Tilda Johnson (Deadly Nightshade)

I spoke too fast apparently, as Man-Ape wasn’t the last character spotted in the Black Panther trailer: we have a confirmation of another one who appeared in there, and that’s also a new revelation. When we first see Erik Killmonger with the tribal mask on, he’s accompanied by some of his followers, the first one by his side being a woman: that’s Tilda Johnson, portrayed by Nabiyah Be. It’s quite unexpected to see her here, since in the comics she surely had a few run-ins with Black Panther in his American years, but she never had anything to do with Killmonger (or with Wakanda in general). Let’s see together.

Tilda Johnson was born in HarlemNew York City, the only child of a poor black family. Born with an innate aptitude for science and a remarkable intellect, Tilda didn’t show any sign of being a natural born genius, preferring to hide her true nature behind the facade of a naive girl; she studied in secret and by herself, obtaining an extensive knowledge of chemistry, genetics, physics and much more. With the brain she had she could do pretty much anything, but being a poor girl in a poor ghetto there was just one thing she wanted to do: to gain money as fast as she could to get out of a life she hated with all herself. Despite being just sixteen years old, she became quite a criminal mastermind in a matter of months, starting her own racket. Her successes attracted the attention of much bigger fish, like Yellow Claw, the Chinese crime lord. Claw was looking for allies at the time, and the young genius could have proven useful to him. The two formed quite a formidable team, and Johnson started being called the Deadly Nightshade, due to the project she was working on with Yellow Claw (sometimes, her scientific genius had her being called Doctor Nightshade). Thanks to Claw’s resources and Nightshade’s brain, they developed a special serum that could transform any human into obedient werewolves, a superpowered army fiercely loyal to its master. Deadly Nightshade started experimenting her serum on jail convicts, so that she could use the inmates as invincible minions for Yellow Claw: the plan succeeded, but S.H.I.E.L.D. noticed the disappearance of the prisoners, and sent Captain America on the criminal duo’s trails. Cap defeated Yellow Claw and his werewolves, but Nightshade managed to escape.

Tilda now had a personal score to settle with Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D., and she developed another serum to obtain her vengeance: based on pheromones, this new concoction allowed her to mind-control people, and she used it to conquer an entire S.H.I.E.L.D. facility; when Cap came to the rescue, she controlled him as well, forcing the hero to battle his partner, Falcon. It was thanks to the latter that Nightshade was defeated, and this time she was taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. and imprisoned. A common jail couldn’t hold her for long, however, and she soon escaped, coming back to her Harlem and reprising her old objective of becoming the queen of the underworld. She built an army of life-like robots based on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Life Model Decoys, and employed them as muscle to take over the protection rackets in the neighborhood, all the while posing as the mistress of R. U. Rossum, a “crime boss” who was actually one of the robots. Nightshade managed to overthrow Maggia, but her mechanical army was eventually reduced to scraps by Iron Fist and Power Man. She came back months later, this time controlling Hulk to obtain a rare circuit developed by Rand-Meachum Corporation, but Iron Fist and Power Man faced her again, helped by Machine Man. After this umpteenth failure, she once again looked for allies, and she joined Superia‘s feminist terrorist group Femizons, becoming her second in command and developing for her a serum that could transform men into women, even using it on the likes of Captain America and Paladin. She even built a “sterilization bomb” to free women from the burden of motherhood, but the Femizons were eventually defeated. Her past experience with werewolves attracted the interest of Dredmund Cromwell, the Demon Druid, and she replicated for him her werewolf serum, this time succesfully transforming Captain America in a feral beast. Every battle, however, turned into a new defeat, and it didn’t take many more experiences like these to make it clear for Tilda that she was wasting her potential in her crime career…

Tilda Johnson is an extremely smart, yet greedy and ambitious woman, a natural genius who believes she has to prove her worth by making as much money as she can in the shortest time possible, thus “redeeming” herself from an early life of poverty. As the Deadly Nightshade (or Doctor Nightshade, or simply Nightshade), she uses her impressive genius to devise weapons, serums and machines for criminal use, such as an army of robots, her werewolf serum, mind-controlling pheromones, and even her own personal battle armor, a strenght-enhancing suit with silver spikes protruding from it; she’s also a superb athlete and a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, more than able to take care of herself if the situation doesn’t allow her to hide behind the curtains as usual. Originally an irredeemable crime mastermind, Nightshade is now a changed woman, who thanks to the encounter with people such as Misty KnightNighthawk and Hawkeye is trying to start a new life worthy of her potential…but it’s a long road to redemption, one full of temptations and occasions to come back to the old ways…

