Proxima Midnight

The second character appearing in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer is barely spotted, but this is the first clear look we get at her since her announcement. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gamora and Nebula mentioned that Thanos had other children, and one is her: Proxima Midnight. In the trailer she’s seen fighting with Black Widow and Captain America, nearly killing the first one but being stopped by the latter. She’ll help her “father” retrieve the Infinity Stones, and she won’t do it pleasantly. In the comics, she surely is a loyal follower of Thanos, but their relationship isn’t exactly a “father and daughter” one, rather the one of a cultist with her leader. Let’s see together.

Proxima Midnight, real name unknown, was born on an unspecified alien world, where she was raised to be one of the universe’s best warriors. She surely became an unbeatable combatant, but she also became quite a nihilist, wanting nothing more than to see the universe burnt to ashes. With this philosophy, she was unavoidably attracted by the figure of Thanos, the Mad Titan who wanted to offer everything in existence as a tribute to his beloved, Lady Death, and she joined his army. Distinguishing herself even among the most lethal aliens in the galaxies, Proxima Midnight was personally chosen by Thanos to join his Black Order, the elite groups of lieutenants he dispatched all around the universe to find worlds to raze. After imposing heavy tributes on planets in exchange of sparing them, the Black Order finally arrived to Earth…a small planet that hid however a great treasure, as a group living on it, the Illuminati, possessed the omnipotent Infinity Gems. The planet was attacked by Proxima’s husband, Corvus Glaive, Thanos’ right-hand man and a prominent member of the Black Order himself, and Proxima was dispatched there soon after. Albeit tasked with attacking Atlantis, Proxima first arrived in New York City, where she made her presence known by spreading destruction upon her wake. She was immediately confronted by the Mighty Avengers, but she made immediately clear that she wasn’t an adversary to be taken lightly. She immediately gave proof of her worth by crippling one of the enemy leaders, Spectrum, and she even pummeled to the ground the other one, Luke Cage…until the hero, encouraged by the gathering crowd, recovered and fought her to a stand still. That was the moment Thanos arrived.

The Mad Titan didn’t hide his disappointment for Proxima’s unauthorized attack, and she was reminded her original mission. Humiliated, she hit Cage one last time before heading to Atlantis. Here, however, she found her supposed enemy, Namor the Sub-Mariner, broken already, defeated in a war with his rival Black Panther. Proxima immediately realized that Namor didn’t own the Infinity Gem anymore, and she questioned him on its whereabouts; not only Namor told her that she could find the Gem in Wakanda, but she also offered her the full support of Atlantis, if she could burn down his hated enemy’s kingdom. Wakanda had been already attacked by another member of the Black Order, Black Dwarf, but he had been soundly defeated. When Proxima brought her intel to Thanos, the Mad Titan himself led her and Corvus Glaive to the African country, locating the Gem in the Necropolis, the sacred Wakandan sanctuary that was also the Illuminati’s secret base. While the Black Order was there, however, the Machiavellian Ebony Maw informed them that he had finally accomplished his mission: he had located Thane, Thanos’ son, in Greenland. Just before leaving Wakanda to retrieve Thane, Proxima learnt of the existence of a new Nova on Earth, and she sent one of her personal minions, Kaldera, to kill him. When she failed, she had her tortured for days in the Midnight Sphere. Finally, Proxima, Corvus and Thanos reached the long-lost Thane…who didn’t want anything to do with his father. As the trio tried to force him to cooperate, the Inhuman used his newfound powers to encase all of them in an unbreakable amber crystal, in a state of living death. Even this, however, wasn’t enough to keep the galaxy’s fiercest warrior at bay…

