February 18, 2018

Review: Black Panther: World of Wakanda

Black Panther: World of Wakanda Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a prequel to Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Black Panther, expanding the backstory of two ex-Dora Milaje, Ayo and Aneka. I was a bit iffy about Coates' first collected volume, A Nation Under Our Feet; Coates is a fine non-fiction writer, but he clearly had a lot to learn about writing fiction and writing comics.

Thankfully, Roxane Gay doesn't have this problem. The reader sees right away that she knows how to create characters and tell a story. The love story of Ayo and Aneka is interwoven with the larger politics of Wakanda, and while King T'Challa is pretty much absent here, he casts a huge shadow over the entire storyline. (The only reason I haven't rated this higher is that the story jumps around quite a bit timewise, and several important story beats depend on events taking place in other comics. Damn crossovers. I hate them.) We see some of the inner workings of the Dora Milaje, the female bodyguards and guardians of Wakandan royalty, and it's fascinating.

Ayo/Aneka comprise the first four issues of this collection. No. #5 is the backstory of Zenzi, another Coates villain. This little story is very short and a bit trite--it could have used some more fleshing out. Perhaps by getting rid of the odd and superfluous final issue, the tale of someone in New York called the White Tiger (a sort of anti-Black Panther? at least that's how he comes across). I didn't really know who Kevin "Kasper" Cole was, and cared for him even less.

Unfortunately, this entire series has been cancelled, so we won't be getting any more World of Wakanda. This is too bad. If Roxane Gay could've had the chance to continue, I think she might have turned out something really good.

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