Blackbeard is a middle-aged looking man with a massive build, a big mouth with several broken or missing teeth (though sometimes he does have a full set; whether this is an inconsistency error made by Oda or part of the story is unknown), a pronounced crooked nose and a very large and hairy chest and torso. Long, thick, curly black hair falls down the back of his neck, underneath a black bandana, and a small scruffy black beard (hence his epithet) grows around his jawline. As the series progresses, his beard becomes longer and scruffier. He is extremely tall, being exactly twice Luffy's (pre-timeskip) height.
At his first appearance in Mock Town, Teach wears an open buttoned white shirt with rolled up sleeves, green trousers with black line patterns, a yellow sash around his waist and classic black swashbuckler boots complete with large bronze buckles. During his raid on Banaro Island, he has added a large black and gold captain's coat over his attire, along with white beads on each wrist as bracelets and rings with gemstones on all of the fingers of both his hands (similar to his predecessor, Crocodile). At the Shichibukai meeting at the Marine Headquarters, he added a pair of necklaces of red as well as golden-yellow and blue beads to his dark orange sash and a traditional black tricorne hat over his grey bandana, as well as switching to a red shirt. He also has three flintlocks and a flask tied to his sash around his waist. In Volume 63 SBS Oda drew the Shichibukai as children. Teach is shown wearing a baseball cap with a rolled up long sleeve shirt and dark shorts. He is also wearing black curled tip shoes, and unlike his usual cheerful expression, is crying for an unknown reason.
Blackbeard aspires to become the Pirate King. In order to do this, he wanted the Yami Yami no Mi. At no older than 16, he joined the Whitebeard Pirates many years ago to search for it, thinking that he would have the best chance of obtaining it that way. He would then serve under Whitebeard for at least 20 years before his betrayal. 22 years ago, after Shiki escaped Impel Down, Blackbeard at age 18 was present amongst Marco, Jozu, Vista, Blenheim and Haruta while the Flying Pirate spoke to Whitebeard about his plan. More than two years before the current storyline, Blackbeard and Shanks fought in a battle. During the battle, Blackbeard gave Shanks the three scars by his eyes. Blackbeard eventually became a member of the second division and encouraged Ace to seek the commander position, refusing it himself.
One day, Thatch, commander of the Whitebeard Pirates' fourth division, found a Devil Fruit. Recognizing it as the Yami Yami no Mi, the very reason he joined the Whitebeard Pirates for, Blackbeard killed Thatch to get the fruit and fled. For killing a comrade and betraying his "father", Second Division Commander Portgas D. Ace went after Blackbeard to kill him, despite Whitebeard's reluctance to send Ace to his possible doom. The time Ace began to chase Blackbeard was around some time after Luffy left Arlong Park since in a flashback, Ace was showing Whitebeard Luffy's first bounty and being proud of it. By this point, however, Blackbeard had already gained a crew and began open acts of piracy.
Blackbeard then assembled the Blackbeard Pirates, composed of Laffitte, a former policeman from the West Blue and the crew's navigator, Van Augur the sniper, Jesus Burgess the helmsman, Doc Q the doctor, and Stronger, Doc Q's horse. Some time after, his pirate crew pillaged the Drum Kingdom, causing its king, Wapol, to flee and ironically liberating Drum Kingdom from Wapol's tyranny.
After Luffy defeated Crocodile in Alabasta, Laffitte nominated Blackbeard to become one of the Shichibukai to take Crocodile's place, but the World Government declined, as Blackbeard did not have a reputation. In a bar Luffy and a fat guy (who is later revealed to be Blackbeard) sitting next to him both suddenly make a remark about the cherry pie being served to them. Noticing that both their remarks oppose one another, Luffy and the fat guy decide to not mind each other and just drink some soda. At drinking the soda, they both once again make opposing remarks. Really noticing each other this time around,both of them are starting to get mad at the other's preference. The two then decide to have some food for take out, with Luffy ordering pieces of meat and Teach ordering cherry pies. However upon learning the number of food that the other is ordering, the two start competing about who can order more. At this moment, Luffy and Blackbeard decide to fight each other over the meaningless argument. Not wanting any trouble in his tavern, Terry gives Teach his pies and requests his leaving. As Blackbeard is leaving the tavern, Bellamy enters much to the other customers' surprise.