Proxima Midnight is a fierce and relentless fighter, a woman who lives to serve Thanos and his vision, and who has no restraint whatsoever in killing anyone in her way. She possesses superhuman strength, durability, speed and stamina, and she’s a superb combatant, but her main strength lies in her spear, forged for her by Thanos himself from a sun trapped in a space-time singularity: the spear never misses its target, and changes velocity according to Proxima’s will when thrown; Proxima can also change its density, making it reach the mass of a black hole, a massive weight that can immobilize even the greatest powers in the universe (she even bested Hulk‘s limitless strength with it); the spear is also imbued with a lethal toxin that can kill anyone (even living energy) upon contact. One of the most lethal beings in the universe, Proxima Midnight is a worshiper of Death, who serves her master Thanos with absolute and unflinching loyalty, her faith a force as lethal as the star that gave birth to her weapon…

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Peter Benjamin Parker (Iron Spider)

As you may have noticed, a couple of trailers have been released these days, and there’s much to speak about… At the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker declined Tony Stark‘s offer to join the Avengers, as well as a brand new suit of armor the billionaire had built for him…but in Avengers: Infinity War Peter will finally wear it, apparently making the Iron Spider the first line of defense against Thanos and his Black Order (he’s the only one seen fighting the villain directly, in the trailer…and he wasn’t squaring too good, poor thing). In the comics, the Iron Spider is just a temporary identity for Peter, as he soon turns back to his old ways, and it’s later resumed by others. Here, however, we’ll only see the original version.

Life had never been easy for Peter Parker: always on the verge of bankruptcy, barely balancing his private life with his ones as Spider-Man, usually a loner as a superhero, he definitely had his life changed altogether the moment he joined the New Avengers. With a team to support him, he even started to appreciate a never-before-experienced public support, and the advantages of having teammates watching his back. Most of all, Peter found something he had always craved for: his father Richard had died when he was still a boy, and his beloved Uncle Ben soon followed him when he was barely fifteen, and Peter had always been in need for a father figure of sort. He found it in Tony Stark, who became his mentor, and who welcomed him, his wife Mary Jane and his aunt May in the Avengers Tower. Thanks to Stark, Peter’s life underwent the best change ever, and this obviously made the two heroes close. The heroes community was soon split in two by the Superhuman Registration Act, that following Nitro‘s destruction of the town of Stamford and the resulting death of hundreds of civilians, ordered every superhero to become a government-sanctioned agent and had his/her secret identity registered. Peter had obviously some doubts: as Spider-Man, he had always kept his identity a secret, as he thought this protected the people he loved from his enemies’ retaliation. Stark, however, was the public face of the Act, and Peter trusted him; moreover, he truly believed that superheroes needed people’s support to operate at their best, and this could only be achieved if the population was able to trust its heroes. As a sign for all the other street-level superheroes who opposed the Act, Spider-Man appeared in a press conference, and with the support of his family he unmasked himself in front of the entire world, first introducing himself as Peter Parker.

Spider-Man received some unexpected advantages from being one of the main supporters of the Superhuman Registration Act: first of all, he was free to operate everywhere as a federal agent, without cops shooting at him; then, he received a brand new costume from Stark, who had been building it in secret after Peter was killed by Morlun (and later resurrected by the Great Weaver, a spider-god). Being on Stark’s side, however, meant to fight the many heroes who had chosen to oppose the Act and to follow Captain America as outlaws. Among them there were many of Peter’s greatest friends, including the Human Torch. Dubbed the Iron Spider due to his new armor (and to his not too subtle bond with Iron Man), Peter fought against his former allies, and even tried to convince some of them to change sides…until he realized he may have been the one making a mistake. There were many things Stark didn’t tell him: the fact that he had built with Reed Richards a prison for anti-registration heroes in the Negative Zone, for example, or that he had created an uncontrollable clone of Thor, Ragnarok, who eventually killed Bill Foster in battle. All these things left a bad taste in the hero’s mouth, but the final straw came when he realized that Stark had been tracking and controlling him through the new armor. Feeling betrayed, and realizing how wrong he had been, Peter escaped the Avengers Tower with May and MJ, but was soon confronted by Stark, who tried to override his armor. A great student for a great mentor, Peter overrode Stark’s command, and flew. Maria Hill, however, sent the Thunderbolts after him, and even with the Iron Spider armor on Peter wasn’t a match for all those villains. Followed in the sewers by Jester and Jack O’Lantern, he was nearly killed by the villains, but suddenly The Punisher intervened, killing both assailants. The vigilante took a badly beaten Peter to the secret base of the anti-registration heroes, where he was nurtured back to health. It was time Spider-Man came back to his old self, joined the right side, and exposed to the world the horrors he had contributed to create.

