Before Black Panther‘s Okoye became the fierce and morally strong warrior that we know her as today, the now-confident leader of the Dora Milaje faced some grounded and real-world challenges during her younger years as a kind of warrior-in-training, spending a span of time helping out teens in Brooklyn, apparently.
That’s the premise of an upcoming novel about Okoye, played in the Black Panther film by the excellent Danai Gurira from The Walking Dead, called Okoye To The People.
Marvel made the announcement about the novel, aimed at young adult readers, over Twitter today, saying it would be penned by New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi. Check out the cover art for the book below:
The story sees Okoye still trying to find her place in Wakanda’s royal guard. She is put on an assignment for her very first mission and one outside of Wakanda, finding that her status as a Dora Milaje is meaningless to New Yorkers.
She then meets a group of teens not much younger than herself who are struggling with issues related to the gentrification of their beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, soon unraveling a plot of a manipulative real-estate mogul pulling the strings near and far.
Speaking with Marvel.com, Zoboi explained the story is of the “fish-out-of-water” variety and one that forces Okoye to see the world with new eyes while trying to stay loyal to Wakanda.
“Young Okoye is a warrior in the making. She still has lessons to learn about herself and her place in the world. She wants to prove to both Ayo and King T’Chaka that she is worthy of her noble position, but she has her own mind. She observes things that are not quite right in Brownsville. Okoye is in a position of immense power to help these teens out, but she is loyal to the Wakandan throne.
Ultimately, she has to decide what and who she is fighting for outside of Wakanda’s borders. Okoye has self-doubt, big questions about the world, and is trying to understand where Wakanda fits into all of it. The teens, who are not much younger than her, force her to contend with herself in order to become a true Dora Milaje.”
The novel, set in the world of Black Panther, called Okoye To The People, hits shelves on March 1, 2022.