N'Jadaka, better known by his alias Erik Killmonger, is a Marvel Comics character created by Don McGregor and Rich Buckler, first appearing in Jungle Action #6 (dated Sept. 1973).
One of the Black Panther's greatest foes, Killmonger is known for his treacherous persona and ruthless battle tactics. The son of an exiled Wakandan, Killmonger grew up with a deep-seated hatred of his native land, vowing to exact his revenge on them for their treatment of his father.
He would eventually make good on his promise, terrorizing the nation of Wakanda on a number of occasions in his adult life, even stealing the crown for himself at one point. He's often seen collaborating with the Black Panther's other nemesis, Ulysses Klaw, despite hating him nearly as much as Wakanda's rulers, since the man was partly responsible for his father's exile in the first place.
Killmonger notably appears as the main antagonist of 2018's Black Panther film, portrayed there by Michael B. Jordan. This version of the character largely resembles his original counterpart, with the exception of his new blood relation to T'Challa as first cousins. Many have cited this portrayal of the character as being one of the best superhero movie villains since Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight a decade earlier.
Not to be confused with Killraven, another (similarly-named) Marvel character.
Erik Killmonger appears in:
- Black Panther (various runs)
- Killmonger (2018 — 2019)
He provides examples of:
- Always Someone Better: He's T'Challa's intellectual equal and his physical superior, serving as one of the few people who can regularly best The Black Panther in hand-to-hand combat.
- Applied Phlebotinum: He and his minions derive their physical powers from the mutating energies of the Resurrection Altar, which is actually some sort of alien device that landed in Wakanda millennia ago. It can also bring back the dead in limited ways.
- Back from the Dead: Repeatedly, thanks to the aforementioned Resurrection Altar.
- Batman Gambit: Many of his schemes rely on knowing how T'Challa, the tribal elders of Wakanda, and others will react to his initial provocations.
- Big Bad: Of multiple arcs, what with being one of Black Panther's greatest foes.
- Demoted to Dragon: When resurrected by The Mandarin.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Already a highly dangerous man, Killmonger was mutated into a killing machine by exposure to the resurrection altar, and then by consuming a synthetic version of T'Challa's heart-shaped herb.
- Evil Genius: You have to be to get the drop on T'Challa.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's superficially quite courteous to people who seemingly aren't in the way of his vendetta against T'Challa, but as Ross points out, he's actually trying to manipulate people this way and knows full well that he's incredibly intimidating even when he's being polite.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When he finally deposes T'Challa in ritual personal combat and subsequently goes through the Panther ritual, his mutated physique — which allowed him to outmatch T'Challa — reacts very badly to the Panther's sacred herb and puts him in a Convenient Coma.
- Hypocrite: A Wakanda traditionalist who grew up in America and graduated from MIT. Think about it.
- Joker Immunity: Will never be Killed Off for Real. Justified by his access to the Resurrection Altar.
- Large and in Charge: Stands at six foot six, towering over most normal people.
- Laser-Guided Karma: His first defeat happened when, in his moment of triumph, he was shoved off a cliff by a child whose father had been one of the first victims of Killmonger's troops.
- Majored in Western Hypocrisy: As much as he wishes to return Wakanda to Good Old Ways, he nonetheless spent most of his time outside of Wakanda and educated at MIT.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's quite good at getting people and even governments to do exactly what he wants them to in furtherance of his schemes.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Killmonger isn't exactly the type of name that inspires trust. It's even the name he gave himself, to boot.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Killmonger's Death Regiments are living humans mutated into zombie-like forms by the Resurrection Altar.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: He has a recurring group of bizarre minions empowered by the Resurrection Altar, including Baron Macabre, King Cadaver, Lord Karnaj, the Bronze Age version of Malice, Salamander K'Ruel, Sombre, Venomm (before his HeelFace Turn), and Tayete and Kazibe.
- Revenge: Hates both Klaw and T'Challa, blaming them for his exile from Wakanda.
- Scary Black Man: He's the SBM that T'Challa isn't.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Klaw, who he hates almost as much as T'Challa.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: When in his traditional garb.
- Worthy Opponent: To T'Challa and Kasper.