What If…? Episode #6: the Rise of Shuri and Pepper

by Matt Tuck

091521A-300x157 What If...? Episode #6: the Rise of Shuri and PepperKillmonger returned in the latest What If…?, rewriting Marvel’s cinematic history and laying the groundwork for Shuri to become Black Panther. Here’s a look at what might be hot after What If…? Episode #6. Warning: Here may be spoilers!

The What If…? picture is becoming more clear. After Marvel Studios released its mid-season trailer for the second half of the alternate take on the MCU, all those cliffhangers and loose ends were just the beginning. As the series moves into its second half, What If…? will return to those same adventures and hopefully supply proper endings.tony1200-300x167 What If...? Episode #6: the Rise of Shuri and Pepper

In Episode Six, we see what would have happened if Eric Killmonger had taken a different path into Wakanda than what we saw in Black Panther. After rescuing Tony Stark in Afghanistan, Killmonger manipulates his way into Stark Industries and orchestrates a war between the United States and Wakanda by killing T’Challa, Rhodey, and eventually Tony. He plays both sides against each other, setting the stage for him to seize the Wakandan throne by the episode’s end.

Where the comic speculation comes into play is in the closing moments. A much younger Shuri reveals to Pepper Potts that Killmonger is behind the war, and the two begin to join forces. That should lead to a full episode with Shuri and Pepper moving up to full superhero status as Black Panther and Rescue, respectively. When the second half of “King Killmonger” airs, these are the issues you will want to own.

Black-Panther-Annual-1-2008-194x300 What If...? Episode #6: the Rise of Shuri and PepperBLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1 (2008)

Much has been written about Shuri’s first appearance in 2005’s Black Panther #2 and her ascension to Black Panther in Black Panther #1. Because of the ample gossip that says she will be the next MCU Panther, those issues are not trade secrets. Instead, let’s look at an issue that better coincides with What If…?, Black Panther Annual #1. 

Like the Disney+ series, BPA #1 presents an alternate reality in which Shuri becomes Black Panther. Although noncanonical, this is the first time she was seen in the Panther costume, and that will make it a good pickup.

There hasn’t been a graded 9.8 sold this month, but an August 20 exchange netted a new record of $385. That may not seem like a bargain until you compare it with Shuri’s other keys. The most recent sale for a 9.8 Black Panther #1 (2009) was for $600 while her debut in BP #2 brought $1,100 on August 24.

Invincible-Iron-Man-10-2009-2nd-print-197x300 What If...? Episode #6: the Rise of Shuri and PepperINVINCIBLE IRON MAN #10 SECOND PRINT (2009)

Again, this is nothing we haven’t already seen; Pepper wore her very own Iron Man armor and fought in Endgame. While she was featured in the battle with Thanos’ army, there was too much happening for her to be primarily spotlighted. That will likely be remedied in the second half of “King Killmonger.” I expect that when Shuri becomes the Black Panther, Pepper will discover that Tony had secretly crafted an armor for her. That will give us Pepper’s transformation into the superhero, Rescue.

Since Pepper debuted the Rescue armor in Endgame, Invincible Iron Man #10 already had a price jump from that onscreen appearance. Since Pepper has not been seen in live-action since that movie, values have cooled, which is good for buyers. Raw copies of the standard cover generally sell for around $15, although one that was described as near mint broke the mold and sold for $40 on September 7. 

Most collectors prefer the second print with Pepper and her Rescue armor on the cover. Lucky for you, hardly anyone is paying attention to this issue at the moment, keeping prices low. A graded 9.8 last sold for $140 in February. More recently, a 9.6 brought $56 on April 25.


As the mid-season trailer indicated, there is much more to come for these initial episodes of What If…?. Even if Shuri is not aged up by the second half of “King Killmonger,” I still believe she will inherit the Black Panther throne and challenge her cousin. I fully expect Pepper to be in her Rescue armor for the episode, and the two will take down King Killmonger. That should be enough to give those key issues a momentary spike in fair market values.

What are you buying after What If…? Episode #6? Let us know in the comments!

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