Avengers: Mech Strike just saw Black Panther return with a massive boost of power that makes the King of Wakanda more powerful than ever.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Avengers: Mech Strike # 4 from Jed Mackay, Carlos Magno, Gurur-eFX, Tom Brevoort, and VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.

The Avengers have rarely faced a threat they couldn’t handle on their own, but Kang the Conqueror’s latest plot in Avengers: Mech Strike it may have proven to be their undoing. With an army of incredibly tough techno-organic monsters leading the way, Kang may have cemented his place as the undisputed ruler of Earth, no matter how hard his mightiest heroes try to stop him. However, Kang has been playing around forever from the beginning, seemingly wiping out Black Panther after he was first revealed. However, it now appears that instead of destroying Black Panther, Kang inadvertently gave the King of Wakanda a chance to become more powerful than ever.

The Avengers have been fighting a losing battle since the first of Kang’s creations appeared on Earth. Things have gotten so bad that they have even accepted Thanos into their ranks. Unfortunately, even the Mad Titan proved incapable of defending himself from the time-traveling despot. After getting rid of Thanos, Kang turns his attention back to Earth’s mightiest heroes, who are prepared to die fighting for their world just as they believed T’Challa had before them. However, Black Panther managed not only to survive his encounter with Kang, but he also had the opportunity to harness a strength like he had never felt before, as he has now returned with the power of Eternity.

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First introduced to the Marvel Universe by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in 1965 Strange tales # 138, Eternity is the physical manifestation of the universe. Across the Multiverse, each reality has its own Eternity, and although Avengers: Mech Strike It may not be a canon tale, reality still has its own Eternity. As one of the Abstract Entities of the Marvel Universe, like Empathy and Entropy, Eternity is effectively immortal and as such has little need to intervene in the affairs of beings residing within its limits.

However, a threat to the universe is a threat to eternity, and it manifests itself to act on behalf of its own existence. Eternity has been killed, so to speak, during extreme reality-altering crises, like the one the Beyonders presented during the 2015s. New avengers # 30 by Jonathan Hickman and Dalibor Talajic, but nothing has been able to contain him for a long time. With the new cosmic power bestowed upon him as a representative of Eternity, Kang has little chance of defeating the most powerful version of Black Panther in any universe.

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No matter what the endgame of Kang’s game is, destroying the Herald of Eternity will only draw the wrath of the universe upon him, and destroying the very reality he inhabits is not a viable option, even if it is nearly impossible. T’Challa has tasted all manner of power over the years, from his ascension to the King of the Dead to having tasted the might of the Phoenix Force. Still, nothing he has acquired comes close to the power of Eternity.

Black Panther may just be a herald, but he’s still been infused with abilities that come from the living embodiment of reality. It’s hard to imagine a being more powerful than Eternity and, by extension, the version of Black Panther that now acts as its herald. With the eyes of the herald of eternity now firmly fixed on the threat of the time traveler, Kang’s days are likely to be numbered for the first time in his life.

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