Is it better to rule with love, or with fear?
Hey guys! Chipz here again with another post. This one is another guest blog by my girlfriend Emily and this time it’s about Marvel’s The Black Panther. This is a rather interesting read, if I do say so myself. Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for the latest posts and updates. Enjoy!
Superhero stories love making up fictional cities — Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham, Spider-Man has a version of Queens that isn’t covered in unwanted mix tapes, etc. In Captain America: Civil War, though, we get to see an entirely made-up country: Wakanda, home of the Black Panther. Rather than bow to stereotypes and portray Wakanda as an impoverished, war-torn African nation, Marvel did something pretty cool: made it a super-advanced utopia ruled by a superhero.
It’s just too bad that this utopia’s mere existence would doom millions of people to death and misery. Allow me to elaborate …
They Keep World-Changing Technology To Themselves (At The Expense Of The Rest Of Humanity)
What sets Wakanda apart from other African countries is that they literally set themselves apart from other African countries, and everyone else for that matter. Notoriously isolationist, Wakanda has used technological superiority and a militaristic culture to fend off any invaders and completely close off its borders. In fact, the events of Civil War were kicked off during one of Wakanda’s first attempts to send delegates to treat with foreign nations — in the year 2016.
So their borders are impenetrable, and they simply don’t give a shit what happens on the other side. If it wasn’t for all the black people, it would be Donald Trump’s wet dream.
Which brings us to the source of all of Wakanda’s power and prestige: vibranium, a ludicrously strong metal that only exists within their borders. The Wakandans have used this one-of-a-kind substance to fuel their technological wonders, advanced weaponry, and sweet jungle-cat-themed battle-suits for centuries. Have they ever shared this revolutionary material with the world? Yes, of course: In the 1940s, while the Nazis murdered millions, Wakanda let the Allies have enough vibranium to make one over-sized Frisbee. The creator of Captain America’s shield, Howard “Iron Dad” Stark, even says: “What you’re holding there, that’s all we’ve got.”
Every Country Around Wakanda Would Turn Into A Hellhole
The non-conquerable (but strategically important) land of Wakanda would result in even more intense competition for colonies by the European powers, since everyone would want a piece of property next door to try and trade for some of that sweet sweet technology and influence. Wakanda would become the anvil to the hammer of European colonialism, with every non-vibranium powered country caught in the middle. Of course, many of these potential victim-countries may not have even been able to survive into the modern era, due to Wakanda’s near-monopoly on the area’s water supplies:
According to author Ta-Nehisi Coates, current writer of the Black Panther comic, Wakanda completely covers the western portion of the massive Lake Victoria. Here’s what it looks like in our universe:
The lake provides fresh water for the majority of the nations surrounding it … or it would, if it wasn’t suddenly under the control of the most modernized and industrial country to ever grace the planet. Imagine having to ask your neighbor for permission every time you want to have a drink, except your neighbor lives in a fortress and will shoot you if you so much as breathe on his front door.
Black Panther Acts As A Fascist Dictator
Think about what Black Panther really is. His secret identity is King T’Challa of Wakanda: a leader who has inherited power through a patriarchal line, rules via a militaristic monarchy, and uses superpowers to enforce his will. Black Panther is basically what Kim Jong-un believes himself to be. The major difference here is that Wakanda is an actual world superpower, and not an inconsequential punchline.
Think about the implications of such a figure. Real-life revolutionaries have to rely on Stalinist Russia or the house of cards that was Hitler’s Germany for their examples of how totalitarianism can work. In the Marvel Universe, Wakanda practically provides a blueprint for “How To Be A Good Dictator.” We’re talking about a country with no war, no politicians beyond the superhero on top, and where the acceptable ways to dress range from “futuristic scientist” to “exhibitionist.” Can you imagine a more perfect paradise? And it was achieved through good old-fashioned fascism.
Seriously, it’s hard to think of a greater challenge to the superiority of the American way than a Kim Jong-un-esque figure who actually benefits his people and his country — far more than the average western government, too. Wannabe Wakandas would spring up wherever revolutions occur, probably with their own animal-costumed supreme leaders. Fascism has a new poster boy, and that poster has already been in theaters everywhere.
Then again, it probably still wouldn’t be quite as bad as a world in which every rich asshole has decided he wants to be Tony Stark. How long would it be until some jerk accidentally turned Silicon Valley into a smoking crater? A week?
Comic book universes: Cool to visit, but you sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there.