The fourth Marvel’s Voices anthology issue celebrating Black History Month has arrived: Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1! This week, the Marvel Rundown features a roundtable about the stories in this exciting anthology.

What did you think of Wakanda Forever #1, or the other fresh Marvel Comics issues released this week? The Beat is waiting to hear from you! Give us a shout out, right here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat.

Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1

Letterer: Joe Sabino
Main cover by: Ken Lashley & Juan Fernandez

Introduction by Frederick Joseph

AVERY KAPLAN: Do we have any thoughts on the introduction?

GEORGE CARMONA 3RD: It has that literary gravitas you would want for a Marvel Voices, especially dealing with Panther and Wakanda.

REBECCA OLIVER KAPLAN: I can’t rationally comment on the introduction. I’m still too angry about the LGBTQIA rep in Wakanda Forever. Too much gravitas for a movie that didn’t seem to resonate with people in the same way

AJK: First of all, I want to say I like the way the Marvel’s Voices books have these introductions. They’re a good opportunity to get some really interesting commentary about Marvel Comics by people who you might not otherwise see considering them so directly. In terms of Joseph’s introduction for this book, I thought it was helpful to have a meditation on the idea of Wakanda, and to help explain why this M’sV Black History Month entry had a different name than the four that preceded it.

ROK: The history was helpful. I don’t think people remember that was the book’s beginning.

“The Old Ways” by Karama Horne and Alitha E. Martinez, with Rachelle Rosenberg

What did we think of this story?

ROK: The way it addressed Storm and T’Challa’s past relationship was interesting. I relate with the pressures of having to marry within your own culture. It’s very common in Jewish communities to be told that you need to ensure “The Chosen People” don’t die. Don’t die as a community.

GC3: Love Alitha’s art, fan for a while. and how Karama uses her recent experience of writing the Protectors of Wakanda to delve into the history of the Panthers to talk about that lineage and T’Challa struggles with that.

AJK: I really liked the internal tension of this story, which begins right from the first panel: the title, “The Old Ways,” contrasts mightily with T’Challa’s space cruiser, and the view of Jupiter in the middle distance.

ROK: Also a big fan of Alitha. It drives me nuts how unrealistically BP is drawn, but I think that has more to do with standardizing the character design. There are always more muscles than is possible in a human male.

Wakanda Forever
Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

What were your thoughts on the Ancestral Black Panthers?

ROK: I liked that there was a woman! Admittedly I’m not familiar enough with the history to know the background there.

AJK: Several women!

GC3: There are few Women that were Panthers. I’m a big fan of being able to learn from history. Having the ability to talk to your ancestors is a power I wish I had.

ROK: I like the addition of the comics history, but I will Marvel Unlimited to go search out those comics with the woman Panthers.

AJK: I liked the way Nehanda kind of sprung a trial on him, too. It felt very “Black Panther.”

GC3: The Avengers B.C. team has a woman Panther at some point.

ROK: OOOOHHHHH that’s why that panel was there.

Marvel’s Voices Highlight: Artist Alitha E. Martinez by Angélique Roché

Any reactions to this interview?

ROK: YES. I love the stuff about Alitha’s background. I didn’t know that, and it’s so relevant to today. And the thing about having to give up your name! My stepfather’s family was forced to change their name when they came to America.

GC3: If you ever get a chance to see her on a panel do it. As us old folks say, she’s a pistol.

AJK: The Marvel’s Voices books regularly feature interviews, often conducted by Roché (who is a reliably excellent interviewer). However, I really appreciated that this piece was culled from multiple different interview conversations. I think this leads to some especially interesting answers, and know from my experience that interviewing a creator on multiple occasions can result in some much more interesting answers than you might get from, say, your first email interview with them.

Second, I just want to say how fascinating, heartbreaking, and inspiring I find Martinez’s origin story to be. There’s a lot of interesting insight here about what it took for her to break into comics (including a “false start” at the School of Visuals Arts, which she had to leave because it was an unwelcoming Boy’s Club). And I enjoyed the questions regarding Martinez’s contributions to World of Wakanda with Roxane Gay. This is one of my favorite Marvel Comics ever, and I hope that the romance at its heart is the focus of the upcoming Disney+ series of the same name.

Finally, I found the answer Martinez gave regarding mentorship – which includes the responsibility of continuing to exist in the comics space so as to push back against the ongoing conversation of “what women can and cannot do” – to be particularly inspiring.

ROK: I needed that message today. I messaged Beat Editor in Chief Heidi McDonald about why I keep going when no one appreciates the good comics journalism that is coming from marginalized communities. 

GC3: I wish there was more on her early days in the business.

ROK: I really needed to hear how people keep going despite institutional barriers and negative reactions from the Boy’s Club.

GC3: And this is where you should catch her live. Her enthusiasm for not taking $hit, is awesome.

ROK: I always find the interviews to be highlights of the issue. Marvel’s Voices is one of the few places where Janice Chiang is given her view. I think Roche goes out of her way to highlight people who are good at not taking shit.

“The Education of Changamire” by Adam Serwer and Todd Harris, with Jordie Bellaire

What did we think of this story?

ROK: I really liked the second story. I think it’s an important message to not judge what you don’t know. But also the discussion about imperialism.

GC3: I really appreciated the theme of how Wakanda was a “silent” witness to history on the continent and the rest of the world.

AJK: This story heavily reminded me of the 2016 Black Panther run (which was very obviously the intention, with dialogue even alluding to the name of the run: “A Nation Under Our Feet”). I thought it was interesting to see Wakanda during the 1930s, the character Iyoba was fascinating. 

GC3: Something that has always bothered me from the first movie when people say that Kilmonger was right when it was really Nakia who had a plan. That didn’t involve burning the world down.