M’Baku (Man-Ape)

The last character appearing in the Black Panther trailer is a secondary villain, who promises to be quite a pain in the back for the titular hero nevertheless: M’Baku, portrayed by Winston Duke. In the movie, he’ll be the leader of a tribe hostile to T’Challa‘s government, the Jabari, and he’ll cause quite some disorders in Wakanda. Character and actor have been both confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s safe to say that whatever conflict will put M’Baku against T’Challa won’t see its end in this movie. In the comics, M’Baku is even bigger and badder, and his outfit is much more characteristic than the casual white fur we see in the trailer, as he wears an entire gorilla skin and goes by the name Man-Ape. Let’s see together.

M’Baku was born in Wakanda, a secluded African nation, in the Jabari Village. The Jabari tribe was the only one left in Wakanda to follow the old religion, the White Gorilla Cult, a barbaric warmongering cult practiced by ancient Wakandians, who were hunters and warriors. M’Baku grew up with his brother Mandla in the myth of the old days, when the strongest ruled and the weak ones obeyed, and he trained himself to be the most powerful warrior of the country…something that he actually achieved, becoming an impressive fighter, second only to the country’s protector, the Black Panther. In order to give his people its honor and pride back, M’Baku reinstated the White Gorilla Cult, despite the Wakandian laws forbid it; he also named himself the new leader of both cult and tribe, and he crossed the forbidden lands up to the Great Vibranium Mound, until he found a sacred white gorilla, a rare (protected) species that was said to have mystical powers…as it actually did. M’Baku killed the gorilla, bathed in its blood, ate its flesh and made an armor from its skin: from this gruesome ceremony he obtained superhuman powers, and he came back to his people as the Man-Ape, ready to lead the White Gorilla Cult to a new era of leadership in Wakanda. Taking advantage of King T’Challa’s absence, M’Baku led a rebellion, wanting to bring Wakanda to its original state, outlawing all the advanced technology introduced by the royal family of Black Panther cultists and turning the population to a nation of warriors and hunters only. When T’Challa knew about what was happening in his country, he came back to Wakanda along with the Avengers, and received a public challenge from Man-Ape. The two fought for the right to rule, and Man-Ape managed to defeat his opponent. When he tried to crush him under the Panther totem his enemy worshipped, however, the huge statue crumbled, burying him under the rubbles. Taking this as a sign from the gods, Black Panther was confirmed the king, and M’Baku left for dead.

The Man-Ape, however, hadn’t met his end yet: one of his most loyal followers, N’Gamo, used some secret herbs on him, reviving him and later hiding him in the village until he came back to full health. Humiliated by an unrecognized victory, M’Baku became obsessed with proving himself better than the Black Panther, and he even left Wakanda to follow his enemy to New York City, where the hero resided as an Avenger. Once in the new land, Man-Ape learned that the Avengers had many enemies, and he took the opportunity to join forces with them in order to kill his nemesis: he became a member of Grimm Reaper‘s version of the Lethal Legion, an offer he accepted only in exchange of the promise of being able to face Black Panther. After a brief fight with the Avengers, Man-Ape was ordered to kidnap Monica Lynne, Black Panther’s American girlfriend, in order to lure the hero into a trap. The plan succeeded, and T’Challa was captured. Soon the other Avengers followed him, but when Vision managed to free them all, another battle ensued…exactly what Man-Ape was waiting for. He challenged Black Panther once again, and even this time his brute force had the upper hand in the confrontation, but eventually Captain America intervened, and M’Baku found in him a far better warrior than he was. Captured, M’Bau was sentenced to exile by Black Panther, who decreed that he would have faced death penalty if he ever came back to Wakanda. A renegade, Man-Ape stayed in New York and joined the Lethal Legion once again, being assigned to battle Tigra, but he eventually abandoned the team along with Black Talon as soon as Grimm Reaper’s racism became unbearable. With no home to come back to, Man-Ape started wandering a world he had never seen, and visited the less civilised areas of the planet selling his services as a mercenary. Despite the executioner waiting for him, however, home’s calling was strong in his blood, and soon he would have come back to Wakanda to challenge the Black Panther once again.

