BLACK DRAGON

Real Name: Chiantang

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (K'un-Lun) dragon

Occupation: Warrior

Group Membership: Dragons of K'un-Lun

Affiliations: Formerly Nightshade

Enemies: Black Panther (T'Challa), Defenders (Dr. Strange, Hellcat, Hulk, Namor, Nighthawk, Silver Surfer, Valkyrie (Parrington)), Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Iron Fist imposter (H'ylthri), Lei-Kung the Thunderer, Misty Knight, Master Khan, Nightshade, Power Man (Luke Cage), Everett K. Ross, Shou-Lao the Undying, Taku, Wakandans, Colleen Wing, W'Kabi, Yü-Ti (Lord Tuan), Yü-Ti (Tuan's son), Zuri, people of K'un-Lun

Known Relatives: Dragon King (brother), daughter of the Dragon King (niece, deceased)

Aliases: Brother of the Dragon King;
    posed as Mephisto, Power Man (Luke Cage), and Everett K. Ross

Place of Birth: City of Dragons, K'un-Lun dimension

Base of Operations: Presumably Wakanda;
    formerly Manhattan, New York;
    formerly the City of the Dragons, beneath a sea in K'un-Lun

Extent of Education: Unrevealed

First Appearance:
    (Chiantang): Power Man and Iron Fist#118 (July, 1985)
    (Black Dragon): Black Panther III#38 (January, 2002)

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Chiantang, in his natural form, is an immense dragon, 100' long. He possesses Class 100 strength and durability, and though he can be injured, he can heal from virtually any injury; it has been claimed that the sword Dragonslayer can kill him, though he has disputed this claim. He did admit that only way to kill a dragon was to decapitate it. However, even when beheaded (and his head incinerated), he was able to be resurrected via a certain ceremony. He can also take different dragon forms, demonstrating an un-winged purple form, and a winged green form, radically different in appearance. In at least the green form, he could fly and breathe fire.

    He can change into human form at will, though even in that form, he has at least Class 25 strength, enhanced durability and speed, and is a master of certain martial arts. He has a number of magical powers, only a few of which have been glimpsed. He can mimic the form of any human or humanoid (and possible non-humanoids as well), and he can also switch his mind with another being. His powers are sufficient that he was able to transform his body into a duplicate of the demon Mephisto, which fooled even Dr. Strange until he performed a deep magical exploration. He even could leave superhuman powers in his body while swapping minds with another, such as when Ross could fly and demonstrate superhuman strength, durability, and healing powers when appearing as Mephisto in Chiantang's body.

    Though apparently male, he can lay eggs which will hatch into dragons within a few weeks.

Height: 100' (variable)
Weight: 700 tons (variable)
Eyes: Yellow (variable)
Hair: None (variable)

 

History:
(Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) -
There was once a fierce and deadly dragon named Chiantang.  He was brother to the Dragon King, the mightiest of all dragons.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb) / Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS ) - Many centuries ago, the daughter of the Dragon King, against her father's wishes, married a young dragon. This dragon, Shou-Lao, shamed her, and then left her penniless and homeless. When Chiantang learned of his niece's fate, he transformed into dragon form, swam to the surface, and assaulted K'un-Lun, where Shou-Lao had taken refuge, ignoring his brother's belief that violence was not the way.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb) - BTS / Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) - Locating Shou-Lao himself, Chiantang borrowed a favor from a god, and changed the dragon into a lowly fire-breathing serpent. Chiantang then ripped out Shou-Lao's heart and placed it, alive and throbbing, into a cauldron of boiling blood within a cave, where he wanted it to beat until the end of time. Chiantang imprisoned Shou-Lao nearby, intending his victim to writhe in shame and agony forever, hence his new title of Shou-Lao the Undying.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb)) - One year later, with K'un-Lun leveled, and 70, 000 natives dead (men, women, and children alike), Chiantang was summoned to the castle in the sky of Master Khan, god to the people of K'un-Lun. Deriving power from the worship of the people of  K'un-Lun, Master Khan was enraged and considered punishment of Chiantang. However, upon hearing of what Chiantang had done to Shou-Lao, Master Khan was amused, and decided to forgive the dragon. However, he warned Chiantang that he would not be this easily amused again.

