Jakarra is a minor, early enemy of the Black Panther.
He first appeared during the Kirby run, back in ’77. In the days when the nights were young, where we could do no wrong.
- Real Name: Jakarra.
- Known Relatives: In the original continuity : T’Chaka (father, deceased), unnamed mother, T’Challa (half-brother), and from there T’Challa’s relatives as applicable.
- Known Relatives: In the retconned continuity : T’Chaka (father, deceased), Mateena (mother), T’Challa (half-brother), S’yan (paternal uncle), Shuri (half-sister), and from there T’Challa’s relatives as applicable.
- Group Affiliation: Wakandan military, Hyena Clan.
- Base of Operations: Wakanda (oft mobile abroad).
- Height: 5’1″ (1.55m). Weight: 105 lbs. (47 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.
There are two different accounts about Jakarra’s story, with significant differences.
- One was during the 1977+ Kirby run.
- The other was in the Rise of the Black Panther Limited Series of 2018. Which was a detailed introduction to the Panther and Wakanda, published to accompany the movie.
Now, if I wanted meshuggah reality rewrites messing up with my research, I’d read DC Comics. But in the Panther’s case there were *decades* of expansion of what the character concept should be. Plus one writer who was rough on continuity.
So doing a new “master version” for reference is sensible. Especially since it was clear that some elements from the movie would overwrite comics material.
In-universe, the Seventh Multiverse had been destroyed and succeeded by the Eight Multiverse not long before (Secret Wars #9, 2015).
Reed Richards contained the destruction to almost nothing. Reality mostly just carried on. But there were tiny changes in history.
These can be used to explain away continuity glitches, such as Jakarra’s origins. Holy Infinite Earths, Batman !
Since there isn’t much Jakarra material, we’ll cover both the Seventh and Eighth Cosmos versions in this entry.
My first choice for 1970s central-ish African music tends to be Fela Kuti. So, for a change, let’s move all the way West and go to the République de Guinée (a.k.a. Guinea-Conakry). In the spirit of Wakandan panafricanism.
For 20+ years after independence, the Bembeya Jazz orchestra was famous worldwide. They did a lot of fusion work, with Manding musical traditions at the core but drawing from jazz and other styles to create something new.
And there is even a live performance or two on YouTube, so that’s cool.
Powers & Abilities (Seventh Cosmos)
Jakarra was “born small and frail”.
He remained unusually short as an adult. But it seems that physical conditioning improved his health.
He’s a trained soldier, and an extensively educated senior military officer. N’Gassi described Jakarra as having earned his rank, likely making a point about it not being nepotismWhen powerful people reserve good positions for relatives..
He’s primarily fluent in Hausa, English and possibly other languages. I *assume* that most of the dialogue in the story takes place in Hausa.
As a Wakandan Vibranium mutateA person mutated after birth, as opposed to a born-this-way mutant., the General :
- Possessed superhuman strength. At first, “Class 3” or so – he could demolish thick wood, but not thick stone.
- Possessed superhuman durability. He seemed immune to small arms fire, and eventually could ignore direct hits with 50mm shells.
- Could adapt to resist other physical assaults, such as acid or gas. But developing such a resistance after the initial exposure took days.
- He eventually developed the ability to fire powerful vibration bursts from his palms. Then jets of flame hot enough to destroy armoured vehicles.
Powers & Abilities (Eighth Cosmos)
This version of Jakarra wasn’t that short. But he seemed sickly. Perhaps he had a severe childhood sickness and never recovered.
It is possible that he learned Hyena Clan Vibranium science.
He might also have received espionage/assassination training from his mother.
It seems likely that his physiology was modified through Vibranium micro-exposure. Perhaps in a fashion similar to Vibraxas (N’Kano), though Jakarra didn’t have clear super-powers as N’Kano did. Or perhaps via cybernetics as with Ivory (K’Maria).
This allowed Jakarra to absorb the properties of lava, when he combined magma with Vibranium energy. In this form (looking a bit like Plasmus (Otto von Furth)), he was :
- Superhumanly strong.
- Able to absorb elements and energies he was subjected to. It is possible that he could have thus accumulated a high power level.
History (Seventh Cosmos)
Jakarra is the son of T’Chaka, King of Wakanda. But his mother was from another tribe, which apparently meant stigma.
(There isn’t enough information for an educated guess as to what was up. The simplest theory would be that Jakarra’s mum was from a polityGeneral term for an organised group (a tribe, a democracy, a theocracy…). with ties to another orishaYoruba word for a god or great spirit, used in several African traditions. than the Panther God. Like, say, the Jabari who worship the Gorilla God rather than Panther. But that’s unsupported.)
(Jakarra’s mum apparently was a second wife as part of a polygamous arrangement. The whole setup with the Dora Milajes wouldn’t appear in comics until 20 years later, and Queen Ramonda’s first appearance was 12 years in the future. That’s the sort of factor that makes a retconMaking changes to a character or story after the fact. the cleaner path.)