M’Baku is a violent and tyrannical man, a leader who only believes in the law of the strongest and who only values battle prowess. As the Man-Ape, he possesses superhuman strength, durability, agility, stamina and reflexes, and he’s an incredibly skilled combatant, able to match Black Panther himself. A charismatic religious and political leader, Man-Ape dreams of a country reverted to its primitive condition, when the strength of your arm was the only measure of your value and no technology contaminated a warrior’s spirit…a world in which a man like him would be revered like a god on Earth.

Zuri

We’re almost at the end of the characters from the Black Panther trailer, and today we meet the last ally of the warrior king: Zuri, portrayed by Forest Whitaker. Zuri will be a trusted advisor to the young and inexperienced king, and he’s been turned into a religious figure, a shaman instead of the comics’ warrior, in order to explore also the religious traditions of Wakanda. The director Ryan Coogler describes Zuri as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Wakanda, a mentor and a spiritual guide to T’Challa. In the comics he surely is a mentor for the young king, but his approach is much more direct. Let’s see together.

Zuri was born in the secluded African nation of Wakanda, a proud warrior of his tribe who devoted his entire life in serving the king. Under the rule of King T’Chaka, he became one of the most skilled warrior in the country, until he was admitted to service in the Royal Palace where he served as a bodyguard to T’Chaka. With time, Zuri became something more than a trusted protector: he befriended the king, and was his loyal companion. When T’Chaka had a son, T’Challa, he entrusted him to Zuri’s care, and he became the prince’s mentor, not only teaching him the way of the warrior, but also guiding him in forming a serious and careful personality, able to take wise decisions for the moment he would have become king. Wakanda faced a grave danger when it was invaded by the forces of the European mercenary Ulysses Klaw, who wanted to steal the country’s Vibranium; as the king, in the garb of the Black Panther, left to repel the attackers, Zuri was assigned with the most important task of all: to keep the prince safe and away from danger. Albeit he wanted to fight with his king, Zuri obeyed…and this was the last time he saw T’Chaka alive, since the king was killed by Klaw. Since the last order from his friend had been to guard his son, Zuri officially became T’Challa’s bodyguard now, and he kept acting as his mentor, protector and guidance, never leaving his side. When T’Challa moved to the United States of America to study also in the way of the “outside world”, Zuri was the only one allowed to accompany him, and he stayed with the prince during all the college years (often criticizing his dates with women not from a royal family…meaning eveyrone T’Challa met in those years).

When, years after, Zuri and T’Challa came back to Wakanda, the prince was more than determined to succeed his father despite his young age. He participated to the ritual of the Ascension, challenging his uncle S’Yan for the title of Black Panther, and Zuri was among the many warriors he had to defeat to win. The seasoned warrior was extremely proud of his pupil as he realised he had become skilled enough to best even his teacher, and rejoyced when T’Challa became the new Black Panther. As he had been a bodyguard and advisor to the prince, he now was to the king as well, and Zuri never left his side, his voice being one of the most respected and trusted by King T’Challa; not always, however, Zuri was listened to, such as when T’Challa opened the borders to several refugees, causing disorders in many xenophobic villages. Zuri took care of the matter along with Okoye and Nakia of the Dora Milaje, but the disorder continued…and the king decided to come back to the US, much to Zuri’s disapproval. He however decided to accompany him, to finally see what his king found so appealing in this other world, and despite some misadventure (he even ended up in jail due to some cultural misunderstandings), he came to understand better this weird world. He even met Black Panther’s friends, the Avengers, and he formed quite a strong friendship with Thor; he also was completely smitten by Photon, whom he celebrated as a Sun Goddess, and he tried to convince Black Panther to marry her, without any success (he was pretty disappointed when T’Challa chose the mutant Storm over Photon). Back in Wakanda, it was Zuri who prepared Shuri to face Bast the Panther God and instructed her on how to do it. He would have always served the royal family at the best of his capacity.