(Marvel Premiere#16 - BTS) - Over a thousand years later, Daniel Rand faced Shou-Lao, and stole its heart, killing it.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb) / Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) - Hearing of the destruction of his creation, which effectively ended his punishment, Chiantang became enraged. Ignoring the Dragon King again, he swam to the surface and prepared to slaughter the people of K'un-Lun (believing Rand/Iron Fist to be in their midst). This time, however, Khan confronted him and demanded he halt. When Chiantang attempted to pass him by, Khan transformed him back into mortal form. Khan then created a sword, Dragonslayer, from the water that had spawned the dragons, telling Chiantang that it could dispose of him forever. Khan imprisoned Chiantang in a subterranean chamber, leaving him in manacles and watched over by a guard who held the Dragonslayer.

 

 

 

 

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb)) - Three years later, the Dragon King's daughter decided that her uncle had suffered enough.

(Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) - Chiantang's niece pleaded with Master Khan to release Chiantang, but he refused to listen.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb)) -  She traveled to his subterranean prison, took the form of one of the guards, and appeared at the cell during the time for the changing of the guard. Still in that form and holding Dragonslayer, the daughter of the Dragon King undid Chiantang's manacles. Believing his rescuer to be a real guard and believing that all mortals should die, Chiantang grabbed the mighty sword and beheaded the guard, realizing only afterwards that he had killed his own niece.


(Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (fb) / Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) - This drove Chiantang completely insane. Refusing to take responsibility for his own actions, Chiantang blamed the mortals and rampaged through the city once again. This time Master Khan had been weakened by a recent defeat by Power Man and Iron Fist (from PM/IF#75), and he was forced to flee the city alongside Yü-Ti.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#120 (fb) - BTS) - Thousands of people of K'un-Lun died, while thousands more fled to the unknown lands beyond the city gates. Chiantang ruled the fabled city with terror and death.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#118) - While Iron Fist sought assistance in K'un-Lun from Lei-Kung the Thunderer in curing his radiation poisoning, Luke Cage and Colleen Wing sought out the architect of K'un-Lun's devastation. From a K'un-Lun native, they learned of the cave in which he was dwelling. Upon their arrival, Chiantang confronted them in human form, but Cage refused to believe the smaller man had been the attacker, until Chiantang smashed him aside. In short order, Chiantang beat Cage into unconscious, and then he toyed with and defeated Colleen in a swordfight. Only then did he take his true form.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#119) - Chiantang tossed the unconscious Cage and Colleen into the chamber of Lei-Kung, who had evaded him up until this point. Lei-Kun fought back fiercely, causing the dragon pain. Meanwhile, Iron Fist, still within his own vision/trance and consumed with guilt over his own involvement in the destruction of K'un-Lun, leapt into symbolic waters (Lei-Kung had told him that if he touched the waters, he would never wake up). Iron Fist then appeared, seemingly revived, but consumed with warrior madness, and his costume had turned red (see comments).

(Power Man and Iron Fist#120) - The savage "Iron Fist" assaulted Chiantang, his speed and repetitive use of the Iron Fist power enabling him to keep the dragon on the defensive, though he could harm him. Realizing that neither he nor any other present could hope to stand against the dragon, Lei-Kung revived Cage, who located their ally Dr. Druid, who helped them reach the City of the Dragons. After the mournful Dragon King refused to assist them, they instead located the Dragonslayer and used it to return to the surface. Cage struck Chiantang with the sword to no effect, at which point Lei-Kung realized that it was the rune engraved on the sword's side which was its power. Lei-Kung performed the ritual which activated the sword, banishing the dragon to "some strange nether-realm."
    Cage had to stop the maddened "Iron Fist" from following Chiantang through the portal, but none of them realized that the strange realm to which Khan had banished the dragon was, in fact, Earth.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#122) - Chiantang, in his mortal form, easily overpowered Power Man, Iron Fist, and Misty Knight, taking the first two prisoner and chaining them up aboard a boat in the Manhattan waterfront. Misty joined with Colleen, recruiting the aid of policeman Tyrone King (secretly Master Khan), in searching for him. Posing as Power Man, Chiantang then appeared before the trio, but "Tyrone" recognized the deception first and put a bullet through Chiantang's head before he could fully transform into dragon form. Seeing that Chiantang was already healing, Colleen then used her samurai sword to sever his head to prevent his recovery.

(Black Panther III#38 (fb) - BTS) - Colleen head Chiantang's head incinerated, and she kept its ashes. The body was buried elsewhere.

