Black Panther fans – or more accurately, fans of T’Challa’s supporting cast – Wakanda looks like one to add to your pull list before its October 12th, 2022 release. With its first issue featuring the creative team of writer Stephanie Williams (Nubia and the Amazons; Parenthood Activate) and Paco Medina (Avengers; Fantastic Four), the five-issue Wakanda title will be an anthology-style collection of stories by “a wide range of creators” about life in the titular, fictional African nation following the exile of Black Panther himself, king T’Challa, in recent issues of the John Ridley-penned Black Panther ongoing title. Instead, these stories will spotlight secondary characters like T’Challa’s sister Shuri and his nemesis/occasional frenemy Killmonger.
Plus, each issue of Wakanda will feature a “History of the Black Panthers” backup story by writer Evan Narcisse (who first wrote T’Challa’s adventures in the 2018 Rise of the Black Panther miniseries with co-writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Paul Renaud) and artist Natacha Bustos (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; Runaways).
Here’s what the press release tells us:
“New York, NY— July 6, 2022 — This October, acclaimed writers and artists throughout the comic book industry will come together to highlight the rich tapestry of the Black Panther’s homeland like never before in WAKANDA, a brand-new limited series! Spinning out of recent events in John Ridley’s epic run on BLACK PANTHER, T’Challa is no longer welcome in the land he once ruled. Who is this proud nation without its king? This exciting new miniseries answers that question and more as each issue spotlights a different fan-favorite Wakandan character as they rise up to protect their great nation in exciting new stories by a wide range of creators.
“In WAKANDA #1, writer Stephanie Williams and artist Paco Medina will start things off with an in-depth tale about T’Challa’s genius younger sister and former Black Panther, Shuri. Shuri proves 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.
“‘I’ve been such a huge fan of the Black Panther over the years, especially the evolution and expansion of the women of Wakanda. It’s truly an honor to kick off the new series with the Shuri story I wrote. I hope I can add to her and Wakanda’s already impressive lore.’
“Each issue of WAKANDA will also contain a “History of the Black Panthers” backup story by writer Evan Narcisse and artist Natacha Bustos, providing for the first time anywhere a definitive overview of all the Wakandans who have held the mantle of the Black Panther!
“‘I’ve been a fan of the charm and scale of Natacha Bustos’ work for a long time and am thrilled to collaborate with her on a new look at Wakanda’s history,” Narcisse said. “The tale we’re telling will give readers a deeper look at how the Black Panthers of the past led the Unconquered Realm to glory and left a wondrous legacy that Emperor T’Challa still embodies.”
“Stay tuned for story details and creative teams for future issues of WAKANDA and witness a grand expansion of the Wakandan mythos this October! For more information, visit Marvel.com.”
If I may speculate for a moment, it looks like Wakanda may be yet another attempt by Marvel to build synergy between its “616” comics universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (not a value judgement; we’ve gotten some great comics out of this practice). After all, following the tragic passing of titular Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman in 2020, the upcoming sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will show MCU fans a Wakanda without T’Challa. It makes sense that Marvel would want to build interest in the other characters in Black Panther’s orbit.
In any event, Marvel fans can visit Wakanda for themselves when the first issue is released on October 12th, 2022.