By Any Means Necessary: Reviewing ‘Wakanda’ #5

by Scott Redmond


The final issue of ‘Wakanda’ wraps up the journey into the various characters and past of the country, giving some good development and tidbits. Further exploration of the history just teased here would be fantastic, but the miniseries served its purpose and served it well overall.


No matter what the exclamation might state, Wakanda is not always forever. Especially when talking about the anthology miniseries by that name. The end has been reached for this short view into a variety of Wakandan adjacent characters by turning its eyes towards Dora Milaje General Okoye.

While this anthology miniseries has mostly been separated in regard to what the stories cover — including a trip into space and one into the past — there has been a bit of a thread that moved through at least three of the main stories. This was attacks on Wakanda by some villains spurred by Ohyaku, a former foe of Shuri when she held the mantle of Black Panther. We get a sort of wrap-up to that, but it’s also more of a personal story for Okoye as her niece is working to get into the Dora Milaje and part of the tension of the issue comes from her trying to take on Ohyaku and being severely injured.

Overall, this story by Brandon Thomas, Jose Luis, Keith Champagne, Andrew Dalhouse, and Joe Sabino is pretty interesting and character-development-rich. Okoye is one of those characters that has taken massive leaps and bounds in recent years, helped in part by her big screen depiction (as played by Danai Gurira). Getting to spend more time with the character — as she and much of the rest of the Wakandan supporting cast have little role in the current (about to end) Black Panther series — Thomas taps into the same intensity and dedication that we have seen from the character in various spaces, showing how much she cares and how far she’s willing to go in order to protect Wakanda at all times.

Luis has a style that captures so much and gives it a great life, offering a deep level of detail and emotion at all times. It has solid movement, as the action flows through the various panels, set up in a way that allows the eyes to move through the pages easily to follow the characters. With Champagne’s inks and Dalhouse’s colors added in there is weight to this world, giving it that harder but still soft feeling it needs for this story. Dalhouse’s color choices are more muted and full of shadows, as this is a heavier subject story, but full of bright vivid pop around the more sci-fi or fantastical elements and for dire things such as the later, bloody scenes.

It puts a cap on a mostly interesting if not hit-and-miss miniseries. That’s not to say the stories were lacking, missing intrigue, or failed to give us good views of the characters. Actually, I think they were good but were too long in many cases. I’ve stated before, and will again now, that I believe the backups that are focused on the history of the Black Panther lineage and therefore the history of Wakanda would have made far better lead stories. There is so much that could have been mined there through the narration/storytelling of Queen Ramonda, and would have allowed some of the other stories to not worry about filling so much space and breathe a bit easier.

When I think of Wakanda, I do think of the variety of individual characters that are from there and have popped up over the years, but a series exploring the singular (including all the messy bits that come with nation-building) history of the country as a whole could have been so interesting. That being said, had these tight backup stories been padded out longer there is every chance I might have spent these reviews asking for the opposite.

Speaking of those backup stories, the final one from Evan Narcisse, Natacha Bustos, and Jordie Bellaire is much swifter than the rest, but still just a really solid piece. Because it’s the final one, and they only had two pages, there is a “fast-forwarding” of quick name-dropping to acknowledge other Black Panthers we won’t get to explore in this way. Bustos packs so much into those pages and gives every brief flash of a Panther such detailed and enticing life, as Bellaire’s colors shift around the spectrum and give a different life to each moment finding a sort of neutral space that isn’t too toned down or too vivid.

Joe Sabino tackles the lettering for both stories again, making sure to bring all that usual flair to the various types of letters on the page. Capturing the tone/volume and emotion no matter if through dialogue that has lots of changes applied to reach the right levels or captions that help regale us with character thoughts or storytelling.

Wakanda #5 is now available from Marvel Comics.

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