Warning: This article contains spoilers for Avengers #12, by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Cory Smith, Mark Morales, Karl Kesel, Scott Hana, Erick Arciniega and Cory Petit.
The Avengers need a little bit of help. While Earth's mightiest heroes have usually been able to rely on tactical support from S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel's premiere espionage organization was disbanded after an evil Captain America used it to take over the United States in 2017's Secret Empire.
Now, Black Panther, the current leader of the Avengers, has stepped in to fill that void with the Agents of Wakanda. To give Earth's Mightiest Heroes the operational back-up they need, the Agents of Wakanda essentially serve as both basic support staff and a covert Secret Avengers team that sends agents into high-risk areas to gather sensitive information. Even before this team made its full debut, a few Agents of Wakanda were already revealed, to some extent, over the past few months.
As Avengers #12 shows, the Agents of Wakanda are also one of the strangest groups of heroes in the history of the Marvel Universe.
While Black Panther appears to be the team's overall leader, Okoye, the head of Wakanda's Dora Milaje, serves as the director of the team's day-to-day operations. Even though she's been around since Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira created her in 1998, this highly-skilled warrior hasn't appeared much outside of Black Panther. She's a more prominent figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Okoye's leadership of the Agents of Wakanda will almost certainly give her a more visible role in Marvel's comics too.
The first Agent of Wakanda, Gorilla-Man, debuted as a member of the Avengers' support staff a few issues ago. Created by Stan Lee and Robert Sale in the 1950s, this immortal simian hero has been a mercenary and a member of the fan-favorite Agents of Atlas team in recent years. The machine-gun-wielding hero currently serves as the official Chief of Security for Avengers Mountain, an Antarctic Avengers base built the massive body of a dead alien Celestial.
While Gorilla-Man might be an unconventional recruit, the second Agent of Wakanda is the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne. The founding member of the Avengers identified herself as an Agent of Wakanda in Avengers #10, where she brought Blade the Vampire Hunter into the Avengers to deal with an impending vampire civil war. While it's not clear if he was ever considered an Agent of Wakanda, the Daywalker officially joined the main Avengers team at the end of Avengers #12
As Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo detailed in this week's Thor #9, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon is also an Agent of Wakanda. After starting out as an environmentalist, she briefly dated Thor and became one of Earth's representatives in Asgardian politics. With hi-tech vibranium tools, she's already started investigating the events that will lead up to this summer's massive "War of the Realms" crossover as an Agent of Wakanda.
One of the more unusual Agents of Wakanda is Ka-Zar, a Tarzan-esque character usually spends his time living with dinosaurs in the Savage Land. While he's worked with the X-Men and defeated a Thanos clone before, the unpowered, human hero successfully infiltrates Atlantis to spy on a villainous Namor in Avengers #12.
As if Ka-Zar wasn't odd enough, the Agents of Wakanda also include a few members who could be reasonably described as monsters, including two from the world of Spider-Man.
One of those Agents of Wakanda is John Jameson, the heroic son of J. Jonah Jameson. Along with his experience as an astronaut, he brings his werewolf-esque skills as Man-Wolf to the team. While in space, Jameson helps the Wasp save Morbius the Living Vampire, a former Spider-Man foe who appears to be drafted onto the team while they deal the ongoing vampire situation.
On the recommendation of Iron Man and Kitty Pryde, Black Panther also recruits Broo, a brilliant insect-like mutant alien. This polite young X-Man was formerly a student at the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning and now serves as the Avengers' chief I.T. consultant.
Another former X-Man, the mutant genesis Doctor Nemesis, also joins the Agents of Wakanda. This grumpy World War II scientist was brought into the Marvel Universe in the 1990s and spent most of the last decade with the X-Men.
Jason Aaron has already written many of the Agents of Wakanda in his other Marvel work, and he's included a few obscure heroes from those comics here. American Eagle, a Navajo hero with super-strength, will also work with the Agents of Wakanda in his free time. Fat Cobra, one of Iron Fist's fellow Immortal Weapons, will also bring his chi-manipulating abilities and world-class kung-fu skills to the Agents of Wakanda.
While Shang-Chi, Mockingbird and Scott Lang's Ant-Man were also mentioned as potential Agents of Wakanda, the team's most surprising member might be its unseen, unofficial adviser, Odin. While the Asgardian god doesn't usually concern himself with man's affairs, he enjoys T'Challa's company and is offering counsel in exchange for help rebuilding Bifrost, Asgard's Rainbow Bridge.
Despite the Agents of Wakanda's deeply weird roster, they've already been effective too. Thanks to the team's covert operations, the Avengers are keeping tabs on Namor and proactively preparing for the upcoming vampire civil war. As some of the few characters who realize that "War of the Realms" is on the horizon, the Agents of Wakanda seem set to play a pivotal role in the immediate future of the Marvel Universe.