(Black Panther III#38 (fb)) - Nightshade drugged Colleen Wing and stole the ashes of Chiantang's head, and she exhumed his body and brought it to an unspecified location in Chinatown. With the aid of a trio of men--"a pair of temple monks, a sanitation worker"--drugged to assist her, Nightshade combined the ashes with his exhumed body, applied "the right biochemical stimuli, a hit or two of radiation...eye of newt...", and Chiantang was re-formed. However, she had also encoded a "genetic bomb" into his cell structure that would destroy him unless she provided the antidote. She promised him the antidote if he completed a mission for her as part of her plot to gain vengeance for a recent defeat by the Black Panther. Swatting her aside, Chiantang told her there would be a slight change in plan.
    Switching to Dragon form, he prepared the means to overcome Nightshade's genetic bomb.

(Black Panther III#38 (fb) - BTS) - Chiantang imprisoned Nightshade, then took the form of the demon Mephisto.

(Black Panther III#40 (fb) - BTS) - Chiantang laid several giant eggs, intending to harvest the genetic material to save himself from Nightshade's genetic bomb.

(Black Panther III#30) - Posing as Mephisto, Chiantang confronted Everett Ross (of whom he had learned from Nightshade).

(Black Panther III#34 (fb) - BTS) - Chiantang swapped forms with Everett Ross, leaving him trapped as Mephisto

(Black Panther III#31) - "Ross," apparently in Washington D.C. to debrief his new boss, visited the home of his recently deceased former girlfriend, Niki Adams, where he encountered and taunted T'Challa.

(Black Panther III#32) - "Ross" appeared before T'Challa while he was imprisoned by Malice (Nakia), taunting him with the realization that he was not truly Ross before he vanished.

(Black Panther III#34) - Ross, in the form of Mephisto, awakened following Chiantang's mindswap, and saw what he had become. He hid out in his apartment, communicating with Peter Gyrich by phone, before seeking help at the Wakandan Embassy, but was sent away. He was similarly driven away from Avengers Mansion by its security devices--which identified him as Mephisto, and so he sought aid from Dr. Strange, leading to him being attacked by the Defenders.
    Meanwhile, Chiantang, in the form of Ross, spoke on a news station, and had been asked to consult on the Ryan vs. State case.

(Black Panther III#35) - Ross, in the form of Mephisto, took a lot of punishment--including temporary decapitation by the Valkyrie, and a beatdown from the savage Hulk--before convincing them to discuss things peacefully. Ross/"Mephisto"/Chiantang submitted to an inspection by Strange, who recognized that Mephisto's magical power was being somehow simulated. Strange recognized a connection to the energies possessed by Iron Fist, at which point Chiantang, in the form of Ross, showed up. Ross/"Mephisto" tried to convince the other to attack him as "Ross" was the real Mephisto; Strange recognized him as a pretender, but as he prepared to conjure an assault, Chiantang unleashed an energy blast (or just caused Strange's attack to backfire) that subdued

(Black Panther III#38) - Chiantang/"Ross" vanished, leaving Ross/"Mephisto" behind to face a renewed assault by the Defenders upon their revival. Dr. Strange halted the attack, but Chiantang's attack had had the desired effect, delaying Strange's exploration of Ross' condition until Yandroth's spell sensed danger in the world; the four original Defenders were then teleported away, while the other three then took off after them. Ross/"Mephisto" then went to the Wakandan Consulate, where he had Omoro lock him up until the Black Panther could get back and help him sort everything out.

(Black Panther III#38) - Learning of Ross' fate, the Black Panther tracked Chiantang/"Ross" to the Plaza hotel, where he insisted Chiantang reverse the spell. Though T'Challa knew who he really was, Chiantang taunted him with the fact that he couldn't kill him without killing Ross, too. After Chiantang refused to return the body until another day or two, T'Challa left him, but then gave the order which dropped bombs on Chiantang's eggs, destroying them. In addition, the Black Panther freed the badly dehydrated Nightshade from him, taking her and Ross/"Mephisto" to the N'Yami battle cruiser. Unable to challenge T'Challa in the form of Ross and unwilling to return to his poisoned body, Chiantang ambushed Iron Fist, taking control of his mind, restoring his "Iron Fist" power (which had been usurped by Junzo Muto), and sending him to attack T'Challa.

(Black Panther III#39) - Ross/"Mephisto" reverted to Chiantang's mortal form, then began to transform into his monstrous dragon form. While the Black Panther fought Iron Fist, Ross/dragon fled the N'Yami ship, only to be confronted by Chiantang/"Ross", who took back his form. Though badly injured in the process, T'Challa freed Iron Fist from Chiantang's control, only to be confronted by Chiantang himself, in full dragon form, rising from the waterfront.

