REVIEW: Marvel Voices : Wakanda Forever

By | February 24, 2023

I have to say that DC is way more balanced when it comes to representation of their readership in contrast to Marvel after it was acquired by the devil with the mouse ears for horns. Yet again, Marvel has released another “inclusion” anthology entitled Wakanda Forever, which just like the film is only focused on the empowerment of melaninated females to the detriment of melaninated males.

The anthology opens with “The Old Ways” by Karama Horne, which encapsulates the entirety of John Ridley’s latest BP run, featuring T’Challa in space being chastised by all of his ancestors and showing the once powerful ruler of his people outcasted amongst his home nation (well not amongst – because he recently had is Wakandian citizenship revoked amongst other questionable decisions in John Ridley’s run, making it hard to believe that Ridley is the same guy who wrote The American Way and turned Batman black) he still readily and willingly lives to defend. This story then jettisons into a celebration for the warranted accomplishments of Alitha E. Martinez setting the tone for continuous praise for only melaninated females throughout the rest of the anthology. Whether it’s in the realms of fighting (“The Illusion Of Fairness”), spiritual fortitude (“Remember The Name”), diplomatic integrity (“The Education of Changamire”), or in the realm of scientific innovation (“The Last Black Panther”) – only the female residents of Wakanda are made to stand out while the males play either a background or villainized role. Which to be honest is not only a reflection of the film that this anthology borrows it’s name from, but also the experience of being a male in the African diaspora – which is a role of invisibility unless we are called upon to die or bear the brunt of some form of shame, whether it be our own or someone else’s.

Last time I checked I was molested by my F.B.A. (Foundational Black American) mother, told I was “just a check” (and treated as such) by F.B.A. foster mothers, my older Afro-Belizean sister pushed me into joining a L.A. Crip gang when I met her in my teens, and my Afro-Caribbean ex-wife left me in my early twenties – does activity like this really deserve an award in the form of Marvel’s only anthology for Black History Month this year? I don’t think so. And once again DC has outpaced Marvel in regards to their black male readership. The same week that the Wakanda Forever anthology was released, DC dropped Icon vs. Hardware, a Black Adam book featuring an original Afro-American superhero called “Bolt” and a slew of Black History Month variant covers on other titles. This isn’t a competition, but favoritism is not hard to overlook.

I don’t know why Disney has such a hard-lined agenda with gaining female readers. From what I read from Alitha E. Martinez’ interview (where she goes into detail about feeling alienated while reading comics due to her ethnicity and gender, which ironically the book she has her words in had the same effect on me) and even from reading up on big-screen influencer/ comic book enthusiast Nicque Marina, there’s no shortage of female P.O.C. book heads and graphic novels as well; the African diaspora can find themselves easily in that conjoined classification.
But instead of bringing people together to celebrate Black History Month, I read this latest Marvel Voices anthology as another divisive device for the community that I am apart of. And I believe there’s already been enough of that, especially in regards to gender.

The African diaspora does not need Marvel to continuously throw fuel on that fire. I don’t give a damn how dope Marcus Williams or Dee Cunniffe’s pencil work is of these female warriors, I’ll be happy to see more of it when there’s a visible balance. Heroism should not be designated to a gender role, but that’s all that this issue of Marvel Voices screams.

Score : 1.5/5

(W) Juni Ba, Various (A) Dotun Akande, Various (CA) Ken Lashley