After recent adventures led Black Panther to take leadership of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, T’Challa is going to need some help as emperor.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Last Annihilation: Wakanda #1!
Thanks to Marvel’s new one-shot tie-in to The Last Annihilation, it’s been revealed that Black Panther‘s intergalactic empire now has a new leader to help him rule the far reaches of space. Having recently inherited the entire Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda after defeating its previous and corrupted ruler, King T’Challa is now Emperor T’Challa, and he has the Herculean task of turning his new empire into a force for good. To do that, the Black Panther is going to need some help, and he’s chosen none other than former Maroon M’baku to help him along the way.
In previous issues of Ta-Nahesi Coates’ Black Panther run, it was revealed that a group of Wakandans were sent into space where they went back in time via a wormhole. They then lost their way and began conquering the galaxy as an Intergalactic Empire that spanned five galaxies, brutally taking those they conquered as slaves and stripping them of their memories as the Nameless. When King T’Challa became aware of their existence, he too was turned into one of the Nameless by Emperor N’Jadaka, named after the original Killmonger. However, T’Challa was eventually rescued by the resistance fighters known as the Maroons, and one of their leaders was M’Baku – a man bearing the name of T’Challa’s longtime foe. Working together, T’Challa’s memories were eventually restored and he returned to Wakanda Prime on Earth, uniting his armies and allies to defeat N’Jadaka. In the aftermath of that battle, T’Challa has begun the work of redeeming the empire to what it always should have been in the Marvel Universe.
Now, The Last Annihilation: Wakanda #1 from Evan Narcisse and Germán Peralta sees T’Challa asking M’Baku to rejoin the Intergalactic Empire in the fight against Dormammu, who’s attempting to conquer the galaxy. Joining forces with the Shi’ar Empire, M’Baku came up with the idea to use one of the Empire’s darkest weapons, reworking it to become a shield against Dormammu’s magical attacks (with some help from the X-Men’s new metal mysterium). As a result, the throneworld of the Shi’ar was saved while also being a prime example of what T’Challa wishes to accomplish for the Empire on a grander scale. In response, the issue’s end sees Wakanda’s Emperor officially asking M’Baku to be his regent in the wider cosmos.
Not only will M’Baku be able to reclaim his name from its villainous history, but T’Challa picking the former resistance fighter is a perfect choice. Being a Maroon, M’Baku never subscribed to the brutality and darkness of the Empire, choosing instead to fight back for those who were being wrongly oppressed. As T’Challa notes, M’Baku can make sure that all voices will be heard throughout the Intergalactic Empire, helping to ensure that it becomes the force for good T’Challa wishes it to be.
This new era for the character of M’Baku is fairly exciting, while also being a great deviation from past depictions. It also ties him more closely as an ally to T’Challa (much like the MCU version of his namesake played by Winston Duke). Regardless, between leading the Avengers and ruling from Wakanda Prime on Earth, it was clear that the Black Panther was going to need some help with his new empire among the stars, and with his direct experience of how bad things have been in the past, M’Baku certainly appears to be the best man for the job.
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