Peter Parker is always the old selfless, heroic, maybe naive man who’s always ready to be on the first line to defend the right cause and to protect the people he loves…unfortunately, this time the “right cause” is something nobody’s so sure about. As the Iron Spider, he possesses his usual Spider-Man powers (superhuman strength, durability, agility and reflexes, Spider-Sense, the ability to stick to any surface, regenerative healing factor), the ones granted to to him by the Great Weaver (retractable razor-sharp stingers, night vision, organic webbing), and the ones granted by Stark’s armor, such as three retractable “spider-arms” that can be used as offensive tools or for scouting, as they have cameras implanted in them, a glider, a mask filter that can protect him from any poison or gas, lenses that improve his vision specter, a radar and a sonar, a camouflage device and much more. More powerful than he has ever been, Peter surely has a lot to be grateful for, but he still has to make clarity within himself on what he truly believes to be the right thing to do…

Cindy Moon (Silk)

Among the many schoolmates of Peter‘s we meet in Spider-Man: Homecoming, one is quite a surprise: Cindy Moon, the Asian girl portrayed by Tiffany Espensen. She’s one of the members of the decathlon team of Midtown School of Science and Technology, and she’s the one who appears to be the more upset when Sally tells her Peter is not coming to the nationals in Washington D.C. Albeit being quite a young character in terms of publication history, Cindy has become pretty relevant in the comics in a very short time, mostly under her alias of Silk. The fact that she’s still attending school in Homecoming hints at a very different fate for her movie counterpart, as the original one was already leading a very different life by that point: let’s see together.

Cindy Moon was born in Washington HeightsNew York City, the daughter of employee Albert Moon and his scientist wife Nari. A very gifted child, Cindy developed an eidetic memory since she was a kid, and her mother took this as a sign she had to focus on her studies only; her father, on the other side, was very supportive of her, and he insisted she also engaged in other acitivities, such as sports (he perfectly knew Cindy played with her school hockey team just to be with Hector Cervantez, her “secret boyfriend”, and he was perfectly ok with it). Cindy grew up with a little brother, Albert Jr., and she always tried to live a normal social life balancing her mother’s tyrannical order to give priority to her studies over everything else. Unfortunately, Nari eventually found out about Hector and, enraged, she forced Cindy to abandon hockey, and she even signed her up for a school field trip she wasn’t interested in, but that she believed could widen her daughter’s scientific horizon. Along with her schoolmates from Midtown High School, consequently, Cindy went to visit the East labs of General Techtronics Corporation, full of grudge for her mother. The exhibition, actually, would have changed Cindy’s life forever: during a demonstration of how to handle safely nuclear wastes, a spider was hit by radiations and, before dying, bit her on the ankle (it was the same spider that had just bitten Peter Parker on the hand). Not paying much attention to it at first, Cindy realised she had been changed radically when, back home, during a fight with her parents she spontaneously emitted an organic web from her fingers that enveloped them. Scared by what she had become and not knowing how to control her powers, Cindy was quite shocked, and even her parents didn’t know what to do…that’s why the man who came knocking to her door looked like a blessing to the Moons, a man who offered to take the girl with him to train her in the use of her abilities. The man introduced himself as Ezekiel Sims.