Zuri is a wise warrior and a loyal friend, molded by the fire of hundreds of battles; he dedicated his entire life to the service of the royal family, and he takes care of T’Challa and Shuri as if they were his children. Despite being close to his sixties, Zuri is a powerful warrior, an incredibly strong man who’s also a master of many forms of armed and unarmed combat, a skilled tracker and hunter and a brilliant tactician. With enough courage to stand even against impossible foes like Thor and Morlun, Zuri embodies all the strength and the pride of his people, as well as its stubborness and distrust towards strangers: in every possible way, the most precious ally and friend for T’Challa and his family.

Ramonda

Let’s take a look at the last major female character in Black Panther, the elder woman we see in the snow: Queen Ramonda, portrayed by Angela Bassett. We don’t know absolutely anything of her role in the story, with the only fact being that she’ll be T’Challa‘s mother…and this already is quite a departure from the comics, where she’s indeed the Queen Mother, but she doesn’t have any blood relation to the young king, being just his step-mother. Bassett, however, looks exactly just like her, and it’s more than likely that she’ll have the same strong character of the comics’ counterpart. Let’s see together.

Ramonda was born in South Africa, and she lived a normal life in her country until she met a foreigner king, T’Chaka from Wakanda, who was visiting South Africa in a diplomatic trip. T’Chaka had just lost his wife N’Yami, who had died while giving birth to their son T’Challa, and Ramonda saw his pain through the official etiquette. The two became close, and eventually fell in love: T’Chaka proposed to Ramonda, and she agreed to become the new queen of Wakanda, his wife. Life wasn’t easy for her at first, as Wakanda was an extremely xenophobic nation, and she was seen as an outsider despite her role, with a few recognizing her title and the respect that came from it. Nevertheless, she was a loyal wife and a wise queen, and she raised both T’Chaka’s sons, T’Challa and Hunter, as if they were her own. The only family member who fully accepted her and even befriended her was her brother-in-law, S’yan. She stayed by her husband’s side for years, until her past came knocking to her door in the form of Anton Pretorius, a white supremacist from her home country. Pretorius kidnapped the queen, and brought her back to South Africa, where he enslaved her and raped her repeatedly. The worst part of it was that nobody was looking for her, since Pretorius had set up things so that it looked like the queen had come back home on her own will to be with another man (thus confirming the Wakandians’ prejudices). After years of imprisonment, Prince T’Challa found out Pretorius’ ruse, and he tracked him down in his mansion: he defeated him and freed his step-mother, bringing her back home and telling her story to the king and to the people. T’Chaka took her back to his side, and finally the population came to accept her as a rightful queen. Not much time later, Ramonda gave a daughter to T’Chaka, Shuri.

The following years were quite trying for the queen and for Wakanda: King T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner mercenary, Ulysses Klaw, and the young T’Challa took his place in the lead of his country. Ramonda witnessed her step-son winning the title of Black Panther from his uncle, and she never felt so proud, nor so worried, as now her son wore the same target as her husband did. Despite the lack of blood bonds between them, T’Challa confirmed Ramonda in her title of Queen Mother, and always listened to her advices with attention; he also gave her the task of administering the country’s law in his absence, an occurence that started happening quite often, as he grew close to the United States of America and to its superhero community, especially the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. When T’Challa became engaged to an American woman, Monica Lynne, Ramonda strongly opposed this union, as she belived T’Challa needed a queen who understood Africa and its people. She was far more satisfied with T’Challa’s following girlfriend, Kenyan mutant Ororo Munroe, and she worked hard to make that relationship work, being overjoyed and proud when the two actually got married. Ramonda formed a strong bond with the new queen, and the two women became good friends, with the elder one helping the other to cope with the people’s mistrust she had known far too well in her youth. A steady member of the Taifa Ngao, the royal high council, Ramonda helped her son and her daughter-in-law in their government, and when T’Challa fell victim of an attack that sent him into a coma, she helped Ororo to rule on her own. She strongly opposed Shuri as she stepped up to take the mantle of the Black Panther for herself, but she supported both her and Storm in the fight against the invading tyrant Doom. In every possible circumstances, Ramonda stood by her son’s side, at least until the threat to his government came from the people itself…

Ramonda is a wise and strong-minded woman, a queen who had to win the trust and the respect of her people and who lived through a number of trials that would have broken the strongest men. Determined to serve her adoptive country as well as her step-son, Ramonda can be quite harsh on him when she believes he’s not to being giving his everything for Wakanda, but she’s the only one allowed to speak to the king the way she does without blame, after all, and T’Challa rightfully trusts her total dedication to the country and its people.

