The “Marvel’s Voices” anthologies are an excellent showcase for diverse characters being handled by diverse creators, telling stories throughout the ever-expanding Marvel Universe. It’s no coincidence that the latest collection celebrates Black History Month, highlighting Black Panther and the world of Wakanda in the aptly titled Marvel’s Voices: Wakanda Forever.
The collection starts, naturally, with the Black Panther himself, T’Challa, in a lovely but all-too brief story by Karama Horne, with art by Alitha E. Martinez. Set during the continuity of the current “Black Panther” series, the opening salvo finds the King of Wakanda finds himself confronted by the ghosts of his predecessors, including both his own father and Mosi, of the Prehistoric Avengers. Horne has a lot to say about legacy and confronting one’s own demons in what could have been the book’s strongest chapter, were it not for the abrupt ending that occurs just as it starts gaining momentum, a fairly typical issue with anthologies that only have so many pages.
The rest of the stories in this collection jump back and forth through time, from a turn-of-the-century procedural (early 1900s, not 2000s) to a sci-fi tale in the far future. In the former, writer Adam Serwer and artist Todd Harris craft a superb coming-of-age tale as two princes of Wakanda learn the cost of treason and the value of education. The latter, written and drawn by Juni Ba, is appropriately titled “The Last Black Panther” and delivers a frenetically beautiful tale that is big on both style and heart. Rounding out the anthology, Murewa Ayodele pens an unseen chapter during Shuri’s reign as Black Panther with gorgeous art by Dotun Akande, while Dr. Sheena Howard and Marcus Williams provide a teachable moment to a young warrior determined to join the Dora Milaje or die trying.
As with any anthology, the quality of stories vary, but there isn’t a weak chapter in the bunch. The art is just fantastic, from the beautiful, classic style by Martinez and Harris to the more modern aesthetics of Akande and Williams. Each story has something to say, about the character it spotlights, about culture, about truth in the ways we live. It’s an important book that reinforces the need for diverse storytellers and characters that can inspire any one of us, no matter our race or creed. It’s also a bargain at $5.99 for a whopping fifty pages (without ads), and features some great extras, including an interviews with Martinez and journalist Evan Narcisse, writer of “Black Panther: Wakanda Atlas”, a fact-filled tome all about the country’s fictional and literary history.
MARVEL VOICES: WAKANDA FOREVER5.99
- Writers: Karama Horne, Andrew Serwer, Murewa Ayodele, Dr. Sheena Howard, Juni Ba
- Artists: Alisha Martinez, Todd Harris, Dotun Akande, Marcus Williams, Juni Ba
- Colorists: Rachelle Rosenberg, Jordie Bellaire, Dee Cunniffe, Chris O’Halloran
- Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
- Cover: Ken Lashley, Juan Fernandez
- Publisher: Marvel Comics
- Editor: CB Cebulski