Ezekiel had spider-like powers as well, and he told Cindy both their abilities came from different circumstances, but from the same Spider-Totem that made them alike. For six years, the man trained her and taught her what he could, until he discovered the Inheritors, a race of immortal vampires who hunted down people with totemic powers; one of them in particular, Morlun, was on Earth-616 looking for spider totems. In order to protect Cindy from Morlun (and possibly to use her as a trump card against the Inheritors), Ezekiel locked her in a special room that blocked the vampire’s detection, a hidden cell in his tower filled with food and water several years worth. Cindy also had books and tapes, and she used them to expand her knowledge and to do something in the endless hours she spent there. Albeit she knew the code to get out of the room, she never used it, as she knew Morlun would have killed her for sure. In fear and in boredom, thirteen years passed: Ezekiel had been killed in the meanwhile, so nobody knew about Cindy. The one who discovered her was Spider-Man, who was on the Moon investigatin Uatu the Watcher‘s death: as the eye of Uatu was retrieved, it released on the world knowledge of secrets long hidden or forgotten, and Spider-Man saw Cindy’s story. The hero arrived to Ezekiel’s tower and ignored Cindy’s plead not to open the door: he managed to convince her only when he told her Morlun was long dead. Free at last, Cindy created an improvised costume of webs and, naming herself Silk, she left to look for her parents…who had obviously moved, after almost twenty years. Speaking with Spider-Man, Silk realised that Morlun had come back from the dead twice already, and she immediately felt he had come back once again, this time accompanied by all the other Inheritors. She attacked Spider-Man, blaming him for wasting her sacrifice, but she agreed to stay with him to prepare for Morlun and the others. As Silk, he even help him against Electro and Black Cat, knowing that their greatest challenge ever was arriving at full speed, threatening a life she had just conquered back.

Cindy Moon is an extremely smart young woman, gifted with an eidetic memory and brilliant enough to have been accepted to Oxford University…in another life. As Silk, she possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability and reflexes; she can stick to any surface, crawling even on vertical walls, and she can release extremely strong organic webbing from her fingertips, which she uses for swinging around, for creating clothes, and even for creating artificial claws to augment her offensive abilities; she also possesses what she calls a Silk-Sense, an augmented variant of the Spider-Sense, which allows her to sense danger even if not immediate, bordering in clairvoyance. Disoriented in a world that moved over in her absence, Silk is still trying to put back together the pieces of her sacrificed existence, clashing with the fact that the time she has lost is indeed lost forever…

Sally Avril (Bluebird)

Among the many classmates of Peter Parker, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, there’s also a chubby girl portrayed by Isabella Amara (she’s the one who sadly announces that Peter isn’t going to the competition in Washington D.C.); she’s quite smart, as she’s a member of the school’s decathlon team. Amara already confirmed she’s going to appear again in Avengers: Infinity War, so we haven’t seen the last of her…albeit it’s unlikely she’ll start wearing a costume and fight crime like Sally did in the comics. Even the first live action version of Sally didn’t do much in this sense: Kelsey Chow in fact portrays her in The Amazing Spider-Man, the hot girl who asks Peter if he can take pictures of her and her boyfriend on Friday night, laughing at the fact he believed she was asking him out. In the comics, Sally’s story is more deepened…and eventually more tragic. Let’s see together.

Sally Avril was born in New York City, in Forest HillsQueens. When she was a kid she attended the local Elementary School, where she met and became friends with a group she would have grown up with, consisting of Jason Ionello (her best friend), Liz Allan, Peter Parker, Tiny McKeever and Seymour O’Reilly. The group was quite inseparable, but when they arrived to Midtown High School everything changed: the new social division had quite an effect on her, and she immediately realised the new school was clearly divided between “winners” and “losers”, and she had no intention of being part of the second group. She did her best to be one of the popular girls, taking a distance from some of her old “best friends”…including Peter Parker, who was now the favourite target of bullies like Flash Thompson. Instead of defending her friend, Sally started dating Flash, and when Peter asked her out she laughed in his face and proclaimed she preferred “dream boats” like Thompson. She even arrived to the point of isolating Peter when his beloved Uncle Ben died, convincing Liz Allan not to be friendly with him even in such a delicate situation, so obsessed she was with high school’s role game. She finally obtained all the fame and the popularity she craved by winning all the school’s competition as a gymnast, but it still wasn’t enough, she wanted more…and Jason gave her the perfect idea to achieve it, as J. Jonah Jameson offered a big sum of money to whoever brought him the secret identity of the superhero he despised, Spider-Man. The two friends decided they would have been the ones to take money and glory.

