Real Name: M’Baku
First Appearance: Avengers #62 (March, 1969)
Powers: Possesses superhuman strength, superhuman agility, superhuman speed, superhuman stamina and superhuman durability. Proficient in hand to hand combat.
Affiliation: Masters of Evil, Lethal Legion
Did You Know? Man-Ape is one of the Black Panther’s oldest and most fierce enemies.
A Little History
The creation of Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Man-Ape first appeared inside the pages of Avengers #62 back in 1969.
M’Baku was born in the fictional nation of Wakanda. From early on he was considered one of the nation’s best warriors. Being considered only one of the best warriors didn’t sit too well with M’Baku. This was especially so because the nations best warrior was the Black Panther. Due to this, he plotted to overthrow the Black Panther and return Wakanda to its naturally primitive state. He sought to return Wakanda to a primitive state because he felt their over-reliance on technology hindered them as a nation and contradicted what they stood for.
To return Wakanda, he set out to defeat T’Challa in battle and take control of the throne.
While the Black Panther was in America giving aid to the Avengers, M’Baku began to revive the White Gorilla Cult. From there he successfully stalked and killed the rare White Gorilla. With the gorilla dead, M’Baku ate its flesh, bathed in its blood and was bestowed the power of the White Gorilla.
Once T’Challa returned to Wakanda, M’Baku, now called Man-Ape, issued him a challenge in battle. If he were to win the battle, T’Challa would be forced to give up the throne and M’Baku would be named King. The battle between the two was fierce and at its conclusion, Man-Ape did, in fact, leave victorious. Unfortunately, before he was done he tied T’Challa to a totem and attempted to topple it on him. This would’ve worked had the totem actually not toppled his way burying him underneath.
The thought dead Man-Ape was found and revived by one of his supporters. He tracked the Black Panther to New York where he became a member of the Lethal Legion, kidnapped his girlfriend and threatened that the only way he would get her back is if he once again fought him in battle. He was able to defeat and take T’Challa captive, albeit through deceit and cheating. The Avengers came to his rescue but unfortunately wound up being caught themselves. Eventually, Captain America breaks free of capture, beats Man-Ape in battle and frees his teammates.
Now free, T’Challa states that M’Baku is never allowed to step foot in Wakanda again. If he did, he would face death. Humiliated, M’Baku roams the Earth as a mercenary for hire.