Jakarra was younger than T’Chaka’s heir apparent, T’Challa. Between this, his mother’s origin, and his small size, Jakarra constantly felt ignored and in his half-brother’s shadow.
His modest strength also meant that he had no shot at the throne. Back then, it was won and maintained through unarmed combat rituals. Which was a legacy from the time the tribes within Wakanda routinely warred against each other.
We were working secretly for the military
Jakarra enlisted with the Wakandan military. He qualified for a series of promotions, up to the rank of General. This involved being sent to study in military academies abroad, which also had the advantage of keeping him out of the way.
(Where Jakarra studied isn’t specified. Since T’Challa studied in Europe, we can hypothesise that Jakarra went to Sandhurst in the UK, and Saint-Cyr in France. If the goal was to document the military procedures of other major powers, we could also imagine that he attended the Voroshilov Academy in the USSR and West Point in the US. Which would also maintain non-alignedAn alliance of decolonised nations back during the Cold War. cred.)
At this point, Wakanda seemingly had but a modest military. Mostly due to tensions between traditionalists and modernists about the use of firearms.
Therefore, the military insisted on being referred to as “the militia”. They only had small arms and some modified APCsArmoured all-terrain vehicle carrying an infrantry team. The weapons and vehicles did include some advanced bits of Wakandan engineering, though.
I’d imagine that the militia thus only had one general, whose presence wasn’t necessary to everyday operations. Which seem to have mostly been gendarmerieA police force made up of military personel. bush patrols. While Jakarra was studying abroad, the militia could just report to the King or to Royal advisors.
Jakarra’s uniform was mostly white, with some blue bits. This matches the uniforms then worn by the Wakandan militia.
In 1977, Jakarra returned for a coup. He had picked a time when T’Challa (by then the King and the Black Panther) was venturing abroad.
With a small team of mercenaries he stormed the office of N’Gassi. This senior advisor was in charge whilst T’Challa was away.
(I *assume* that these were mercenaries. In part because their uniform is nigh-identical to those of the Narobia City garrison. But there’s a tiny implication in the dialogue that they’re Wakandans.)
Make mine metal
Before this brief assault, Jakarra had deliberately remained in close proximity to the Wakandan vibraniumA Marvel Comics metal that controls vibrations. mound. This was a gamble – there were ancient accounts of men being turned into demons by doing so.
Jakarra believed that this was exaggerated. He thought that the radiation exposure would be a source of superpowers.
At first, this seemed to work. However, Jakarra then abruptly mutated. Mostly blinded with pain, he had to flee. N’Gassi ordered all Wakandans to stay out of Jakarra’s way.
Jakarra rampaged in the countryside, and slew the militia patrols that foolishly attempted to stop him. Perhaps these felt dishonoured by their commander’s mutiny.
Yes, the Black Musketeers !
Jakarra then doubled back toward the palace. But N’Gassi’s men repelled him with powerful acid jet guns.
Since T’Challa was still missing abroad, N’Gassi summoned cousins of the royal family. Nicknamed the “Black Musketeers”, this unlikely lot agreed to hold the fort until the King would return.
Jakarra adapted to the acid, and attacked anew. Yet the Musketeers narrowly stopped him. The youngest Musketeer, Dr. Itobo, then attempted to save Jakarra from the mutation.
But that didn’t work. Jakarra mutated further, forgot about his past and identity, and escaped.
Return of the King
The Musketeers made another attempt.
It likely would have failed, but the Black Panther returned just in time. He used Dr. Itobo’s countermeasure and stopped Jakarra.
The mutate had been entering a resonance state with the Vibranium mound. The resulting shocks would have likely built up to destroy the planet. But with Jakarra slain, the vibrations just died down.
History (Eighth Cosmos)
Jakarra son of T’Chaka was born :
- After the death of N’Yami the Orphan Queen.
- Before King T’Chaka met Ramonda, the then-future Queen.
During this span, the King had a fling with a Wakandan spy – Mateena. As a N’Charu Silema agent, she almost always lived abroad on assignments. She therefore raised Jakarra outside of Wakanda.
Jakarra returned to Wakanda while his half-brother T’Challa was studying abroad. Back then it was their uncle S’yan who was the regent, and bearer of the Black Panther title and mask. But :
- S’yan was a brawny and overbearing man, and felt contempt toward the sickly Jakarra.
- The Regent also had a xenophobic streak, unlike his late brother. Furthermore, S’yan never trusted the N’Charu Silema intelligence agency. Which meant that he would never approve of Jakarra.
Still, Jakarra was his nephew. S’yan therefore gave him a briefcase full of gold as his inheritance, in return for a promise never to come back.
Quick continuity notes
In this flashback, Jakarra is wearing the same uniform as he did pre-Crisis… I mean, in the 1977 telling of the story. What this means is unknown.
In publication time terms, this story likely occured in 1967.
In sliding time terms, it likely occurs two or three weeks after the first encounter between the Black Panther and the Fantastic Four. So… 11-ish “years ago”.
The hyena who laughs
Jakarra didn’t quite keep his promise. Instead, he fell in with the Hyena Clan, and apparently became their chieftain.