Armed with binoculars and camera, Sally Avril and Jason Ionello started “hunting” for Spider-Man, and they found him during a meeting with Batwing. Spider-Man realised he had been followed, and warned the two kids not to, as it could be very dangerous; Jason wanted to follow his advice, but Sally decided to ignore it, as she was sure they would have succeeded. Next, they spotted Spider-Man as, brainwashed by Dr. Winkler, was stealing money for Electro. The two followed the hero, and prepared to take a picture just as Electro was about to unmask him…but their camera’s flash broke the hypnosis, and Spidey came back to his senses just in time. In the following fight, when Spider-Man was about to be defeated, Sally intervened in first person incapacitating Electro with a kick to the head, allowing the hero to knock him out for good: thankful, Spider-Man took a picture of Sally and Jason standing over the defeated criminal, a photo that would have been published on The Daily Bugle under the title: School Kids Foil Super-Villain. Intoxicated by the experience, Sally presented herself to Jameson asking for the position of free-lance photographer, but she was shocked in discovering that the job was already taken…by Peter Parker. Her former friend confirmed it, but she asked her not to tell anybody at school he was the one who took pictures of Spider-Man. This, however, brought Sally to change her plans: instead of becoming a photographer, she used the experience with Electro to decide to become a superheroine herself. She created a costume and built some (highly inefficient) gadgets, and named herself Bluebird, ready to take on New York’s criminality with her athletic skills. She even elected herself as Spider-Man’s partner, but the hero wasn’t too happy of having such an inexperienced and vulnerable sidekick “aiding” him…

Sally Avril is an extremely ambitious and glory-carving girl, a young woman quite obsessed with popularity who’s overenthusiastic over pretty much every single initiative she takes. As Bluebird, she’s an extremely skilled athlete and acrobat, but she doesn’t have any superhuman power; she has a number of gadgets, some useful ones such as insulated boots and her rope line, and some unuseful and dangerous ones like her Bluebird Eggs, “bombs” filled with ether that usually explode before even reaching their target. First a bully ready to forget any friendship and to step on anyone’s feelings for a little popularity, now Sally is a danger for herself and others, a rookie vigilante who’s too arrogant to realize that as an amateur she risks her life without being of any kind of help to her unwilling mentor Spider-Man.

M’Baku (Man-Ape)

The last character appearing in the Black Panther trailer is a secondary villain, who promises to be quite a pain in the back for the titular hero nevertheless: M’Baku, portrayed by Winston Duke. In the movie, he’ll be the leader of a tribe hostile to T’Challa‘s government, the Jabari, and he’ll cause quite some disorders in Wakanda. Character and actor have been both confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s safe to say that whatever conflict will put M’Baku against T’Challa won’t see its end in this movie. In the comics, M’Baku is even bigger and badder, and his outfit is much more characteristic than the casual white fur we see in the trailer, as he wears an entire gorilla skin and goes by the name Man-Ape. Let’s see together.

