Many Marvel fans know M’Baku from the MCU’s Black Panther movies. The stalwart, yet endearingly comical leader of the Jabari has won the hearts of many, and the ending of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, saw him reach for even greater heights. Interestingly enough, “Reverberations” from Wakanda #2 (by Evan Narcisse, Adam Serwer, Ibraim Roberson, Andrew Dalhouse, VC’s Joe Sabino) puts the comic version of M’Baku in a similar position. In both realities, M’Baku ends up becoming the regent of Wakanda.
This isn’t something he seized for himself. Rather, M’Baku did so with the blessing of T’Challa in the comics and likely did so at Shuri’s request in the latest MCU blockbuster movie. Ultimately, it goes to show just how respected M’Baku is in both universes. That two different Black Panthers would trust him to wisely guide their people while they were absent speaks volumes. Both Black Panthers believe in him wholeheartedly and recognize just how good a leader M’Baku truly is.
How M’Baku Came to Rule In Two Universes
The comic version of M’Baku became a recurring ally of T’Challa during his adventures in the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. This M’Baku was a slave before liberating himself and others. He came to act as a rebel against Emperor N’Jdaka, and was integral in helping T’Challa overthrow the tyrannical regime. The true test of his leadership skills came when he managed to negotiate a peace between the Wakandan Empire and the Shi’ar. This convinced T’Challa that M’Baku was not only an excellent leader, but also had the right temperament for the job, as he would always consider the position of those who are not in the same position of strength as he is. As such, he was appointed regent of the Wakandan Empire as they moved into the future.
Likewise, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever saw M’Baku take a greater role in the politics of his country. He became a wise counselor for Shuri, guiding her through some of the most difficult moments of her journey to become the new Black Panther. It was he who advocated for peace with Namor when Shuri wanted vengeance, and his advice turned out to be the right decision, something Shuri would acknowledge and honor by the movie’s end.
Shuri had left Wakanda, ostensibly to mourn, but also to likely figure out what her path would be going forward. In her absence, M’Baku showed up for Challenge Day to petition for the throne. He didn’t do so with the same malice he had in the last film, meaning that this was likely a decision born out of necessity and perhaps even a request Shuri made of him. She trusted M’Baku’s wisdom, especially his leadership ability at a time when Wakanda lacked viable leaders. M’Baku had the drive, experience, and respect needed to successfully lead the country while the throne’s heirs were away.
M’Baku Has the Respect of Two Black Panthers
In short, M’Baku earned the respect and trust of two different Black Panthers, both of whom believed he was more than worthy to fill their shoes and rule in their absence. M’Baku, despite his fierce reputation, ultimately demonstrates that he is an effective and caring ruler. He is honorable, as shown with how he helped T’Challa in both universes, and more to the point, he does what a great many real world leaders fail to do: he puts the needs of his people first.
It was this quality above all others than convinced both T’Challa and Shuri of his worthiness. M’Baku’s most defining moments came in how he handled a crisis. Both times, he fought for peace. And both times he was right to do so. Having strength, and knowing when to use it are the marks of a true leader and M’Baku has proven himself over and over again – whether it is in the comics or the MCU.