When this book was first announced there were a lot of opinions, many of which tilted in a negative direction. Questions arose like, “Why does Spider-Man even need to be in a book with the Dora Milaje?” Or, “Is this just a way to make money off Black Panther movie fans?” Personally, I think it’s cool the Dora Milaje are getting a book and getting to interact with big-time superheroes. That not only gives them more credibility as more than just guards — it also makes casual fans more aware of them.
So what’s it about?
Read all about it here.
Why does this matter?
This is the first part of a story arc that will bring the Dora Milaje in close contact with many superheroes. First, it’s Spider-Man, and up next Storm, but if you want to know why they’re zipping around America find out here first.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but was pleasantly surprised by how badass the Dora Milaje can be when on a mission that transverse state lines in America. Written by Nnedi Okorafor with art by Alberto Alburquerque, the story opens with an attack in Brooklyn which is where Spider-Man comes in. There are no accidental miscommunications or heroes fighting heroes. Spidey shows up, can’t cut it against a strange blob monster, and the Dora Milaje must come in and give him a helping hand. As the story unfolds we find out more about who the bad guy is as well as get a classic Spider-Man villain entering the mix. It reads like a fun crossover like the good old days of Marvel Comics.
The character writing is strong and helps remind folks these women are soldiers first, but also human too. In a key scene that humanizes them a bit, the Dora Milaje do some sightseeing. Okorafor writes some good dialogue for them and also keeps their advanced technology at the forefront too. They may be well trained with their spears, but they have many tricks up their sleeves.
Alburquerque draws a good issue that’s very clean and easy on the eyes. It has a superhero look and feel that suits the narrative. Spider-Man has a skinny look that makes him wirier. There’s also zero sexploitation going on which is appreciated.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you dig the Dora Milaje you’ll like this book, but it doesn’t have an urgency or premise that makes it all that necessary. It’s a light sort of crossover event series that helps bring the Dora Milaje closer to a mainstay superhero group, but the main villain isn’t someone people will know or care about. Part of the problem with how this story is plotted is that Spider-Man arrives first to the scene. The Dora Milaje could have used a scene prior to the action to help set up their purpose in America and further bringing the focus to them. There are some captions, but they’re a bit heavy and don’t give us a visual place to start with them. This would have reduced the tension in the opening scene, but it would have started things off with a focus the book seems to be lacking. The characters all do and say things, but for what end beyond chasing a McGuffin? That makes the narrative rather hollow.
Is it good?
A good issue that properly puts in place how flipping awesome the Dora Milaje can be. Without a doubt, this story is making a statement about this group of warrior women being not only an entertaining facet of the MCU but also an important one. Unfortunately, it’s done in a way that is light on purpose, giving the book a fun crossover feel but not much more.