M’Baku was born in Wakanda, a secluded African nation, in the Jabari Village. The Jabari tribe was the only one left in Wakanda to follow the old religion, the White Gorilla Cult, a barbaric warmongering cult practiced by ancient Wakandians, who were hunters and warriors. M’Baku grew up with his brother Mandla in the myth of the old days, when the strongest ruled and the weak ones obeyed, and he trained himself to be the most powerful warrior of the country…something that he actually achieved, becoming an impressive fighter, second only to the country’s protector, the Black Panther. In order to give his people its honor and pride back, M’Baku reinstated the White Gorilla Cult, despite the Wakandian laws forbid it; he also named himself the new leader of both cult and tribe, and he crossed the forbidden lands up to the Great Vibranium Mound, until he found a sacred white gorilla, a rare (protected) species that was said to have mystical powers…as it actually did. M’Baku killed the gorilla, bathed in its blood, ate its flesh and made an armor from its skin: from this gruesome ceremony he obtained superhuman powers, and he came back to his people as the Man-Ape, ready to lead the White Gorilla Cult to a new era of leadership in Wakanda. Taking advantage of King T’Challa’s absence, M’Baku led a rebellion, wanting to bring Wakanda to its original state, outlawing all the advanced technology introduced by the royal family of Black Panther cultists and turning the population to a nation of warriors and hunters only. When T’Challa knew about what was happening in his country, he came back to Wakanda along with the Avengers, and received a public challenge from Man-Ape. The two fought for the right to rule, and Man-Ape managed to defeat his opponent. When he tried to crush him under the Panther totem his enemy worshipped, however, the huge statue crumbled, burying him under the rubbles. Taking this as a sign from the gods, Black Panther was confirmed the king, and M’Baku left for dead.

The Man-Ape, however, hadn’t met his end yet: one of his most loyal followers, N’Gamo, used some secret herbs on him, reviving him and later hiding him in the village until he came back to full health. Humiliated by an unrecognized victory, M’Baku became obsessed with proving himself better than the Black Panther, and he even left Wakanda to follow his enemy to New York City, where the hero resided as an Avenger. Once in the new land, Man-Ape learned that the Avengers had many enemies, and he took the opportunity to join forces with them in order to kill his nemesis: he became a member of Grimm Reaper‘s version of the Lethal Legion, an offer he accepted only in exchange of the promise of being able to face Black Panther. After a brief fight with the Avengers, Man-Ape was ordered to kidnap Monica Lynne, Black Panther’s American girlfriend, in order to lure the hero into a trap. The plan succeeded, and T’Challa was captured. Soon the other Avengers followed him, but when Vision managed to free them all, another battle ensued…exactly what Man-Ape was waiting for. He challenged Black Panther once again, and even this time his brute force had the upper hand in the confrontation, but eventually Captain America intervened, and M’Baku found in him a far better warrior than he was. Captured, M’Bau was sentenced to exile by Black Panther, who decreed that he would have faced death penalty if he ever came back to Wakanda. A renegade, Man-Ape stayed in New York and joined the Lethal Legion once again, being assigned to battle Tigra, but he eventually abandoned the team along with Black Talon as soon as Grimm Reaper’s racism became unbearable. With no home to come back to, Man-Ape started wandering a world he had never seen, and visited the less civilised areas of the planet selling his services as a mercenary. Despite the executioner waiting for him, however, home’s calling was strong in his blood, and soon he would have come back to Wakanda to challenge the Black Panther once again.

M’Baku is a violent and tyrannical man, a leader who only believes in the law of the strongest and who only values battle prowess. As the Man-Ape, he possesses superhuman strength, durability, agility, stamina and reflexes, and he’s an incredibly skilled combatant, able to match Black Panther himself. A charismatic religious and political leader, Man-Ape dreams of a country reverted to its primitive condition, when the strength of your arm was the only measure of your value and no technology contaminated a warrior’s spirit…a world in which a man like him would be revered like a god on Earth.

Ramonda

Let’s take a look at the last major female character in Black Panther, the elder woman we see in the snow: Queen Ramonda, portrayed by Angela Bassett. We don’t know absolutely anything of her role in the story, with the only fact being that she’ll be T’Challa‘s mother…and this already is quite a departure from the comics, where she’s indeed the Queen Mother, but she doesn’t have any blood relation to the young king, being just his step-mother. Bassett, however, looks exactly just like her, and it’s more than likely that she’ll have the same strong character of the comics’ counterpart. Let’s see together.

