Captain America and Black Panther finally end their friendship as Steve Rogers trusts Namor more than the King of Wakanda.
Warning: SPOILERS for Black Panther #14
The friendship between Captain America and Black Panther is officially over in Marvel Comics as the former King of Wakanda has been replaced – by Namor. Steve Rogers and T’Challa have fought together for many years, but the two come from vastly different worlds with different life experiences. In Black Panther #14, Steve can no longer deny that T’Challa’s actions have jeopardized the entire world, and can no longer be trusted.
Captain America is one of the few superheroes who has fought multiple Black Panthers; in World War II, he fought T’Challa’s grandfather while pursuing Nazi soldiers into Wakanda. Black Panther defeated both the Nazis and Rogers, and told him in no uncertain terms to leave his land. Captain America would later forge a friendship with T’Challa, arguably the most famous Black Panther, who initially appeared in Fantastic Four comics as a villain. T’Challa is the King of Wakanda and a member of the Avengers – but all that changed in the span of three issues in 2023.
In Black Panther #14, written by John Ridley with art by German Peralta, T’Challa is shocked when Namor offers to help him in his fight against Jhai, a sleeper agent of Wakanda turned rogue. Jhai has used T’Challa’s plan to destroy the communications infrastructure of the world in an attempt to craft a stronger Wakanda – and though T’Challa had nothing to do with it, he is still blamed. “Hell of a mess, T’Challa,” says Captain America as the fallout of Black Panther’s mistakes are revealed. But when Namor asks Captain America to join them in the new Wakandan-Atlantis alliance, he considers it.
Captain America Trusts Namor More Than Black Panther Now
The fact that Captain America trusts Namor more than Black Panther is astounding; the two have fought each other for many years, and Namor has threatened to flood the surface world on numerous occasions. But T’Challa has crossed the line when he authorized a sleeper agent program; these agents were in prime positions to attack key positions just in case Wakanda needed to gain the upper hand in a conflict. Because of this, T’Challa has brought war to Wakanda and has lost his throne, his Wakandan citizenship, and even his place on the Avengers.
For his part, Namor relishes in the moment, as he has been rivals with T’Challa for many years. Captain America responds to him but not to Black Panther, meaning – at least for now – Steve Rogers sides with an Atlantean over a Wakandan. For Black Panther, this is a resounding defeat, and one can only guess how Captain America will repair the relationship in the future.