AUTHOR: JIM ZUB | ARTIST: LAN MEDINA | PUBLISHER: MARVEL | FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Ok, so we guess we can see the thinking at Marvel: “…We have a metric shit-ton of characters we barely use and who basically no one has heard of and an only very slowly increasing number who have been around since the ‘60s and had their own films. Why don’t we bring the two together, letting the good rep of the latter rub off on the former…?”
And so we have Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda. They’re the undercover group who go where the Avengers can’t to covertly discover the vital intel the Avengers need to know, a job they are manifestly ill-qualified to carry out. Because who makes up this gang of super spies? Apart from the Wasp who, being very tiny, kind of qualifies in spite of her conspicuous wings, we have a giant fat man covered in tattoos, a clever gorilla and an astronaut werewolf (you know, that guy, the one from the run of Spiderman after they killed Gwen Stacy and they started reeeeally scraping the bottom of the barrel for plotlines). Also, we have the Black Panther himself stalking about, leading them and flying them place to place in an Afro-futurist space gyrocopter, which really diminishes the secrecy of their secret agent-ness.
Rather than coming across as a scrappy super-team trying to prove itself in the shadow of the Avengers, this more comes across as the King of Wakanda becoming deranged and power-mad and, when asked who he wants in his personal guard, shouting random nouns and adjectives “astronaut… lycanthropy... talking gorilla… tiny flying lady…” and responding to any replies of “Sire, are you sure you are feeling alright?” with threats of violence. Of course, superheroes are kind of inherently silly and superhero team-ups can flag this silliness pretty hard, but The Agents of Wakanda could really do with a little more Guardians of the Galaxy-style tongue in cheek self-awareness to get away with the implausibility of its set up.
This could and should be more fun. Maybe it’ll get that way but we’re not holding out much hope.