Ramonda was born in South Africa, and she lived a normal life in her country until she met a foreigner king, T’Chaka from Wakanda, who was visiting South Africa in a diplomatic trip. T’Chaka had just lost his wife N’Yami, who had died while giving birth to their son T’Challa, and Ramonda saw his pain through the official etiquette. The two became close, and eventually fell in love: T’Chaka proposed to Ramonda, and she agreed to become the new queen of Wakanda, his wife. Life wasn’t easy for her at first, as Wakanda was an extremely xenophobic nation, and she was seen as an outsider despite her role, with a few recognizing her title and the respect that came from it. Nevertheless, she was a loyal wife and a wise queen, and she raised both T’Chaka’s sons, T’Challa and Hunter, as if they were her own. The only family member who fully accepted her and even befriended her was her brother-in-law, S’yan. She stayed by her husband’s side for years, until her past came knocking to her door in the form of Anton Pretorius, a white supremacist from her home country. Pretorius kidnapped the queen, and brought her back to South Africa, where he enslaved her and raped her repeatedly. The worst part of it was that nobody was looking for her, since Pretorius had set up things so that it looked like the queen had come back home on her own will to be with another man (thus confirming the Wakandians’ prejudices). After years of imprisonment, Prince T’Challa found out Pretorius’ ruse, and he tracked him down in his mansion: he defeated him and freed his step-mother, bringing her back home and telling her story to the king and to the people. T’Chaka took her back to his side, and finally the population came to accept her as a rightful queen. Not much time later, Ramonda gave a daughter to T’Chaka, Shuri.

The following years were quite trying for the queen and for Wakanda: King T’Chaka was killed by a foreigner mercenary, Ulysses Klaw, and the young T’Challa took his place in the lead of his country. Ramonda witnessed her step-son winning the title of Black Panther from his uncle, and she never felt so proud, nor so worried, as now her son wore the same target as her husband did. Despite the lack of blood bonds between them, T’Challa confirmed Ramonda in her title of Queen Mother, and always listened to her advices with attention; he also gave her the task of administering the country’s law in his absence, an occurence that started happening quite often, as he grew close to the United States of America and to its superhero community, especially the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. When T’Challa became engaged to an American woman, Monica Lynne, Ramonda strongly opposed this union, as she belived T’Challa needed a queen who understood Africa and its people. She was far more satisfied with T’Challa’s following girlfriend, Kenyan mutant Ororo Munroe, and she worked hard to make that relationship work, being overjoyed and proud when the two actually got married. Ramonda formed a strong bond with the new queen, and the two women became good friends, with the elder one helping the other to cope with the people’s mistrust she had known far too well in her youth. A steady member of the Taifa Ngao, the royal high council, Ramonda helped her son and her daughter-in-law in their government, and when T’Challa fell victim of an attack that sent him into a coma, she helped Ororo to rule on her own. She strongly opposed Shuri as she stepped up to take the mantle of the Black Panther for herself, but she supported both her and Storm in the fight against the invading tyrant Doom. In every possible circumstances, Ramonda stood by her son’s side, at least until the threat to his government came from the people itself…

Ramonda is a wise and strong-minded woman, a queen who had to win the trust and the respect of her people and who lived through a number of trials that would have broken the strongest men. Determined to serve her adoptive country as well as her step-son, Ramonda can be quite harsh on him when she believes he’s not to being giving his everything for Wakanda, but she’s the only one allowed to speak to the king the way she does without blame, after all, and T’Challa rightfully trusts her total dedication to the country and its people.

Okoye

Another character from the Black Panther trailer, again one of the feared Dora Milaje…actually, their leader, according to the character’s description: Okoye, portrayed by Danai Gurira. In the movie, Okoye will lead her female-only squad against several threats against T’Challa‘s rule over Wakanda, but apparently she’ll walk away pretty healthy from the many battles, as she’s already confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War (thus confirming that at least a part of it will be set in Wakanda). Now, waiting to know more about her role, or to see her directly on the screen, let’s take a look at the original Okoye.