Teach encourages Luffy by telling him that "the dreams of men will never die".
After the Straw Hats have taken a beating by Bellamy, Nami hears someone saying that Skypiea exists. It is the same man (Blackbeard) that they met in the bar earlier. He asks why Nami is sad since there is nothing to be sad about; that Luffy and Zoro won this fight. Blackbeard says that the "new age" they talk of is crap, and hollers that the age in which pirates dream will never end; that peoples' dreams are infinite. While he goes on with his speech, everyone wonders what he is yelling so loudly for. The man says that some battles are pointless, and laughs. Zoro starts to leave, and Luffy stares at the man. He also leaves, and wishes them good luck on their trip to the Sky Island. Blackbeard then laughs, saying that his rum tastes good today.
After learning his identity, Blackbeard plans to capture Luffy, who has a 100,000,000 bounty on his head and Zoro who has a 60,000,000 bounty. Before that however, he gave Luffy a friendly speech about how pirates will never stop dreaming, after Luffy was been ridiculed by the Bellamy Pirates for being a "dreamer". He tries to capture Luffy and Zoro, but his raft-esque ship is destroyed when the Knock Up Stream shoots the Straw Hats into the sky.
Blackbeard and his crew are seen again on Banaro Island. Having killed, knocked out or chased away all the inhabitants, Blackbeard reads from a newspaper about the Enies Lobby incident, and remarks that Luffy's bounty will surely rise. Before they can leave to chase him, however, Ace appears and challenges them. Blackbeard calls him commander, but Ace tells him to save it. Blackbeard continues to act friendly, saying it has been a long time since they have seen each other, but Ace reminds him that he killed one of his comrades, and doing so is unforgivable. Blackbeard then offers Ace to join his crew, saying they would be invincible if he joined. He then goes on to say that the reign of Whitebeard will soon end, and their first step is Monkey D Luffy. He suggests Ace coming with him to kill Luffy (as he is still in Water 7 at the time), but Ace says that Luffy is his brother, and outright refuses to join his crew.
Van Augur attemps to shoot Ace who retaliates with Higan and shoots fire bullets rapidly at Van Augur, while Jesus Burgess tosses an entire house at Ace, though it is easily burned by a Fire Pillar. Blackbeard yells at Augur and Burgess, telling them Ace is way out of their league, and that they should fall back. But suddenly, Ace uses Hiken to burn Blackbeard to a crisp. Blackbeard manages to survive the attack and gets up. He admits that he killed Thatch, Captain of Whitebeard's 4th Division, as he had the Devil Fruit he had been searching for. He had researched the size and shape of the fruit, and recognized it, knowing it was the one. He reveals that he spent decades on Whitebeard's ship, because he knew he had a better chance of finding it there. He waited there for too long until it finally came to him in his commander's hands. He said that getting the Devil Fruit was his fate, and with it, he will be the greatest. His hand begins to dissolve into darkness, as he said that even for a Logia, this fruit is very special. His whole body begins to radiate in a black glow, as he says that he is "darkness".
Ace questions Teach's devil fruit abilities, but Teach states that his fruit, the Yami Yami no Mi, is said to be the strongest of the devil fruits, and that Ace cannot kill him. Meanwhile, the townspeople see black smoke in the town, and note that the pirates are still present, so they should run. The rest of the Blackbeard Pirates are fleeing, saying that Teach is about to go wild. Blackbeard sends tendrils of darkness in every direction, enveloping the buildings and scaring the escaping townspeople. Some citizens say that the smoke reminds them of a hole in the ground, but they continue through the forest and out to the coast. Teach explains that his darkness is infinite gravitation that sucks everything in, including light. Ace comments that the darkness is not approaching him, but Teach states that he is not attacking yet, but he is merely demonstrating. Suddenly, Teach activates his "Black Hole" and sucks all of the town's contents, including its buildings, into his darkness, making it disappear. Teach states that the darkness will draw in any object and crush it, and proceeds to tell Ace that he will show him the town in its ruined form. Teach then uses "Liberation" to send the ruined pieces of the town flying out into a ring around Ace and Teach. The civilians are stunned by the destruction of their town, but Teach simply brags about his ability.