W’Kabi

While looking for the pics of the missing characters from Wonder Woman, let’s keep seeing who the people in the Black Panther trailer are. Next in line is W’Kabi, portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya: he’s the man who brings the handcuffed Killmonger in front of King T’Challa. In the movie, he’ll be a friend and confidant of T’Challa, a loyal warrior who guides the new king in replacing his deceased father. He surely appears to be quite younger than his comics counterpart, and no mention is made of his role in the palace, albeit taking care of the prisoner may hint of his title of Chief of Security. In the meanwhile, let’s meet together the original W’Kabi.

W’Kabi was born in the hidden African nation of Wakanda, in an unspecified village. As a young man, he was a skilled warrior serving in the national army, and he met Chandra, a girl who would have become his wife. From Chandra he had two sons, Kono and an unnamed little one. W’Kabi was a respected member of his village, and as an adult he became the elder, leading his people and representing them in national matters. Because of his role, he moved to the Royal Palace along with his family, and joined the Taifa Ngao (the “Shield of the Nation“), the council of tribal elders. Along with his fellow councilmen, he briefed King T’Chaka on the villages’ situation, and adviced him in his policy, always with the greatest respect for his decisions and a total obedience. It was in this period that, due to his skills and experience as a warrior and a chieftain, T’Chaka named W’Kabi the new Chief of Security in the palace, a prestigious title, but also a dangerous one, that included the duty of protecting the king and the other important personalities of the government. Due to an unknown menace he repelled, W’Kabi lost an arm, and he replaced it with a bionic one, a weaponized limb that made him an even more proficient combatant. This duty, however, often put him at odds with his wife Chandra, and the two of them always fought for the tasks the king appointed him with (sometimes even in front of their children, despite W’Kabi always tried not to). Despite the problems with his wife, W’Kabi never thought of renouncing to his responsibilities…not even when, despite his guard, King T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner, the mercenary Ulysses Klaw.

With the king dead, his son T’Challa inherited the throne, and for first he went after Klaw and his men. The mercenary disappeared, and the Taifa Ngao was tasked with finding him anywhere in the country or outside he had hidden. W’Kabi personally dispatched his men all around the world, but the killer seemed to have disappeared in thin air; when another councilman proposed to obtain the cooperation of Western countries by trading the cure for cancer for it, W’Kabi firmly opposed it, stating those countries would have turned it into a weapon as everything else, and that no government who truly cared for its citizens’ health would have ever sold them cigarettes in the first place. Klaw had actually disappeared, but he reformed soon after as a being of solidified sound, but from that first meeting W’Kabi and T’Challa grew close, with the elder becoming a trusted guide and a friend to the young king. He even became his second in command, and everytime T’Challa was away (something that happened quite often, especially after he became an Avenger), he led the country in his place, along with the Taifa Ngao and Queen Ramonda. A traditionalist at heart, W’Kabi didn’t trust anyone from outside Wakanda, and didn’t like his king to have this many friends from the West: he didn’t even like his fiancée, Monica Lynne, nor the one who acted as his American aide, Everett Ross. His sense of loyalty, however, compelled him to cooperate with whoever the king told him to, so he even learnt to open his horizons a bit, albeit grudgingly. When Venomm, a former agent of the conspirator Killmonger, apparently switched sides and offered his services to T’Challa, W’Kabi accepted his presence at the palace, but he spent most of his energies and time spying on him, waiting for him to show his true colors: no king would have been killed with him on duty, not again.

W’Kabi is a wise but suspicious man, a charismatic leader who takes his task of keeping the palace safe very seriously. He’s a skilled combatant, expert in several martial arts, and he possesses a bionic arm that can emit powerful energy blasts. W’Kabi doesn’t trust anyone coming from outside the country, and he doesn’t agree with most of his king’s decision regarding the West, but despite this his loyalty his unshakable and unbendable, and he’ll always obey T’Challa, even if he doesn’t share his vision on the outside world at all.

Okoye

Another character from the Black Panther trailer, again one of the feared Dora Milaje…actually, their leader, according to the character’s description: Okoye, portrayed by Danai Gurira. In the movie, Okoye will lead her female-only squad against several threats against T’Challa‘s rule over Wakanda, but apparently she’ll walk away pretty healthy from the many battles, as she’s already confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War (thus confirming that at least a part of it will be set in Wakanda). Now, waiting to know more about her role, or to see her directly on the screen, let’s take a look at the original Okoye.

