the country. Seeking to utilize the defunct weapons automation known as Project: Kou Kou; a deadly Vibranium shock bomb which descends from planetary orbit while absorbing incoming assault from ground targets to build up explosive charge.
The Hatut Zeraze lead by The White Wolf soon caught wind of Killmonger's many misdeeds, as was his intent.
For in order to distract all of Wakanda's forces from his real objective. Killmonger took Romanda hostage in order to lure out the panther whom he despised into a trap. After dispatching of Elder Cangza using the spear said noblemen imparted onto him during their first meeting.
Having disabled the Panther King using his self-made weaponry. Killmonger makes his way to the location of Project: Kou Kou, with the intent of dropping it on the Hellicarrier shepherding the diplomatic S.H.I.E.L.D. envoy on approach towards Wakanda. Fortunately he was stopped by T'Challa with the help of his younger sister Shuri.
Who managed to stop and bind him while her brother disabled the bomb. But Killmonger would escape before they could take him into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. It was after these events that the son of his hated former king chose to join with the worlds modern marvels, The Avengers.
Killmonger discovered a temple of Great Power in the the forbidden Land of Chilling Mist. A ritual site called the Altar of Resurrection was built there sitting upon the remains of an ancient, powerful meteor that had landed in Wakanda in bygone times. The bizarre radiations of the Altar had the power to revive or reanimate those placed upon it, in other cases it could even grant powers in some manner. Killmonger harnessed the Altar to empower a number of his agents - Malice, King Cadaver, Sombre, Salamander K'ruel, Baron Macabre, Madame Slay, Venomm, and others. In addition to these agents, Killmonger keeps a loyal pet cheetah named Preyy.
Killmonger's first attempt to take over Wakanda involved many battles, but was bookended by two fights he had with the Black Panther atop Warrior Falls. In the first, he handily defeated the Black Panther, tossing him over the falls. Sheer chance saved T'Challa's life. In the second, Killmonger was again about to defeat the Black Panther when he was attacked from behind by a boy who had been orphaned by Killmonger's Death Regiments. The boy's attack knocked the startled Killmonger over the falls to his death.
Since then, Killmonger has returned. His first return was as an animated corpse controlled by the Mandarin. Later, though, he was brought back from the dead, presumably by the Altar of Resurrection. He returned to menace T'Challa once again, this time in an attempt to crash the Wakandan economy in order to provoke a revolution within the country. This led both men facing one another in a rematch atop Warrior Falls. The two foes were evenly matched, but a distraction caused by the unexpected arrival of Everett Ross allowed Killmonger to deal a fatal blow to T'Challa. Having defeated the king in ritual combat, Killmonger was made the new head of the Panther Clan, and became the new Black Panther. During his short time as Black Panther, Killmonger attempted to gain membership in the Avengers, and ended up in a battle with Deadpool after the mercenary was hired to steal Preyy. Killmonger was subsequently rendered comatose after ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb, which can be deadly to those who are not of the royal bloodline.
Killmonger later awakened from his coma, only to find that T'Challa had returned from the dead and retaken his office. Killmonger later tried to manipulate the new Black Panther, Kasper Cole, into forming an alliance with him, offering the young man information and an artificial Heart-Shaped Herb in exchange for loyalty.
Some time later, Killmonger conquered the nation of Niganda and installed himself as leader. When Monica Rambeau was sent to try and help stop him, he had her captured and imprisoned. Killmonger engaged in a violent duel with T'Challa, which ended with his near victory. However, just as Killmonger was about to finish off his hated foe, Monica killed him by flying through his body.
Powers and Abilities
Erik Killmonger is a tremendously huge and powerful man, with enhanced speed, strength, durability and reflexes matching that of the herbally enhanced Panther Cult leaders before and after his numerous resurrections. His lifting capability exceeded that of T'Challa's previous baseline (over 900lbs). Easily able to topple an adult male bull elephant with his bear hands, and Killmonger has proven capable of defeating Black Panther in h2h combat in multiple confrontations. To this day, T'Challa has never been able to defeat Killmonger one-on-one. Much of N'Jadaka's raw power stems from his basking in the radioactivity of the Altar of Resurrection. Having been revived in a new host body with physical power greatly exceeding that of the finest human athlete.
Killmonger is a revolutionary leader, well-known to all Wakandans, and even supported by a few. The village he grew up in has even been renamed N'jadaka Village. His radicallist charisma, his mastery of various bodies of knowledge be it social, engineering or politics, his tactical cunning and access to the Altar of Resurrection would likely make him Black Panther's greatest foe, even if his physical abilities were not as amazing as they are.
In addition to hiss own abilities, N'Jadaka is always served by a deadly jungle cat, Preyy and the Death Regiments. Zombie-like soldiers created by the Altar of Resurrection. Killmonger has also been known to use many agents to accomplish his missions. Not only has he worked with the agents of his original revolution, Venomm, Malice, Lord Karnaj, Baron Macabre, King Cadaver, Salamander K'ruel, and Sombre, but he has also hired a number of American agents like Nightshade, Boss Morgan, and Hydro-Man as part of his schemes. Eric is also an avid polymath with a genius acumen rivaling that of his adversary; King T'Challa. Being technically skilled enough to devise a potent memory siphon device even from the lower grade technologies at M.I.T. As well as devise a whole host of incredible technological munitions of his own design.
N'Jadaka would serve as a loyal vassal of the steadily expanding Wakandan emperium that had grown outward and across the stars since it's early days of terrestrial stead. The man who would be Emperor was but a simple hired gun leading the Hatut Zeraze.
