WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Black Panther #171
After a decade and a half, Okoye has finally returned to Marvel Comics in the new issue of Black Panther. Even if Black Panther wasn't the huge success at the box office it's been, Marvel clearly has had plans to expand the hero's corner of the universe brewing for a while. Black Panther will head to space as part of Marvel's Fresh Start and help establish the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Meanwhile, multiple Black Panther titles are currently ongoing with more in the works.
Lucky for Marvel - and fans of Wakanda - Black Panther is shattering box office records even in its sixth week. It's beat all other MCU movies at home and is firmly one of the highest grossing films of all time. As such, we can expect to see many of the film's characters pop up in more media in the near future.
In fact, Marvel already began implementing those plans even before the reception of the movie was clear. We recently saw Nakia and Everett Ross return to the comics after years of absence each. Now, another long-gone character has come back.
Black Panther #171 ends the second part of Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'Avengers of the New World' arc but sets up some big developments to come. But while we'll have to wait to see how everything in the issue plays out, we already know where one is head: Okoye is back.
A lot has happened in the past couple of years in the pages of Black Panther, as Coates has combed through the archives of characters in T'Challa's pantheon and put many of them back in play. Like Nakia and the rest of the Dora Milaje, Okoye debuted in 1998's Black Panther #1 by Christopher Priest. The writer brought T'Challa to New York and added a slew of new characters, including Kasper Cole, an American take on the Black Panther. Cole is now in Wakanda himself and is helping T'Challa, Manifold, Storm, Shuri, and others free T'Challa's old flame Asira. And while we learned last week she was behind some of the doom coming to Wakanda, the new issue reveals it was all part of manipulation by Klaw and his allies. And all of this is revealed by Okoye, who's imprisoned alongside Asira.
We last saw Okoye in 2003's Black Panther #62 which wrapped up much of the Kasper Cole story. But just as Ross an Nakia have been threaded back into the comics, Marvel clearly wants to spotlight the hit characters from the film. In fact, Okoye and the Dora Milaje are getting their own comic this summer, a miniseries that will see them team up with Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers. We don't know the full extent of Okoye's return (or absence) yet, but expect her to have a much more prominent future in Marvel Comics.
Black Panther #171 is available now from Marvel and comic book retailers.