When the Avengers relaunched last summer, it was both a return to form and a shake up of old traditions. On the one hand, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor were back and everyone was fighting Loki, and on the other, Hulk was a lady and Ghost Rider came to hang.
Black Panther is now the chairman and leader of the World’s Mightiest Heroes, and in this week’s Avengers #12 and Thor #9, both written by Jason Aaron, we got a look at the first big move T’Challa’s made in the position. He’s reformed SHIELD, but in a radically new way.
Aaron introduced Marvel readers to the Agents of Wakanda.
As Okoye (remember her?) alludes to above, SHIELD is an organization that has its highs and lows. Currently, in the Marvel Comics universe, it’s on one of its lows — it was absorbed by Hydra during that whole Fascist Captain America Thing and subsequently dissolved.
But under her directorship, and under T’Challa’s mandate, the Agents of Wakanda will be better.
“A network of highly skilled covert agents, with a global and intergalactic reach, devoted to intelligence gathering, super-espionage and special missions of an unparalleled nature,” Okoye explains to her new recruit. “If the Avengers are the hammer, the Agents of Wakanda will be the hand that holds the nail.”
And don’t worry, they’ve still got a helicarrier — it’s just tricked-out with Wakandan tech.
Who are those agents? So far the roster includes Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp; Gorilla-Man, an immortal talking gorilla; Ka-Zar, the Tarzan-like lord of the Savage Land; Broo, an alien mutant and former Xavier School student; John Jameson III, son of J. Jonah Jameson and a space-wolf-man and more.
In the pages of Avengers #12 and Thor #9, Agents of Wakanda spend their first missions investigating future threats to the Marvel universe. Searching the world for renegade Norse mythological creatures in advance of the War of the Realms, the next big Marvel crossover event — and diving to the bottom of the ocean to clandestinely observe Namor’s militarization of Atlantis.
As much as the Agents of Wakanda is pouring new lifeblood into the Avengers, Jason Aaron is also pouring new concepts and unexpected characters into Avengers. The agents revealed in these two issues are primarily C-list heroes often left on the sidelines, and delightfully quirky ones. (Yes, J.J. Jameson has an astronaut son who found a gem on the moon that turned him into a wolfman, no big. He’s an Agent of Wakanda now.)
But the Agents of Wakanda aren’t the only new additions in Avengers #12. T’Challa’s agents have uncovered a brewing civil war in Romania. Among its vampire population, that is.
And that means the Avengers are FINALLY going to help Blade with that vampire problem.