A warrior without peer whom earned great favor among both the Wakandan king and the thronewolrds people. But when his lordships subjects favored the mercenary hero over their liege and his constabulary, he was privately coaxed by the weary advisory to plunge the knife while the opportunity was fresh.
And so, N'Jadaka was sent on a faux recon mission to one of their fringe outposts in farthest galaxy.
Only to find himself betrayed as it was teaming with heavy opposition that lay in wait for him and his men within the hidden mines. Their numbers dwindling and without many options, N'Jadaka and his surviving troops delved deeper into the forgotten caves.
It was there that he would find the tool necessary for not just he and his loyal followers survival. But their ultimate ascension to absolute power, for within those caverns of the abandoned outpost. A remnant of the Klyntr race that had been hunted to extinction during the Empires war of expansion. It was through a union with the last surviving symbiote specimens that N'Jadaka and his most faithful fought his way back to the kingdom. Striking down the duplicitous emperor and his bootlickers that forsook him, eventually taking his place as the new Leader of Wakanda.
Emperor N'Jadaka was created by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña, first appearing in Black Panther Vol 9 #2 (2018).
Major Story Arcs
Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda
From there N'Jadaka lead his armies to grow and expand their reach across five galaxies. Believing it was through strength of will and by right of might that peace and order should be establishing.
Though he believed his wars of expansion brought true law to the lawless universe, N'Jadaka's reign was met with heavy resistance along the way. Much of the Wakandan war machine's spread to the farthest reaches of the Wakandan Empire was apposed by a rebel faction called Nameless lead by The Maroons.
Comprising of former Wakandan denizens greatly resentful and appalled at the emperor's absolutionist monarchy, or alien insurgents whose homes were destroyed during their conquest.
Word had made it to the throneworld's ear that the rebels had found a potential savior in the form of the rightful heir to the throne.
N'Jadaka was dismissive of this misinformation, seeing himself as the only true heir and avatar of the Panther Goddess; Bast. But on the surface of things this was just a front that he'd put on in front of his servants to reaffirm his authority. In truth however, N'Jadaka knew full well that this slave who would be king was in fact the deities true chosen one. A living legend whom tails of the Empire had foretold would one day come and take his; the current liege lords place as leader of the thriving space kingdom.
In Other Media
Killmonger appears as the main antagonist in the 2018 Black Panther movie, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. His name is changed to Erik Stevens, while "Killmonger" is regulated to a nickname he earned in the military.
In the film, his origin is changed so that he is now the American-born son of N'Jobu, King T'Chaka's brother. When T'Chaka kills N'Jobu after discovering that he had helped Ulysses Klaue sneak into Wakanda and steal a large amount of vibranium, Erik is left behind in America in order to keep N'Jobu's death a secret. Forced to grow up in an impoverished neighborhood in Oakland, an enraged Erik vows revenge and spends his entire life training to overthrow the Wakandan royal family. After graduating from Annapolis and MIT, Erik joins the Navy SEALS and eventually becomes a seasoned black-ops agent.
Some time later, Erik goes off the grid and forms an alliance with Ulysses Klaue, before betraying and murdering the criminal in order to gain entry to Wakanda. Using Klaue's death as leverage, he is able to enter the country and address the royal court, where he reveals his true lineage. Erik then challenges T'Challa for the throne, and becomes the new ruler of Wakanda after defeating and seemingly killing his cousin. As Wakanda's king, Erik gains superhuman abilities after ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb, and becomes the new Black Panther as well after stealing a prototype vibranium battle suit that had been created by Shuri.
Erik then launches his late father's plan to arm the oppressed citizens of the world with vibranium weaponry so they can overthrow those in power, a scheme that threatens to destroy both Wakanda and the rest of the planet as well. T'Challa is revealed to have survived his duel with Erik, and returns to challenge him to a final battle.
In the ensuing confrontation, Erik is fatally wounded, but chooses to die rather than accept T'Challa's offer for medical assistance. He ultimately dies after witnessing the Wakandan sunset that his father had once told him about, and asks to be buried at sea.
- Killmonger appears in the Lego Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda animated shorts, voiced by Keston John.
- Killmonger appears as a recurring villain in Avengers Assemble's fifth season, which is renamed Avengers: Black Panther's Quest. This version of N'Jadaka is the Wakandan ambassador to Atlantis , as well as T'Challa's former mentor. Using the alias Killmonger, he secretly betrays Wakanda and reforms the Shadow Council, and spends much of the season pursuing his own machinations. He allies himself with other villains such as Princess Zanda, Klaw and Madame Masque, and pursues the powerful artifact known as the Serpent Crown. Keston John reprises his role.
- Erik Killmonger is a playable character in the Black Panther DLC set for Lego Marvel's Avengers.
- Erik Killmonger appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- Killmonger appears as a playable fighter in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Killmonger appears in Marvel Future Fight.
- Killmonger was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends series as part of the Okoye Build-a-Figure wave.
- A variant of the aforementioned Marvel Legends figure, now featuring an unmasked head, was later released as part of an exclusive two-pack with Everett K. Ross.
- A second Killmonger figure was later featured in the M'Baku Build-a-Figure wave.
- Killmonger was heavily featured in Hasbro's toyline for the Black Panther film, including the Titan Heroes series.
- Killmonger was featured in "Royal Talon Fighter Attack" and "Rhino Face-Off By the Mine" Lego kits.
- Iron Studios produced a diorama featuring Killmonger in a battle with Black Panther, Okoye and Nakia.
- Diamond Collectibles released a PVC statue of Killmonger.
- Killmonger was featured in Funko's POP! line of bobbleheads, in both his mercenary and Black Panther outfits.
- Hot Toys released a figure of Killmonger in his Black Panther outfit.