In the Marvel Universe, few nations have a reputation like that of Wakanda. Throughout its thousand-year existence, the African country has never been conquered. It's home to a proud people who've developed technological marvels that other nations have only imagined. But all that may change now that Norman Osborn's Dark Reign has begun. The villainous ex-Thunderbolts leader and new H.A.M.M.E.R. administrator can call on both the U.S. Government and the criminal underworld to aid him in his goals, one of which is to, simply put: GET WAKANDA!
How will Osborn's plans affect the country? What does it mean for its champion, the Black Panther? For answers to these questions and more, CBR presents this latest installment of THE OSBORN SUPREMACY, featuring writer Reginald Hudlin, who resumes his run on "Black Panther" with an all-new ongoing series beginning in February. The book sports art by Ken Lashley and a female title character.
While it's still likely to involve a campaign of terror and viciousness, Norman Osborn's vendetta against the Black Panther and Wakanda isn't personal, but strictly business. "Norman doesn't have the same relationship with the Black Panther that he does with Spider-Man," Hudlin told CBR News. "I think he sees the Black Panther and Wakanda in more practical terms--they are a threat; get them before they get us."
Osborn isn't alone in thinking something must be done about the powerful nation of Wakanda. His teammates in the "Illuminaughty" that assembled in the "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" one-shot also have strong feelings about the nation and its dark defender. "The Dark Reign cabal is a complicated set of alliances. No one really trusts the next guy, and everyone is making contingency plans," Hudlin explained. "Maybe there is a general agreement over what they do with the Panther and Wakanda--and maybe some members have other plans. But no matter what, Wakanda has to be dealt with. It's too powerful, too rich, and too independent."
The cabal's agreement that action must be taken in Wakanda means that something will happen to the current Black Panther and King of Wakanda, T'Challa. Hudlin couldn't reveal what exactly, but hinted that it would be very public and surprise some people. "There is nothing cat-and-mouse about what happens to T'Challa. Who did it? That's a surprise," the writer remarked. "There are a lot of reveals to this story, but what the first arc is about is a set up of a mission and a mystery that will unfold over several story arcs."
"Deadliest of the Species," the first arc of the new "Black Panther" series, also introduces readers to a new female Black Panther whose identity is still shrouded in mystery. If and when they cross paths with her, Osborn and his fellow cabal members will be caught completely off guard by the new Panther. "I don't want to give away anything here," Hudlin said. "All I'll say is that the Cabal does not know about the existence of the new Panther -- they have no reason to."
Osborn and his Cabal members will have a role to play in the initial "Deadliest of the Species" arc, but beyond that story, their direct role in "Black Panther" will be limited. "The first arc springs directly out of the status quo of Dark Reign," Hudlin confirmed. "This new status quo has a profound effect on Wakanda, its people, and its King."
Reginald Hudlin has enjoyed writing Norman Osborn, who the writer sees as a truly scary villain who always seems to have the upper hand, but what excited him the most about the new "Black Panther" series was the chance to transform things for his cast of characters. "From T'Challa to Storm to the entire royal family down to the Dora Milaje--everyone has to move off the status quo," the writer said. "It's a great way to learn more about Wakanda, establish a new and/or reinvented cast of characters, and drive the next two year's worth of political intrigue and butt kicking action."
"Black Panther" #1 is in stores February 4 from Marvel Comics.