Okoye was born in an unspecified location in Wakanda, a secluded and technologically advanced nation in Africa. When she was still a child, her village’s elders chose her to be one of the Dora Milaje, the “Adored Ones“, wives in training and bodyguards to the king. The order had been inactive for long, but the new king, T’Challa, reactivated it for solving the rising political discord within his kingdom: the Dora Milaje came from every tribe in the country, and the possibility of becoming queens gave every group a chance to approach the throne. Okoye moved to the Royal Palace, and she immediately bonded with the other girls with her, especially Nakie, a simple peasant who had developed quite a crush on the king. Unlike Nakia, who still dreamt of becoming the next queen, Okoye realised pretty early in her training that the king didn’t feel anything romantic for the girls, quite the opposite, he saw them more as if they were his children: she came to accept this without problems, focusing on her job as a bodyguard and training herself the best she could to be up to the task, but she found out that Nakia didn’t want to give up on her romantic fantasies towards the king, as she even put herself in danger just to attract his attention. Okoye stayed close to her and tried to dissuade her from her delusion, stating that it was obvious that the king wouldn’t have chosen any of them as his future wife, but Nakia was deaf to her friend’s wisdom, and eventually her romantic obsession turned violent, with her trying to kill T’Challa’s American girlfriend Monica Lynne. Okoye couldn’t do anything but to see her best friend exiled from the Royal Palace, but despite her feelings Okoye agreed with her king’s motives, and she remained loyal to T’Challa.

In the following years, Okoye gradually became one of the most apreciated (and skilled) among the Dora Milaje, often accompanying her king into some of his most delicate travels. To the public, she simply acted as T’Challa’s chauffeur, but when the king donned the costume and claws of his alter ego the Black Panther, Okoye was by his side as the warrior she had been trained to be. Not only loyal but devoted to T’Challa, she even abandoned her people language and she adopted her king’s one, Hausa. The most difficult moments, for Okoye, came when she found herself forced to fight against her former friend Nakia, now the villain Malice, but she was present also in a number of other occasions. Once, T’Challa brought her to Chicago to help him recruit a young woman in the Dora Milaje: the girl was of Wakandian origin, albeit she didn’t know it yet, the member of an enemy tribe who had worshipped the White Gorilla, and she had been raised by a warrior loyal to T’Challa, who had monitored her progressesses. With a vacant place in the Dora Milaje, Okoye arrived in Chicago where the girl, Chanté Giovanni Brown, had become the social activist known as Queen Divine Justice, and as soon as she agreed to follow T’Challa, Okoye became first her mentor, then her friend and teammate, with the two of them forming quite a formidable couple. When in New York City a new vigilante appeared, donning the Black Panther’s costume, T’Challa investigated on the matter, and brought Okoye along. It turned out the man was Kevin “Kasper” Cole, a cop who stood up to his corrupt superiors. Intrigued, T’Challa wanted to test the man to see if he was worthy of the suit he wore, so he sent Okoye as part of the trial. Okoye had to seduce Kasper, to see if he would have abandoned his pregnant girlfriend Gwen to stay with her instead, but the man passed the test by rejecting Okoye’s attentions, despite an obvious attraction to her. Later, Kaspar became the heroic White Panther, with Okoye not only serving a Panther, but now being responsible for giving birth to one.

In everything she does, in everything she thinks and says, Okoye is a Dora Milaje, a bodyguard fiercely devoted to King T’Challa, following him like a shadow and protecting him from any possible threat. As an Adored One, she’s one of the finest warriors in Wakanda, a martial artist with a mastership over traditional Wakandan weapons but also modern firearms; she’s also a skilled driver, unmatched in pursuits and races. One of the most dangerous women in her country, Okoye devotes every breath and every step to King T’Challa…may the enemis of the royal family be warned.

