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Move over Black Panther, Wakanda has a new protector: Namor!

Black Panther has been banished from Wakanda, and now the nation has a controversial new protector

Painted illustration of Namor wrapped in a Wakanda flag
Image credit: Marvel Comics

There have been some big changes to the world of Wakanda. T’Challa is no longer Wakanda’s ruler, and he’s been banished from the nation. Now another hero was stepped up to become Wakanda’s new protector, and the choice is somewhat controversial. Let’s unpack everything that went down in Black Panther #14 (written by John Ridley and penciled by German Peralta).

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Black Panther #14 (2023)!

Wait, why was Black Panther banished from Wakanda?

T'Challa is exiled from Wakanda
Image credit: Marvel Comics

A mistake from T’Challa’s past has come back to haunt him in a big way. Years ago T’Challa set up a global network of Wakandan sleeper agents. Their job was to cripple the nations of the world if they ever turned on Wakanda. These agents embedded themselves around the planet, waiting for the signal to strike. T’Challa kept this contingency plan to himself, leaving the Avengers and the rest of Wakanda in the dark.

Recently the problem has spun out of control, and it’s blowing up in T’Challa’s face. One of the sleeper agents named Jhai has taken control of the network, turning the group into a global terrorist organization. Now Jhai is threatening to use his army to disrupt global operations, sending the planet into a new stone age. Thanks to T’Challa’s training and resources, Jhai has the power to act on this threat.

As you can imagine, lots of people are furious that T’Challa built this army without telling everyone. Black Panther has been expelled from the Avengers, and he’s been forced to step down as ruler of Wakanda. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, then think again. In Black Panther #14, Wakanda’s Prime Minister Folasade informed T’Challa that he has been banished from the country forever. “You have been declared persona non grata and banished from Wakanda for your remaining days,” Folasade explained. “You are no longer just a former king. You are now a former citizen.”

Who is Wakanda’s new protector?

Namor has a tense conversation with T'Challa
Image credit: Marvel Comics

Jhai’s terrorist network has put Wakanda in a difficult position. Since Black Panther is now a pariah, Wakanda has turned to a new champion for protection. And the cover to Black Panther #14 announces Namor as Wakanda’s new protector. T’Challa is furious to learn that Wakanda has formed a military alliance with Atlantis, but Folasade reminds him that they had no choice.

“Thanks to you, Wakanda has no standing military with which to defend her interests,” Folasade tells T’Challa. “If we run to the arms of the Atlanteans, it’s because that’s the direction you shoved us in.” Folasade also reveals that Namor’s alliance with Wakanda came with one condition – the permanent banishment of T’Challa. Namor laughs uncontrollably as he watches his former rival T’Challa take in this revelation.

Black Panther has good reason not to trust Namor. The Sub-Mariner has a history of aggression against the surface world, including acts of violence against Wakanda. However, Namor appears to be taking his new alliance with Wakanda seriously, even if he’s using it as a means to hurt Black Panther. It’s also worth noting that the alliance between Atlantis and Wakanda echoes the conclusion to the recent film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The movie ends with Namor’s kingdom Talokan (the movie version of Atlantis) forming an uneasy alliance with Wakanda – after more than a bit of bloodshed.

The comics version of Namor has plenty of reasons to help Wakanda take down Jhai. If the terrorist succeeds in destabilizing the planet, that could hurt Atlantis, which has many allies on the surface world. Although Namor isn’t as bloodthirsty as he was in his earliest appearances, his number one priority is still protecting his kingdom. It’s doubtful that Black Panther’s exile will be permanent, so it should be interesting to see where things stand between him and Namor after the Jhai problem is taken care of.

The two powerful nations are in an uneasy alliance, tensions are running high, and the fate of the world is hanging in the balance. Just another typical day in the Marvel Universe. For more on Black Panther, Namor, and their allies, keep your eyes peeled here to Popverse for more news, guides, and fun features that take you deeper into the world of Marvel.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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