(Black Panther III#40) - Chiantang rampaged through the New York waters, easily withstanding attacks by the US military, the N'Yami battle cruiser, the Black Panther, and Iron Fist. Unable to fight the dragon's power, T'Challa instead attempted to lead him away with offers of a cure to the genetic bomb plaguing him. However, Chiantang lunged forward and swallowed T'Challa whole, while at the same time Iron Fist learned from Nightshade that there was no cure (that she had merely been unable to complete restore the dragon's code, and knew it would cause fatal complications within a short time). Deciding to take vengeance on T'Challa's people, the Black Dragon flew to Wakanda, arriving in the middle of a conflict between the Jabari tribe and T'Challa's loyalists, attacking both sides. The N'Yami battle ship followed closely behind, and Iron Fist continued the attack on Chiantang, while the Black Panther tore his way out from the dragon's esophagus. Meanwhile, Taku, T'Challa's tech expert--having completed an analysis of Chiantang's genetic code while Ross was trapped in his form--temporarily halted the genetic destabilization and triggered Chiantang's reversion to human form. In that form, he was overpowered by the vengeful Wakandans.
    Chiantang was to be imprisoned while Wakandan geneticists sought a more permanent solution.

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Jim Owsley (Christopher Priest), Mark Bright, and Jerry Acerno.
    Black Dragon appearance, etc. drawn by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond.

    One of the Iron Fist series gave the impression that there had been a series of Iron Fists, which, to me, would imply that each faced Shou-Lao in succession. Perhaps they each did defeat him and take his power, but it was only Danny Rand who slew him? I don't know.

    In the flashback in Power Man and Iron Fist#119, Iron Fist is viewing and interacting with past events, and it is he who tells Chiantang of his niece's fate. It's unlikely that he was actually traveling back in time and told Chiantang, so it is not clear exactly who told him.

    I believe that Power Man and Iron Fist#119 is the point at which it was later revealed/ret-conned that the real Iron Fist had been abducted by the H'ylthri, and that it was a H'ylthri duplicate that was in the remaining issues, dying at the hands of Captain Hero (later ret-conned into having been the Super-Skrull).

    The exact descriptions of the men aiding Nightshade come from the script to that issue, courtesy of our old pal, Bob Almond, who inked the issue. The sanitation worker was described as "(in uniform, label on it reads "nyc sanitation" or some such.)"

    Regarding Black Panther III#31 +32 (per Bob Almond): Ross is Chiantang in those issues which is why he's not acting like 'goofy' Ross but instead like 'creepy' Ross.  Sal even inverted his pupils in those shots as an additional hint but if memory serves me that detail didn't show up well in the final version.

    Classic Hulk dialogue by Priest:
        "Talk, talk, talk. I say we smash red-man just in case. Then cook beans. Hulk loves beans. Red-man looks like beans. Makes Hulk hungry"

    Injuries at the hands of Iron Fist during the battle in Black Panther III#39 caused the Black Panther's aneurism, which caused him problems in the later issues. The new series gave him a case of "got better," though. That issue was also part of the no dialogue or caption " 'Nuff Said" month issues, though Priest did have a few people use diagrams or reading books to get around some things which required explanation.

    This character kicks ass, though it may just be Priest writing him.

Since he can shapeshift into other Dragon forms perhaps Black Dragon was one of the Black Dragons that Jimmy Jupiter ran into in Marvel Mystery Comics#35 (September, 1942). Perhaps like Asgard the Land of Nowhere has portals to other realms.
--Gammatotem

    Thanks to Donald Campbell for the following information (I've added everything that didn't conflict with previous information to the profile above):

From the "Mail to the King" letters page in BLACK PANTHER Vol. 3, No. 40, March, 2002.

"And now, here's message from our writer, Christopher Priest on the abridged history of Chiantang!"

THE HISTORY OF CHIANTANG

  There was once a fierce and deadly dragon named Chiantang.  He was brother to the Dragon King, the mightiest of all dragons.   The Dragon King's daughter was betrothed to a young dragon named Shao Lao.  Lao shamed the girl and left her heartbroken.  This drove Chiantang mad, and Chiantang went after Lao, who had taken refuge in a city called K'Un Lun.

  Chiantang destroyed K'Un Lun, ripping the beating heart from Shao Lao and putting it inside a cauldron of boiling blood, while imprisoning the heartless Lao nearby, cursing him to spend all eternity in this state, thus becoming Shao Lao The Undying.

  Master Khan, however, got ticked off that Chiantang destroyed K'Un Lun, and warned Chiantang to never do such a thing again.

  They all lived happily ever after.

  Centuries later, Daniel Rand slew Shao Lao as part of a ritual to attain the power of the Iron Fist.