However, he realizes too late the small points of flame from Ace's "Hotarubi" which explode, coating him in flame. While Teach rolls around in pain, Ace states that he understands the power of the Yami Yami no Mi, but says that if Teach was a logia, he should have been able to avoid his attack. The darkness quickly absorbs the flame, and Teach stands, saying that his fruit can suck in everything, including punches, thunder, flame, and especially pain, meaning he cannot fend off attacks like other Logia. Disregarding this flaw, Teach states there is one more thing he can do, and proceeds to drag Ace towards him with gravitation. Seizing Ace's shoulder, Teach states that Ace must have noticed the ability, and punches Ace hard in the stomach.
Ace is sent flying as Teach comments on how long it must have been since Ace was last punched. Teach explains that he can suck in the "devil's power" so that while he is touching a devil fruit user, they cannot use their powers. Teach states that he has gained a power that cannot be defended against for devil fruit users that overrate their abilities, to which Ace replies that is only if he is caught. Teach states that Ace cannot escape, and drags him forward with his gravity again. Ace launches two flaming spears that pierce and burn Teach's chest, but Teach lands a powerful punch that nearly breaks Ace's neck. Crossing his fingers, Ace fires a flaming cross, but Blackbeard merely grins. As explosions sounds out, Van Augur comments that he had thought that a Devil Fruit user would be weak and powerless without his ability, but that Ace's basic fighting power is amazing and had earned him a spot as Whitebeard's division commander, which is another one of fate's crossroads. The civilians watch as their island is destroyed and Banana Rock falls, stating that no human could do this damage and that their entire island is at risk.
Blackbeard's crushing darkness and Ace's burning flames collide.
Ace falls as Blackbeard states that nothing stands a chance in front of darkness, and offers Ace another opportunity to join his crew, as it would be a waste of his strength if he was lost. Ace refuses, saying that if he gives in, there will be no point in living. Teach laughs, saying that survival is what matters in the world, as Ace gathers fire around him before forming it into a large flaming orb. Teach states that only one of them can win, as Ace states his desire to make Whitebeard the king. Their attacks collide with no shown result, the only hint being Ace's trademark hat lying on the ground. This incident is described as the trigger for a later event coming soon.
When Whitebeard War, Blackbeard and Luffy meet again. He answered to the call of Shichibukai to battle Whitebeard and was joining the war, and is later shown dining with the other Shichibukai, except for Jinbe and Boa Hancock. However, he has instead taken his entire crew to Impel Down and commenced an attack on the jailers. He excuses himself by stating that he is on "their" side. On his way through Level 1, the Crimson Hell, he encounters Shiliew, whom Blackbeard initially misidentifies as Magellan. He later inexplicably arrives at Level 4, where he and his crew take down both the Bazooka Unit and Hannyabal. Jinbe shows anger towards Blackbeard, while Luffy realizes that the man at Jaya who had told him to never stop dreaming is the same one responsible for his brother's imprisonment. Blackbeard taunts Luffy about Ace's oncoming execution, provoking his wrath.
Blackbeard knocked back by Luffy. Though Blackbeard tells Luffy to praise his good luck (as Blackbeard would surely have killed Luffy instead of just defeating Ace, had Ace let Blackbeard off the hook), Luffy angrily attacks the Shichibukai in Gear Second with Gomu Gomu no Jet Pistol. The two have a small skirmish, and though it is stopped by Jinbe who tells Luffy not to waste time fighting Blackbeard now as he has to save Ace, Blackbeard notes Luffy's Haki has improved and admits he had underestimated Luffy's strength. When Magellan shows up, Blackbeard lets Luffy and the rest proceed to Level 3. Blackbeard even receives a comment from Jinbe that his assault on the Great Gaol proved instrumental for the breakout, to which Blackbeard then replied that he is also grateful for them, since a panic within Impel Down prior to him and his crew's arrival was exactly what they needed, right before stating that his crew and him will "shake the whole world to its core". However, Magellan quickly captures and poisons the entirety of the Blackbeard Pirates with his Hydra. Blackbeard stated that the pain was unbearable and screamed, as Magellan walked past them to pursue Luffy.
