Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 Review – Wishing Better for the Dora Milaje

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1
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Summary
Writer: NNedi Okorafor, Artist: Alberto Albuquerque, Color Artist: Erick Arciniega, Letters: VC's Joe Sabino, Cover by: Terry and Rachel Dodson, Variant Cover by: Yasmine Putri, Logo: Adam del Re, Design: Manny Mederos, Associate Editor: Sarah Brunstad, Editor: Wil Moss, Executive Editor: Tom Brevoort, Publisher: Marvel Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $4.99

A mysterious and gelatinous cloud begins absorbing people in Brooklyn, and it is controlled by Nakia, aka Malice, the former Dora Milaje. The Amazing Spider-Man arrives and tries to contain the creature. He fails to do so, and three Dora Milaje, Okoye, Ayo, and Aneka, come to his rescue. They know the creature; it is called Mimic-27. Malice escapes with the Mimic-27, and the Dora Milaje plan to investigate an underwater A.I.M lab where they know Malice found the creature. Spider-Man insists on coming too.

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson

I had hopes for Wakanda Forever given my own love of the Dora Milaje, helped along by the excellent performance of Danai Gurira as Okoye in the Black Panther film. Seeing the Dora Milaje team up with Marvel’s heroes is a pretty solid premise. Unfortunately, this comic falls short of my expectations by far.

Using Malice as the principle villain is the first misstep. Though I love Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run, the story of Nakia/Malice—the woman who went villainous because T’Challa rejected her—is pretty damn weak. Bringing her back and keeping the rejection motivation is not a good foundation upon which to build your story, especially when the comic is intended to be a celebration of strong women warriors like the Dora Milaje.

Mix that with the dialogue, which reads like the movie tie-in one-shots (think Ant-Man and the Wasp: Living Legends and Black Panther: The Sound and the Fury) doesn’t help. It’s not quite as wordy as those comics, but it has the same propensity towards cliché and bad jokes.

The Mimic-27 is an uninteresting weapon too. I’ve already read the next issue (sorry that this review is so late), and it is a less fun version of Amazo, the Super-Adaptoid, and Parasite.

Spider-Man is, by design, perfunctory to the story. He makes an odd quip and sort of helps in the A.I.M underwater lab, but that is stretching the term “helps” pretty far.

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 art by Alberto Albuquerque and Erick Arciniega
Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 art by Alberto Albuquerque and Erick Arciniega

The artwork leaves a lot to be desired too. Malice is supposed to be sick, but the artwork makes her look downright inhuman (not an Inhuman). The Dora themselves look decent enough. The design of Mimic-27 is pretty subpar. All in all, the visuals don’t elevate the already weak narrative in the slightest.

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 is a very dissatisfying solo outing for the Dora Milaje of Wakanda. Their personalities are stripped down, Malice would have been best forgotten or completely retooled, and the art is just not good. Give this one a hard pass.

It’s worth mentioning that Nnedi Okorafor is relatively new to the comics scene, and I don’t want to discourage any creator from continuing their travel down the comics path. Antar: The Black Knight is another of her work, and I enjoyed the first installment of it a good bit. I criticize comics because I want to see the medium continue to improve as well as to give my purchasing advice to the reader. This review is among my harsher ones, and I do stand by my opinion. However, I don’t want to discourage Ms. Okarafor or anyone from pursing or continuing to pursue a career in writing, drawing, inking, coloring, editing, lettering, or anything in comics. The same goes for artist Alberto Alburquerque, whose work I’ve criticized pretty heavily here too.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.