Fans of the Black Panther comic books met a different version of Nakia in last year’s Black Panther movie. The movie version of Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, had a much better, more thoughtful story arc that does smart girls around the world some justice. Movie Nakia was a spy, and a worldly independent woman who loved T’Challa, but wasn’t sure that being his queen was what she wanted for her life. Nakia was a free spirit on a mission to liberate people of the African diaspora around the world. So, she took off and got to work. As we know, it took T’Challa a while to understand her philosophy, but got there eventually. However, Nakia wasn’t about to wait for anyone. T’Challa loved that about her but it was also to his chagrin because while he did love her and wanted her to be his queen, he also wasn’t about to keep her from chasing her dreams.
The comic book version of Nakia is a lot darker. Nakia, aka Malice (we’ll get to the Malice part in a minute), was created by Christopher Priest and Mar Texeira. Her first appearance was Black Panther Vol. 3 #1 (1998). Nakia was among a select group of young women chosen to serve in the Dora Milaje. She lived a lavish life in the Royal Palace of Wakanda from her teen years until adulthood. During that time, she became increasingly more obsessed with T’Challa and openly fantasized about marrying him. She even threw herself 50 feet into a shallow pool so that T’Challa would save her, which he did. He also administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation much to her excitement.
However, T’Challa never liked the old rule of how the Dora Milaje operated so he gave the squad a makeover. The Dora Milaje, under T’Challa’s, rule became fierce warriors, just as we have come to revere them from the movie, and there were no obligations of marriage or even sexual relationships. Obviously, Nakia was pissed. She did not like the changes that T’Challa wrought because she felt like it was her birth right to be with the king. Nakia ended up becoming one of his fiercest bodyguards, thinking that she could somehow impress him enough to fall in love with her, but T’Challa had different plans for his love life.
Storm is his most famous lover (they even went on to get married…and then divorced), but before Storm there was Monica Lynne, an American jazz singer whom Nakia attempted to kill unsuccessfully. That is a long story but the gist of it is, Monica had to accompany T’Challa back to Wakanda for her safety (from Black Panther villain Achebe), but Nakia ejected her from a Talon fighter and later lied to T’Challa claiming that Monica was dead (Monica ended up being saved by Killmonger and used as a pawn in his rivalry with T’Challa, but that’s another story). T’Challa saw through her and dismissed her from her Dora Milaje duties.
Nakia fled the palace, disgraced and shunned by her fellow Wakandans. She got kidnapped by Achebe, who tortured her and left her to die but Killmonger, once again, came to the rescue. He restored her to health using the powers of the Altar of Resurrection and in the process granted her increased strength and speed. He also gave her a new name, Malice, after his former protégé.
Malice became a supervillain with an arsenal of weapons and access to a toxic herb called Jufeiro, which makes men become as obsessive about her as she was Black Panther. She embarked on a quest for revenge against T’Challa and by extension, the women in his life, including, Queen Divine Justice, Ramonda, Okoye, and even Maria, one of his former students from when he taught in Harlem (T’Challa has lived many lives).
Malice was a formidable foe who aligned herself with Wakanda enemies like Man-Ape (M’Baku) and whoever else she could as she created chaos for Wakanda at home and abroad. After going on a rampage and poisoning several people, Malice finally came face to face with the Black Panther. He lead her to believe that she had successfully captured him but he turned the tables. They ended up fighting on a speeding truck and he told her that he would destroy her native village back in Wakanda if she did not give him the anecdote to save her victims. Malice relented but not without drama. She kicked Black Panther off of the truck, tossed the anecdote at him and then jumped off and vanished.
Her whereabouts or whether she is dead or alive are unknown in the comic world. Knowing Marvel, she might make a comeback.
Which version of Nakia do you like better, comic book or movie?