The “Hyena Clan” (whose actual name is the Jambazi Clan) was founded some centuries ago, before the full unification of Wakanda. Its founder’s father had won the challenge to become the new Black Panther, but died after ingesting the sacred herbs. His son sought other talented persons with grievances against the throne.
The Jambazi were further condemned for conducting forbidden experiments with Vibranium. Then they stole food stores during a great drought, which precipitated a bloody war between Wakanda and Niganda for control of the still-fertile Alkama Fields. Upon realizing the truth, the Black Panther (Benhazin) hunted the secretive Jambazi down.
The Hyena Clan took their gear and knowledge and left. From there the small clan roamed Africa as pillagers. They used their superior firepower to take what they wanted.
Doom is as Doom does – so says Doom
After Wakanda revealed its existence to the world, Jakarra contacted Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom). He presented himself as being next in line to the Panther throne, and offered an alliance against T’Challa.
Amused, Doom agreed to play one round of this game. There apparently were exchanges of technological know-how between the Hyena Clan and Latveria.
A Doombot was teleported onto the Panther throne – though Jakarra didn’t share the coordinates for Wakanda beyond this stunt. As intended, this resulted in a clash between T’Challa (plus Shuri) and Doom.
However, Doom saw the two young Royals as having more long-term potential as allies than Jakarra. He therefore ambiguously stated to them that he had dealings with the Hyena Clan.
The flaw is lava
T’Challa located the Hyena raiders in Northern Kenya, at the Barrier Volcano . On his way there, he was reunited with his old flame Ororo Munroe, who was starting to acquire a reputation as a goddess.
(Presumably, ’roro was still on her long Southward journey, which she had begun in Cairo. She would eventually reach her goal in the Northern Serengeti – basically Kenya’s Southern border, West of Nairobi. But this Maasai land is about 800 km (500 miles) away from the Barrier Volcano area).
T’Challa and Ororo clashed with Hyena raiders. This allowed Jakarra to recover a Vibranium-powered energy dagger thrown by the Black Panther. He then used that at the Barrier geothermal centre to absorb the properties of molten lava.
Deducing Jakarra’s powers, T’Challa realised that he couldn’t overcome him – even with Ms. Munroe’s help. Instead, he reprogrammed another Vibranium dagger to lock Jakarra’s mutated muscles for a few minutes.
Ororo then dumped the immobile Jakarra into the Barrier Volcano’s crater. With his body having to constantly absorb tremendous heat, Jakarra was plunged into a stasis.
In the Seventh Cosmos version, the mutated Jakarra was about the same shade of red as Klaw.
Terribly bitter and warped by toxic ambition – and a lifelong need for revenge.
The mutated Jakarra initially sought to cope with his new state. In particular he looked for ways to cool and hydrate his overheating body. Once that was handled, he set out to conduct a one-man coup.
Once he lost his memories and personality, he became dominated by some sort of homing instinct. He beelined for the Vibranium mound, where he sought to trigger a resonance event.
The captions not-so-helpfully explain that the revenge of frustrated short men is a great source of evil. Since Jakarra is a senior officer, I’d imagine that it also doubles as a Napoléon talking point.
So, not the greatest in hindsight. But in a 1970s story somebody was bound to say that.
“Quake, Wakandans ! Tremble, Humans ! The victories I yearned for as a man I shall win tenfold — in a misshapen form of destiny’s making !”
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Jakarra (Seventh Cosmos, last mutation stage)
|Dex: 08||Str: 09||Bod: 11|
|Int: 02||Wil: 01||Min: 03|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 05|
|Init: 015||HP: 010|
Defensive adaptation: 08, Flame project: 12, Growth: 01, Skin armour: 04, Vibe: 12
Bonuses and Limitations:
- The first AP of Defensive Adaptation takes an hour to develop after initial exposure. The second takes two hours, the third four hours, etc..
- Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
- Skin Armour is limited to Physical, Kinetic Descriptors.
Iron Nerves, Languages (Hausa).
Strange Appearance, Misc.: land speed seemed limited to 03 APs (very tentatively).
Renegade military officer.
During his earliest mutation stages, Jakarra likely had a DEX of 05, a STR of 07 and a BODY of 09. It grew from here, though the jump in DEX is a sudden, late development.
He had his Skills, higher Mentals, etc. for most of his mutation. It then went away when he lost his memories.
There’s not enough data to propose stats for his human form. You can draw from our article about generic soldiers if guessing is necessary.
STR 01 BODY 02 seems likely, with Mentals and most Mysticals circa 04.
Too little info to tell.
His abilities may have resembled the Absorbing Man’s, albeit more oriented toward energy than matter. But being subjected to continuous, excessive amounts of energy resulted in a stasis.
He likely still had DEX 08 STR 09, but this is based on all of two panels. Plus Growth: 01.
Weirdly, he didn’t seem to have Flame Being after he switched to a lava-like form. Perhaps he was channelling the energy away from wasteful heat and into super-strength and durability.
Source of Character: Black Panther comics.
Writeup completed on the 12th of June, 2021.