AJK: That’s a really good point… but I like the implication from the Wakanda Forever mid-credits scene that her voice will be in the ear of the (probable) next next Black Panther.

ROK: Yeah, I read a really interesting story on the politics of translation, the taking away of tribal languages, and its impact on Imperialism.  I kept thinking about that.

Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

What did you think of this story’s ending?

ROK: Power to the people.

AJK: I thought the final panel was very affecting.

ROK: I feel like the US needs more of the energy right now.

GC3: On an artistic note Harris’s Panther design was funky, with the intricate helmet lines.

ROK: Woven material is often really meaningful though.

“Remember the Name” by Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande, with Dee Cunniffe

What did we think of this story?

GC3: I love a flash forward story and this one has some interesting aspects like it’s Shuri saving the day. 

ROK: I enjoyed the panel layout in “Remember the Name.” It moved the reader through the story in an interesting way. Also it gave me Worf vibes.

AJK: Perhaps today is a good day to die…

Marvel's Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.
Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

Did you find this story hopeful in tone?

ROK: I found it hopeful in terms of the importance of language. She defines who she is. She gives a name to herself.

GC3: Hopeful no, amped yes. I really hope they can stick the landing on this plot thread.

AJK: I think I found it more defiant than hopeful, but I think in some cases, defiance is the first step towards accomplishing something you couldn’t do otherwise. So I guess I found it hopeful in that sense!

ROK: I think it’s hard to say “this is my name.” Maybe it’s a good role model story.

GC3: Names have power.

ROK: Interesting to include Alitha’s background in regards to that. I think it provides context about why this story is important.

“The Illusion of Fairness” by Dr. Sheena C. Howard and Marcus Williams

What did we think of this story?

ROK: It was interesting to learn about the tattoos as a right of passage.

AJK: Hooray for the Dora Milaje! As I mentioned, World of Wakanda is one of my favorite Marvel Comics, so I’m glad to see a story about this guard here. I also very much enjoyed the Anansi parable, and the way that it was illustrated into the text.

ROK: The Shuri YA books go into the Dora a lot. I highly recommend them to anyone. I love Anansi references.

Wakanda Forever
Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

Were you familiar with Anansi before this story?

ROK: Mostly from American Gods. I get bored of Marvel art, so I really enjoyed how unique this story’s art style was.

GC3: One of the best interpretations was the monologue in the first season of American Gods. And yes Williams is another cat whose art is something special. Been a fan of his co-created Tuskegee Heirs book and this is just an extension of his anime influenced style.

ROK: Is that where the eyes came from?

AJK: I think I was also introduced to Anansi by American Gods.

GC3: Also a nice Static Shock episode where he meets Anansi and if you want some independent comics Is’nana the Were-Spider is a great dive into the lore.

ROK: That rules. I need to check that out. We’ve been meaning to watch the series now that it’s on HBO. Practical question: do the dora constantly have to shave their heads, then? What happens when you get kicked out of the Dora?

GC3: I think those questions get answered in Horne’s Protectors of Wakanda.

“The Last Black Panther” by Juni Ba with Chris O’Halloran

What did we think of this story?

ROK: I think what I said about having a unique art style for marvel applies here too. I love the use of the falling panels to indicate the destruction of the city.

GC3: I’ve been sleeping on this brother, I know Ba’s got a bunch of stuff taking space on my Ipad but his style and the flow of the story have moved him up the list of weekend reading.

AJK: Just like any time I see art by Ba, I am still thinking about the style and aesthetics. He really makes you think about the images in a different way. I also liked the symbolism of doing everything possible for the next generation… but then letting the next generation take the next steps themselves.

Wakanda Forever
Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1.

Did anyone read Monkey Meat?

ROK: I need to finish Monkey Meat. It was a big hit at our LCS.

AJK: Yes. I am really going to recommend Monkey Meat. I think it may be collected in a trade by now, even! And there’s another volume on the way.

ROK: What and he’s doing TMNT now?


GC3: The panel layouts, the quirky Panther design, all of it. Monkey Meat and Djellya are in the queue.

AJK: It’s hard for me to remember he’s a relative newcomer because he’s one of those creators whose voice is just so well defined from the jump.

Exploring Wakanda with Evan Narcisse by Robyn Belt

Any reactions to this interview?

AJK: I wasn’t sure how interested I’d be in this interview given that I haven’t had the chance to check out the Marvel Black Panther Atlas from DK Books. However, I was quickly taken in by Narcisse’s ideas about Wakanda, and the approach he took while expanding material from the comics for the book. 

Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever #1

What are your final thoughts on this anthology?

ROK: I would have liked to see all Black creatives. There are talented colorists that Marvel could have used.

GC3: My takeaway was that they opened the talent pool up some more, reaching out to independent folks for their take on Wakanda.

ROK: Also everyone should check out the Infinity Comics.

AJK: What do you think of the Marvel’s Voices titles in general? Are you hoping we’ll get the fifth entry celebrating Black History Month in February 2024?

ROK: I love the additional Marvel’s Voices stuff on Marvel Unlimited. Some fabulous creators on those titles. Some of the best Marvel has to offer, IMO. I bet we’ll see a Ba story there eventually. I would love to see the line continue with more independent folks.

GC3: The bitter side of me recognizes the money grab it is for Marvel but the hopeful kid inside loves that these folks are getting bigger exposure and name recognition for their skills. I love seeing the spotlight shine on deserving talented people.

ROK: I am very pro anthology. On the non anthology side, I’m excited for the June Black Panther debut by Eve Ewing and Stormbreaker Christopher Allen. I wrote about some of the previously Marvel’s Voices anthologies for PanelxPanel.

GC3: Yes she is killing it on Photon.

Next week, the captain comes home in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1! Don’t miss it, True Believers!