Penthiselea

Another Amazon here, obviously always from Wonder Woman, and always little more than a cameo: Penthiselea, portrayed by Brooke Ence. She appears as a skilled warrior from Themyscira‘s army, and as usual she’s clearly spotted only during the battle occuring on the beach against the German Army. In the comics, there are two (possibly three) different versions of the same character, but none of them could have possibly been present during said battle: the first one in fact was a great warrior from the ancient times, while the second one only appears in the alternate reality of Flashpoint (and she dons a slightly different name, Penthesilea, the mythological name the first one is based upon). Let’s see together.

Penthiselea (or Penthesilea, the two versions of the name are often used referring to the same character) was born in quite a dire times for the Amazons: Queen Antiope had abandoned Themyscira to exact her revenge on the men who had attacked the island, and many warriors had followed her, losing the protection of their goddesses. Once they arrived in Athens, however, Antiope fell in love with the king, Theseus, one of her former captors, and they got married; Antiope’s adopted daughter, Phthia, married in turn Theseus’ son, Melanippus, and she gave him a daughter, who happened to be Penthiselea. The girl rose in Athens only for a short time, as unfortunately Antiope was killed by Theseus’ first wife, Ariadne, manipulated by the evil sorceress Circe. Phthia led the Amazons away from the city, her daughter included, and they lived as mercenaries, moving all around Greece and following whatever army could grant them the revenge they demanded against the Greeks. Penthiselea grew up in the battlefields, becoming one of the most skilled warriors the Amazons had ever known. When she was an adult, her battle prowess was so advanced that Phthia entrusted her with the lead of the entire Amazonian army. The Amazons’ fame grew, and Priam, the king of Troy, hired them to fight against the army of Greeks that had been sieging his city for ten years. Captain Penthiselea led the attack, and her army destroyed every enemy who stood in front of her…until Achilles, the mightiest general of the Greeks, led a counterattack. Many perished under his hand, and Penthiselea challenged him to stop the carnage…but even she wasn’t a match for the demi-god, who bested her in combat and killed her (according to the original version of the story, he even raped her corpse).

Another Amazon named Penthesilea appeared years later on Themyscira, one of the warriors loyal to Queen Hippolyta, who never followed Antiope in her revenge. When The Flash came back in time to save his mother Nora from his nemesis Professor Zoom, he altered the timeline and created a brand new reality, and even Penthesilea received a brand new origin. In this reality, she was one of the very first Amazons, created directly by the goddesses, and she was the sister of Hippolyta. An extremely skilled warrior, Penthesilea became her sister’s general, leading the army as Hippolyta led the country. She also acted as Princess Diana‘s mentor and trainer, teaching her everything she knew about fighting. When Diana was little more than a kid, she explored the oceans, but she was attacked by a Kraken: she was rescued just in time by Orin, the prince of Atlantis, and the two started a friendship that matured in love. Their marriage turned out to be a diplomatical opportunity to unite Atlantis and Themyscira, but not everybody on the two sides were happy with the union…and among them there was traditionalist Penthesilea, who saw this opening as a weakness on the Amazons’ part. Penthesilea found an unexpected kindred spirit in Prince Orm, Orin’s brother, who didn’t want Atlantis to merge with Themyscira for pretty much the same reasons. The two became lovers, and started plotting a way to obstruct the union. The plan was simple, but it proved to be effective: Penthesilea entrusted one of his most loyal warriors, Artemis, to kill Diana during the ceremony while dressing in an Atlantean armor. The assassination attempt, however, failed, and Artemis impaled with her spear Hippolyta instead. Garth, an Atlantean, was sent by Orm to investigate the crime, and he found Artemis…who arrested him claiming he was the killer. Penthesilea herself killed him before he could speak. This way, Garth looked guilty…and Diana declared war on Atlantis, starting a conflict that would have destroyed Europe, much more than Penthesilea had bargained for.

Penthesilea is a proud warrior, fiercely loyal to her people. The first version is an enthusiast young warrior who believes in her and her people’s invincibility, a self-confidence boarding in arrogance; the second one is a clever but deceptive woman, a seasoned warrior who’s able and willing to defend the Amazon’s traditions with every possible means, even if this means to betray her own family. Both versions possess superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, speed and reflexes, and they are both extremely skilled warriors, experts horse-riders and nearly unbeatable swordswomen; while the first Penthesilea is mortal, the second one isn’t, as long as she lives on Themyscira. Through three different existences, only one thing remained the same with Penthesilea, and it’s her loyalty to the Amazons…everything else, she’ll always pierce with her blade.