Black Panther has faced some truly horrible foes over the years, but few, if any, have managed to stand out in quite the same way as N’Jadaka. The former ruler of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda not only posed the kind of threat that has rarely been seen in the Marvel Universe, but he did so between the stars and with his feet firmly planted on Earth. Or rather, with all his twisted tendrils on Earth, since it was N’Jadaka’s mysterious symbiote that saw him survive the initial demise of him, and could be the thing that sees him come back from the dead again.
When N’Jadaka first appeared in 2018 Black Panther #2 (by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña), its introduction came less than a year after that of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The empire itself had been founded by explorers from Alpha Flight at T’Challa’s behest in hopes of discovering the cosmic origins of Vibranium. While the team was able to do just that, they also ended up being wiped out in time over 2000 years ago. When the Empire stepped into the spotlight for its own sake, it was unrecognizable compared to where it began, though its Emperor, N’Jadaka, provided an all-too-familiar kind of threat, albeit with an unexpected twist.
The N’Jadaka symbiote made him a threat to Black Panther
N’Jadaka was a powerful warrior in his own right long before he took the throne, but the events of what was supposed to be a suicide mission orchestrated by the previous Emperor would take his abilities to a whole new level. Bonding with one of the many symbiotes that inhabit a far corner of the cosmos, N’Jadaka was more than capable of overthrowing his assassin predecessor. Unfortunately, N’Jadaka wasn’t much better than the despot who ruled before him, as he sought to keep the Intergalactic Empire’s explicitly class-oriented society intact by any means necessary. This included erasing T’Challa’s mind and leaving him for dead as one of the Empire’s slaves. Fortunately, N’Jadaka’s plot would eventually be thwarted, and though he would lose his life in the process, that was not the end of his story.
Thanks to his Klyntar symbiote, N’Jadaka’s consciousness survived long enough to continue to terrorize T’Challa on Earth after possessing the corpse of the original N’Jadaka, better known as Erik Killmonger. Despite having grown stronger than ever, N’Jadaka’s second attempt to destroy Black Panther was once again doomed to fail. 2021 Black Panther #25 (by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña) saw the end of the sprawling story, as well as the apparent end of N’Jadaka and his symbiote. Of course, recent developments in the world of Marvel’s symbiotes have set the stage for N’Jadaka to make another miraculous return. In fact, they may have even ended up making him effectively immortal.
How Marvel’s ‘King in Black’ Affects Black Panther
2021 king in black (by Donnie Cates and Ryan Stegman) introduced a plethora of new concepts to the Marvel Universe, but the most important of these was the way in which individual symbiotes and their respective hosts continue to exist within the symbiote hive. Just as each symbiote is comprised of seemingly imperishable darkness, their hosts become a series of near-invincible codices within the hive. This exact situation was what allowed both Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson to be resurrected and there’s not much reason to think that N’Jadaka couldn’t do the same.
Assuming N’Jadaka’s symbiote had a connection to the rest of the Hive at some point during their time together, he too would exist as a Codex somewhere within it. Whether that’s the case, or if N’Jadaka realizes the fact of the matter, remains to be seen, but the possibility certainly exists. On the other hand, few have emerged from the hive after death, and considering how little N’Jadaka understood about his symbiote even after being linked to it for so long, the chances of him finding out on his own are slim. particularly high.