Okoye was born in an unspecified location in Wakanda, a secluded and technologically advanced nation in Africa. When she was still a child, her village’s elders chose her to be one of the Dora Milaje, the “Adored Ones“, wives in training and bodyguards to the king. The order had been inactive for long, but the new king, T’Challa, reactivated it for solving the rising political discord within his kingdom: the Dora Milaje came from every tribe in the country, and the possibility of becoming queens gave every group a chance to approach the throne. Okoye moved to the Royal Palace, and she immediately bonded with the other girls with her, especially Nakie, a simple peasant who had developed quite a crush on the king. Unlike Nakia, who still dreamt of becoming the next queen, Okoye realised pretty early in her training that the king didn’t feel anything romantic for the girls, quite the opposite, he saw them more as if they were his children: she came to accept this without problems, focusing on her job as a bodyguard and training herself the best she could to be up to the task, but she found out that Nakia didn’t want to give up on her romantic fantasies towards the king, as she even put herself in danger just to attract his attention. Okoye stayed close to her and tried to dissuade her from her delusion, stating that it was obvious that the king wouldn’t have chosen any of them as his future wife, but Nakia was deaf to her friend’s wisdom, and eventually her romantic obsession turned violent, with her trying to kill T’Challa’s American girlfriend Monica Lynne. Okoye couldn’t do anything but to see her best friend exiled from the Royal Palace, but despite her feelings Okoye agreed with her king’s motives, and she remained loyal to T’Challa.

In the following years, Okoye gradually became one of the most apreciated (and skilled) among the Dora Milaje, often accompanying her king into some of his most delicate travels. To the public, she simply acted as T’Challa’s chauffeur, but when the king donned the costume and claws of his alter ego the Black Panther, Okoye was by his side as the warrior she had been trained to be. Not only loyal but devoted to T’Challa, she even abandoned her people language and she adopted her king’s one, Hausa. The most difficult moments, for Okoye, came when she found herself forced to fight against her former friend Nakia, now the villain Malice, but she was present also in a number of other occasions. Once, T’Challa brought her to Chicago to help him recruit a young woman in the Dora Milaje: the girl was of Wakandian origin, albeit she didn’t know it yet, the member of an enemy tribe who had worshipped the White Gorilla, and she had been raised by a warrior loyal to T’Challa, who had monitored her progressesses. With a vacant place in the Dora Milaje, Okoye arrived in Chicago where the girl, Chanté Giovanni Brown, had become the social activist known as Queen Divine Justice, and as soon as she agreed to follow T’Challa, Okoye became first her mentor, then her friend and teammate, with the two of them forming quite a formidable couple. When in New York City a new vigilante appeared, donning the Black Panther’s costume, T’Challa investigated on the matter, and brought Okoye along. It turned out the man was Kevin “Kasper” Cole, a cop who stood up to his corrupt superiors. Intrigued, T’Challa wanted to test the man to see if he was worthy of the suit he wore, so he sent Okoye as part of the trial. Okoye had to seduce Kasper, to see if he would have abandoned his pregnant girlfriend Gwen to stay with her instead, but the man passed the test by rejecting Okoye’s attentions, despite an obvious attraction to her. Later, Kaspar became the heroic White Panther, with Okoye not only serving a Panther, but now being responsible for giving birth to one.

In everything she does, in everything she thinks and says, Okoye is a Dora Milaje, a bodyguard fiercely devoted to King T’Challa, following him like a shadow and protecting him from any possible threat. As an Adored One, she’s one of the finest warriors in Wakanda, a martial artist with a mastership over traditional Wakandan weapons but also modern firearms; she’s also a skilled driver, unmatched in pursuits and races. One of the most dangerous women in her country, Okoye devotes every breath and every step to King T’Challa…may the enemis of the royal family be warned.