Blackbeard and his crew survived from Magellan's poison by receiving an antidote from Shiliew. Blackbeard then comments that Shiliew would make a fine addition to his crew and invites him to join his crew again. Shiliew accepted, and states that he has been waiting for a man with such stature. After recruiting Shiliew, Teach makes his way down to Level 6, where upon he invites anyone with the will to be free again to join his crew. However, there was one catch: the prisoners in their cells would have to kill each other in order to prove their strength to him, with only the sole survivors of each cage being allowed their freedom. It is unknown just how many prisoners died as the result, but Blackbeard got four more recruits: Sanjuan Wolf, Avalo Pizarro, Vasco Shot and Catarina Devon. With that, the newly reinforced Blackbeard Pirates left the prison and headed for Marineford, either not knowing or not caring that some other Level 6 prisoners survived and slipped out of prison.
Blackbeard later appeared at Marineford, having snuck in to see his former captain's death. He is seen with the new recruits from Impel Down. Blackbeard then tells Sengoku that the sole reason that he obtained the title of Shichibukai was to gain the means to break into Impel Down and gloats that he does not need that title anymore.
Acting as the vanguard of their attack, Blackbeard initiates his crew's assault by using his Devil Fruit powers to increase the gravity upon the ground from which Whitebeard stood, binding him in place, and then used Kurouzu to pull Whitebeard into his grasp to nullify the latter's Gura Gura no Mi powers. Unfortunately for Blackbeard, this did not completely deter the Yonko, who struck Teach down using his bisento, sending him to the ground. Whitebeard then proceeds to reprimand him that overconfidence and rashness are his weaknesses and continues by placing a strong grip around Teach's neck and sends a powerful shock wave bubble at point-blank range upon his head, once again sending a massive tremor throughout Marineford.
The Blackbeard Pirates ganging up and mercilessly attacking Whitebeard.
Having lost his composure, Blackbeard orders his men to fire everything they got upon his former superior. Despite this, Whitebeard held his ground with his final words being that Blackbeard is not the one whom Roger is awaiting. It was then that Blackbeard realized that Whitebeard died while still standing, much to his shock.
Despite this shock, Blackbeard and his crew quickly covered Whitebeard's body with a black cloth of sorts, which Blackbeard entered as well for a short time. After that, he emerged from the cloth, before showing off not only the power of the Yami Yami no Mi, but also the Gura Gura no Mi, as he inexplicably managed to extract that power from Whitebeard's body. With a mighty laugh, Blackbeard proclaimed to everyone present and everyone watching these events, that from that moment on, this was his era.
Overconfident with his newfound powers, he began to wonder if sinking down Marineford would have been a good start, only to be promptly sent flying, along with the rest of his crew, by an enormous shock wave delivered by Sengoku in his Buddha form. The fleet admiral warned him about his cockiness, and Teach replied that he was looking forward to see Sengoku protecting Marineford, prepared to continue the fight. In the anime, their fight is extended with his shockwaves and Blackbeard's quake punch tearing apart Marineford. Sengoku knocked Teach back with another shockwave, but he retaliates by tilting the island just as Whitebeard had done. He gets warned by his crew mates to not destroy the ground they are standing on. Blackbeard admits he is having some difficulty controlling the newfound power. Jesus Burgess jumps into the fight to assist, but is knocked back by the intervention of Garp. Blackbeard taunts Sengoku and Garp, stating he will end their age just like he ended Whitebeard's. He seemed to have been somewhat shocked by Coby's speech, and - upon Shanks's arrival - ultimately decides to leave Marineford, stating that he will fight the Red Hair Pirates another day.
Blackbeard makes his move in the New World, taking out Jewelry Bonney in the process. The crew is seen bickering amongst each other. The Blackbeard Pirates' raft was brought close to the point of destruction due to Sanjuan Wolf's size, and they seemingly got in contact with the Marines to trade Bonney for a battleship. Teach says Bonney is too weak to survive in the New World. He offers her the chance to be his woman and let her stay, but she turns him down, kicking him in the head (due to only her hands being tied up). Van Augur alerts Teach that the battleship has arrived, but not for trade because Akainu is on board. Knowing that the deal will not happen, the Blackbeard Pirates flee, leaving Bonney and her crew behind to be arrested. Sometime during the two-year timeskip, Blackbeard used his knowledge of Whitebeard's former territory to conquer it and become one of the Yonko. The Blackbeard Pirates are currently in the process of hunting down powerful Devil Fruit users in order to absorb their abilities.