  Chiantang found out that the curse he'd imposed on Lao had been mitigated by a mere mortal, and he went nuts, going after Rand (now Iron Fist), and seeking to destroy K'Un Lun again.

  This time, Master Khan stopped him in his tracks, warning Chiantang off.  Chiantang, in his rage, told Khan to get lost, and Khan put a whammy on Chiantang, reminding Chiantang who the Big Dog really is.

  Chiantang wasted away in prison for some years, until finally the Daughter of the Dragon King, his niece, decided she had to help him.  She pleaded with Khan, but Khan refused to listen to her.

  Finally, Khan was apparently killed, and the Daughter of the Dragon King saw this as her opportunity to free her beloved uncle.  She impersonated one of his guards and broke into prison to set Chiantang free.  An enraged Chiantang, furious about his humiliation and years of disgrace, vented his anger on the "guard" who‘d set him free.

  Yes, Chiantang killed the very girl he had been seeking to avenge.  This drove Chiantang completely insane (POWER MAN & IRON FIST #119), and he destroyed K'Un Lun a final time, before seeking vengeance against Iron Fist (Khan was, at that time, still dead).

  Currently, Chiantang despises Iron Fist and blames IF for his niece's death and his own dishonor.  He also despises Master Khan.

    The reason that I sent you that "History of Chiantang" excerpt was because of the single difference between it and the story that Lei Kung told Danny in PM&IF #119...namely, that Shou Lao ALWAYS WAS a dragon. Personally, I never liked the idea that Shou Lao had originally been a simple fisherman from K'un-Lun and I was pleased when Priest apparently decided to revise that origin.  After all, since he (as Jim Owsley) wrote that PM&IF story in the first place, who has more right to refine it?
    As for the fact that this revision conflicts with previous information, I think it's important to remember that the "flashback" in PM&IF #119 isn't an actual flashback (since that would require someone who was involved in those past events being present). Instead, the "flashback" is just how the entranced Danny visualized (hallucinated) the "tale of the Dragon King's daughter" that Lei Kung was telling him during his treatment for radiation poisoning.  To me, it seems quite possible that the people of K'un-Lun (including Lei Kung) have NEVER KNOWN that Shou Lao was actually a dragon who had assumed mortal form in order to hide amongst them from his vengeful in-laws.  After all, who would tell them? Shou Lao wouldn't have told them for fear that they might have turned him over to Chiantang. And neither Master Khan nor Chiantang care enough about "mortal fools" to tell them the truth about Shou Lao ("Oh, by the way, that fisherman Shou Lao was actually a dragon in human guise and I destroyed your city just to get to him.  Sorry about the mess and the slaughter.") The whole idea that the Dragon King's daughter had gone against her father's wishes by marrying a mortal could just be an assumption by the people of K'un-Lun who were unaware of Shou Lao's true nature.
    All in all, I feel that Priest's minor retcon of an origin story that he himself wrote should be respected. Also, I just like it more than the original version.
--Don Campbell
P.S. I just noticed that Priest repeatedly misspelt Shou Lao's name (as Shao Lao) throughout his abridged history of Chiantang. So maybe his revision of "Shao Lao's" origin is unintentional, the product of a faulty memory?

Black Dragon has an entry in OHotMU 2006 A-Z#2.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:

Chiantang's brother, the Dragon King, should be distinguished from:


images:
Power Man and Iron Fist#118, p16, panel 1 (human form, costumed)
        p22 (purple dragon form)
    #119, p18, panel 1 (leveling K'un Lun)
Black Panther III#38, p8, panel 6 (human form, unmasked)
        p10, panel 4 (green dragon form)


Power Man and Iron Fist#119 (September, 1985) - Jim Owsley (writer), Mark Bright (pencils), Jerry Acerno (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist#120 (November, 1985) - Jim Owsley (writer), Mark Bright (pencils), Jerry Acerno (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist#122 (March, 1986) - Jim Owsley (writer), Mark Bright (pencils), Jerry Acerno (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Black Panther III#30 (May, 2001) - Christopher Priest (formerly Owsley, writer), Norm Breyfogle (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Black Panther III#31-32 (June-July, 2001) - Christopher Priest (writer), Sal Velluto (pencils), Bob Almond (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Black Panther III#34-35 (September-October, 2001) - Christopher Priest (writer), Jim Calafiore (pencils), John Livesay (inks), Mike Marts (editor)
Black Panther III#38-40 (January-March, 2002) - Christopher Priest (writer), Sal Velluto (pencils), Bob Almond (inks), Mike Marts (editor)


Last updated: 03/31/05

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