The Life of Erik Killmonger

The Life of Erik Killmonger

We are always excited when Marvel releases a new movie but with Black Panther, there is a clear difference. This is probably because this is the first time we are seeing Black Panther on the big screen. To top it off the cast is nothing short of exciting!! With Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Daniel Kaluyya as W’Kabi and Angela Bassett as Ramonda to name a few we are all certain this will be a splendid Movie. What stands out is the character Erik Killmonger played by Michael B Jordan.

Michael B Jordan is a fantastic actor with impressive features to his name such as House, The Wire, Chronicle. We are all excited to see him kill this part!, it is important to go back to the comics to fully understand the life of Erik Killmonger and appreciate the acting.

The Origin of Erik Killmonger 

Erik Killmonger originally appears in Marvel Comics in Jungle Action #6 in 1973. He was created by Don McGregor and is portrayed as one of the noblest villains of Black Panther. 

Black Panther firstly appears in some comic episodes of Fantastic Four. Usually, when Marvel wants to introduce a new team or character they throw them into the Fantastic Four. Black Panther is also featured in Iron Man and The Avengers.

In the original story,  Ulysses Klaw invades Wakanda which leads to the death of T’challa’s father allowing T’challa to take up the mantle of Black Panther. The Fantastic Four travels down to Wakanda where The Black Panther faces every member in order to hone his skills to be able to take down Ulysses Klaw. 

T’challa later explains this to Fantastic Four and the rift is ended. T’challa became an ally of the Fantastic Four and other Superheroes. Black Panther is seen appearing in other Superhero stories as Marvel wanted to ease him into the reader’s mind instead of giving him a new story altogether. 

Meet Erik Killmonger

In Jungle Action #6 Black Panther is the prominent superhero with Erik Killmonger being the major villain. Wakanda is portrayed as a technologically advanced country. Erik Killmonger recently returns back to Wakanda. When Ulysses Klaw came to Wakanda he convinced certain people to join his crew, one of which is Erik Killmonger’s Dad. In the battle against T’challa Erik Killmonger’s dad is killed. However, because T’challa is such a harsh king Erik Killmonger and his family is banished from Wakanda. This leads to Erik Killmonger taking residence in Harlem, New York.

Erik Killmonger is seen to have studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pushes his body to the limit so that on his return to Wakanda he is capable to stand up to T’challa and ask for restitution for the sins of his father and restore the honor of his family.T’challa agrees and takes him back. 

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Erik’s Coup D’etat  

Erik upon re-admittance into Wakanda begins to prepare for a Coup d’etat. Between Jungle Action #7 to #14 we see Erik fight T’challa and win. Erik throws his body down a waterslide.

Black Panther is the best fighter in Wakanda and is greatly troubled to have been bested by Erik. He receives guidance from Venom on how to take down Erik.


The Initiation

For many years the heart-shaped herb is believed to be given by the gods to the Wakandans. In reality, the heart-shaped herb is a herb permeated with radiation from vibranium. If a person consumes it and the person can’t handle it the person dies. It’s a religious and practical way to differentiate the weak from the strong. 

During the Coup D’Etat Erik consumes the heart-shaped herb. Why this is important is because when someone is vying to become Black Panther He will have to defeat the seating Black Panther, his six best warriors all at the same time. Where this is done the person will have to consume the heart-shaped herb. 

Erik Killmonger is equal to a Black Panther in terms of strength, speed, agility even before consuming the heart-shaped herb. 

When Erik drinks the heart-shaped herb he falls into a coma. This is an opportunity for Christopher Priest to remove Erik as the sitting King and bring back T’challa as the actual king. This is how T’challa takes back his kingdom and his throne. 


The Crew

This comic is set in a different time, with different writers and graphics designers. Here we see Erik reaching out to Kasper Cole; the new Black Panther. Kasper Cole will be transformed to become the white tiger of the Panther clan and later go on to become his own superhero. Unfortunately, this is left hanging as a result of writer issues in Marvel. 


The Death Of Killmonger

In #35 – #38 of Black Panther Volume 4, Erik is portrayed as the ruler of Naganda; wannabe Wakanda. The issue arises when Erik runs into conflict with Wakanda by kidnapping Monica Rambeau. Monica is the second captain marvel and is also popularly known as Spectra- a perfect wavelength of energy. 

This brings Erik into direct conflict with Black Panther. However, the deadly blow to Erik which killed him was given by Monica. This is how Erik is killed and is never heard from again.

What makes Erik stand out as a villain are many factors. He has no superpowers; all he has is a determination to push his body to become equal with Black Panther. He has a story that is extremely relatable, unlike most villains who we can not connect with their reasoning for being bad guys, Erik’s reason is relatable. It is also impressive to see the insurgencies at Wakanda originate from within the Kingdom not outside forces. Erik is also one of the few widely educated Villains – attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has military training. With all this, we will love to see more of Erik Killmonger. However, whether or not this happens we can appease ourselves with the Black Panther movie. 


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