This was another issue from the free offering of Black Panther books from Marvel last month. It takes place prior to Black Panther #1, and focuses on the Dora Milaje, the personal bodyguards of the Black Panther and royal family of Wakanda.
Afua Richardson provided the cover to this issue, and the first striking thing about it is the colouring. It’s divided into three sections: one black featuring the Black Panther, one red featuring two of the royal guard, and one green featuring a mysterious woman. It’s pretty simple, yet still eye-catching.
Alitha E. Martinez and Rachelle Rosenberg handle the art and colouring respectively. Characters throughout the book are very well detailed, with scars and tattoos consistently placed and well done. In some scenes the backgrounds feature little to no detail, but I found this doesn’t detract from the book. Rather, it sharpens the focus on the characters themselves. The colour work is great, and this is a bright and colourful book. The vibrant hues used throughout draw in the eye, and I felt that the combination of bright colour and strong character detail helped keep me focused on the characters and the story itself.
Roxane Gay brings us this series focusing on the royal guard of Wakanda. I enjoyed the book. It begins with a class of trainees, as Captain Aneka puts them through their paces. A young woman named Ayo soon challenges her, and their relationship becomes combative until it becomes something more. The pacing of the flow of their relationship is done slowly, and takes place over about two-thirds of the book and several months of in world time. Before graduating the class is taken on patrol to find an Atlantean spy, which provides a burst of action before the issue comes to its conclusion.
The issue ends with setting up the main plot point for the series going forward: Namor is seeking the Avengers who are apparently hidden in Wakanda, and floods the capital. The next issue appears to be a conflict between the guards and the forces of Namor.
I enjoyed this book. The art drew me in, and the relatively straight forward story with a well plotted romance sub plot was fun to read. I liked the emphasis on human emotion and duty, and the conflict between the two.
I also enjoyed what felt like an additional bonus book at the end, focusing on a character that feels like she could be a villain. If you can find this one out there, I’d recommend taking a look!