The Warriors of Wakanda

by: Shenandoah LaRock

I consider myself a Marvel fan since I saw the first X-Men movie and I fell in love with Storm. In honor of Black History Month, I did some research about black superheroes in the Marvel Universe. As I thought about the subject, I realized that I didn’t know many black and/or African American superheroes. I had heard of Misty Knight, Luke Cage, and obviously Black Panther; but were there more black women in Marvel aside from Storm and Misty Knight? With that question in mind, I took to the Internet.

I discovered the best Marvel comic you’ve probably never heard of, but wished you would have. In 2016, Marvel launched a spin-off comic series of Black Panther entitled Black Panther: World of Wakanda. From the creative minds of Roxanne Gay [author of An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and more] and Yona Harvey [author of Hemming the Water] comes the story about two warriors, who also just happen to be lovers. Ayo and Aneka are members of the Dora Milaje [pronounced dora-meh-la-shay]. They are royal bodyguards trained to protect the monarch of Wakanda at all costs. In an interview with DIVA magazine, Roxanne Gay states, “The lack of representation in comics, for people of colour and queer people — really anyone who is different — has long been an issue.” Sadly, the series was cancelled after a release of only six issues.

That didn’t stop fans from getting excited when seeing Danai Guira [Okoye] and Florence Kasumba [Ayo] on set for the upcoming Black Panther film. A Marvel spokesperson released a statement saying that relationship between the two characters would not be romantic. In response, fans started the popular Twitter hashtag #letayohaveagirlfriend. Even though there are only six issues of Black Panther: World of Wakanda, they can still be purchased online for $1.99 per issue, or all six issues for $11.94. I think that it’s a series worth reading because World of Wakanda is groundbreaking in that not only does it feature powerful women of color as protagonists, women of color also wrote it.