The Black Panther is in exile, but that doesn’t mean that his homeland stops cold. Your Major Spoilers review of Wakanda #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Stephanie Williams/Evan Narcisse
Artist: Paco Medina/Natacha Bustos
Colorist: Bryan Vallenza/Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 12, 2022
Previously in Wakanda: The Black Panther is no longer welcome in Wakanda! Who is this proud nation without its king? Shuri intends to prove that being without the Black Panther doesn’t mean Wakanda is without heroes to protect it.
And that there is a reason she too once wielded the power.
PARANOIS MAY MASK ITSELF AS PERFECTION
With T’Challa still missing after recent issues of Black Panther, his younger sister Shuri is obsessed with protecting her home city, trying to recreate biohybridized vibranium like the Marube tribe. It’s a question that has kept her from worrying about her brother, but also left her forgetting to eat or take care of herself, forcing Queen Ramonda to drag her from the lab to get something to eat. Their repast is interrupted when one of the new rhinos in their animal sanctuary turns out to be capital-R The Rhino, Spider-Man’s longtime foe. Shuri takes on the super-strong villain alone, trusting her instincts (and those of the animals) to make short work of the villain, reminding her of what she is capable of even without her big brother. The second tale is actually my favorite part of the issue, the first chapter of a unified history of the Black Panther, dating all the way back to the newly minted first Black Panther of 1,000,000 BC.
SHURI’S STILL GOT IT
This issue left me a bit confused, as the once (and future?) Black Panther called upon her knowledge of the animal kingdom in a way that is identical to the visuals used when Vixen literally channels animal powers. I can’t tell if she’s meant to be actually somehow accessing elephant strength or not, and while I like the story, it does bother me that I’m not clear on the language of the visuals. The fight itself is easier for her than for some costumed heroes who have faced Rhino in the past, which I suppose is fine, but also makes it seem less like a challenge than a ho-hum day. The art is lovely in both stories, with Medina’s expressive art making even a mother/daughter dinner date visually interesting, while Bustos manages to cover hundreds of thousands of years with clever layouts and some really interesting collage work.
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE A ONE-SHOT
The oddest part of Wakanda #1 is how much it feels like an issue of Marvel Premiere or one of the old-school anthology books and how, even with obvious sequel hooks, it feels like a one-shot, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. There must be more to this series, perhaps building to an in-universe tie-in to Black Panther 2, but I’m not sure that the continuation will be a must-buy for me based on this issue.
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This issue is kind of a mixed bag, with Shuri stepping up to deal with a threat, but never really explaining what is actually happening, followed up by some fun canon-welding.