Comic book reviews for Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1, Black Panther: World of Wakanda #2, and Black Panther: World of Wakanda #3 by Roxane Gay, Alithe E. Martinez, Yona Harvey, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Afua Richardson
Average rating: 3.75/5 stars
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1
Dawn of the Midnight Angels by Roxane Gay
Art: Alithe E. Martinez
A comic that’s a lesbian love story about the Dora Milaje by Gay? Yes, sign me up. There was no doubt I’d read this.
This book is the first time either of the big two comics publishers has hired a black woman writer. Yes, it’s still 2017, when you had to check the calendar real quickly. Way past time for Marvel to take this step. And while I’m happy for Gay and loved both her books, An Untamed State and Bad Feminist, she had to win all the awards before Marvel would take a chance on her. Unlike say all those white dudes it hires all the time who maybe published a mildly successful, mediocre indie comic or book. Gay is far overqualified for Marvel’s new hire standards.
Rant about publishing now over…let’s talk about the book itself.
I wasn’t really excited about the Dora Milaje training. It seemed like we were missing pieces of it because the story’s centered around Aneka and Ayo’s blooming romance. There were also side characters, such as Folami, who seemed interesting, but we just didn’t get enough time with them.
The student-teacher aspect of the romance was great. And it gave the book more of a risk than if they were both initiatives at the same time. The romance itself is cute, and they are both so obvious. Well, obvious to us readers anyway.
Martinez’s art reminded me of superhero cartoon styles over comics. (Which you know, they blend together.) But the individual panels seemed cartoon show angles.
The People for the People by Yona Harvey and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Afua Richardson
Zenzi’s story helped further show that Wakanada’s not all that great, no matter how self-righteous Black Panther gets. Her story is about being from a neighboring country who’s less prosperous than Wakanda.
I’m still a bit unclear how her powers work or really how she got them. This story wasn’t much of a linear narrative, but more about Zenzi’s inner struggle and ideals.
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #2 by Roxane Gay
Art: Alitha E. Martinez
This story’s pacing feels very off. Most of this issue felt like forced exposition — only in comic form — to catch us up on what’s happening with Shuri, T’Challa, and Wakanada from a civil unrest and royalty perspective.
I want Aneka and Ayo’s romance. Not this. I didn’t even feel there was progress on their romance. Their tension was basically nonexistent. At least in the epic love sense, which Coates’ Black Panther positioned them as star-crossed, forbidden love. If they defy their entire culture and their royal duties to be with each other, I need to feel that. Sadly, I just don’t. It makes me extra sad given how important this book is.
The Dora Milaje seem to be reassigned at random. I’m not sure why T’Challa considers those four his best protectors. We see distaste of T’Challa talking with Namor, who was responsible for so much death and destruction in Wakanda. However, we don’t know the women’s relationship with T’Challa from what’s here.
There is a lot of surface level action happening, but not a lot of depth. Aneka and Ayo, in particular, need to be more vulnerable than breaking their oaths to be possible wives for T’Challa so they can be with each other. I also have a ton of questions about how Wakanda treats queer women. There’s no way that Aneka and Ayo are the first lesbians or bisexual women to join the Dora Milaje and fall for each other instead of the king.
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #3 by Roxane Gay
Art: Alitha E. Martinez
I’m a huge fan of this issue. For sure, this hits all the marks on everything I like: lesbians and vacations. It was nice to see Ayo and Aneka be alone to bond and fall further in love together. Here were a lot of the missing relationship pieces I hadn’t seen before.
Here was also Aneka considering what it would mean to actually come out. To actually not be an option for T’Challa. I’m still surprised Zola didn’t sit them down and be like, “You two are adorable, and this is not the first time this has happened. Nor will it be the last.”
I do appreciate that Aneka’s hesitation is around her duty, not around her attraction to women. I’d be interested to learn more about why she became a Dora Milaje.
This issue was just lovely all around. I adored seeing them eat lunch in Central Park. See them be together. Even if they were interrupted by some assholes who think they’re entitled to women.
Folami is bad news. Zola hasn’t realized just how out of control she’s gotten. This is one of those times when a guardian figure doesn’t understand the extend of what’s happening. I’m surprised Zola didn’t drag her into medical immediately.
Like what you’re reading? Support this blog by contributing my Patreon. You’re the best!