Warning: The following contains spoilers for Black Panther #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
As the King of the African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa (aka the Black Panther) is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to protect his people. This has seen him recently begin to form intergalactic ambitions for his country, pushing them to new heights above almost all others in the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, with this ambition also comes the need to secure this newfound prosperity, something which T’Challa seems to have taken to a dangerous extreme.
Black Panther #1 (by John Ridley, Juann Cabal, Federico Blee, and VC’s Joe Sabino) reveals that T’Challa planted Wakandan sleeper agents around the world, priming them to engage in deadly defense for their country at the order of the king. He does so knowing that it would be morally unpopular with fellow heroes like the Avengers and even his sister, and unfortunately, their concerns are proven right.
The presence of Wakandan sleeper agents around the world is brought to Shuri’s attention following the death of T’Challa’s friend Jhai, one such operative. He and his girlfriend broke protocol when they continued to see each other, an act which was forbidden by T’Challa. Unfortunately, someone found out about the agents’ existence and hunted them down, resulting in Jhai’s death.
Shuri was convinced beforehand that Jhai and the other Wakandan agents had already died of other causes, with their rumored passing actually being a ruse for T’Challa to send them to other nations. The purpose of this black ops squad was to ensure that Wakanda had people in place across the globe to defend the nation should the need arise. Once Shuri discovers the existence of the operation, she vocally expresses extreme disapproval.
This amoral move on T’Challa’s part certainly paints him in a less than heroic light, especially given his other actions in the issue. As mentioned, he kept this news from his fellow Avengers, as well, as he obviously knew that they would disagree with using Wakandans in this capacity. The act alone is questionable enough, but the insidious way in which he committed it makes things even worse.
There’s also the fact that T’Challa is bothered by the newfound democracy of Wakanda’s government. He admits that he doesn’t like the fact that he has less say in how his people live their lives. He now sees his people as rebellious teenagers who have to be reigned in by a responsible adult.
Black Panther’s nobility has not kept him from coming off as taciturn, beguiling, and scheming in the past, but this has typically been toward those that would hurt his kingdom. His current actions make him more akin to a dictator who is willing to resort to violence to get his way, no matter who has to die for it to happen. It certainly sullies his usually heroic image, but it also shows what it takes to secure the utopia that is Wakanda.
KEEP READING: Marvel’s Black Panther Legends #1 Comic Review
from Ultimate Comic Blog