Black Panther’s New Enemy Makes Vibranium A Joke

Warning: SPOILERS for Black Panther #10Marvel’s Black Panther has a new and terrifying enemy that turns his powerful vibranium into a joke – and at the same time, destroys his entire society. T’Challa’s list of villains are memorable but rarely appear outside of Wakanda. This time, Black Panther #10 reveals the otherworldly Buffalo Soldier, and how he turns Black Panther’s entire country into a weak nation that relies entirely on one exact thing.

In current comics continuity, Black Panther has recently emerged from the Wakandan Civil War a rather broken man. After he failed to protect the country, T’Challa realizes that the newly-established Democratic Republic of Wakanda will eventually oust him as king, along with the rest of the royal family. He expected this outcome, but he never could have expected the Colonialist: an otherworldly, pink radiant being from another dimension who manifest two individuals to fight on his behalf: a thousand-strong regiment of British expeditionary soldiers and the mysterious Buffalo Soldier.

In Black Panther #10, written by John Ridley with art by German Peralta, the Buffalo Soldier appears on a massive buffalo, easily twice the height of T’Challa. He is armed with what appears to be simple 18th century weapons including a rifle and a silver revolver. T’Challa attempts to use a vibranium-encased device to destroy him (along with the Colonialist), but the Buffalo Soldier uses his simple revolve to blast a massive hole in the cylinder. « How did you…? That was vibranium! » exclaims T’Challa. « Whatever it was, I know your hide ain’t nearly as thick, » returns the Soldier as he aims his weapons at the agile Black Panther, who’s suit is similarly at a disadvantage.

It’s clear to fans and casual readers alike that Wakanda is overdependent on vibranium. The material has worked wonders for the country for hundreds of years, leading to an extended golden age of scientific development and nigh-impenetrable defense, but it seems as though those days are over. Between Tony Stark, Reed Richards and other geniuses living in other countries (to say nothing of otherworldly historical figures summoned by interdimensional beings), Wakanda’s overreliance on vibranium is a massive weakness; if an enemy can destroy vibranium, they can destroy Wakanda.

Black Panther eventually defeats the Buffalo Soldier – not by a show of force, but by willingly removing his helmet and granting his enemy a choice. While the Soldier still shoots T’Challa, it’s a non-lethal wound and a former enemy is turned into a friend. Regardless, Marvel has proved that one enemy of the Black Panther is capable of destroying vibranium as easily as one can crumble a piece of paper – and if one enemy can accomplish this, it’s likely to assume others can as well.