The Dora Milaje, the all-female army that protected the king in Marvel’s Black Panther, was heavily modelled after The Dahomey Warriors (also called Dahomey Amazons or Nonmiton), a historically influential all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey in the present-day Republic of Benin, which lasted until the end of the 19th century. In the comics, the Dora Milaje are no longer Wakanda’s special forces. They have their own lands now and are thus independent, though they remain tenuously loyal to the realm.
The author of the Dora Milaje’s story Nnedi Okorafor gave a breakdown of what to expect in the third installment of AVENGERS: WAKANDA FOREVER #1 in an interview with Marvel. For the past two issues, Nakia, former member of the all women army, goes on a rampage as the super villain Malice. Okoye, Ayo and Aneka have had to explore the ancient secrets of the Dora to stop her.
“The Dora Milaje have come to Brooklyn in pursuit of Nakia (AKA Malice) who has stolen a very powerful Wakandan weapon that is also a deep Dora Milaje secret,” Okorafor says to Marvel. “Because we’re in New York, several Super Heroes show up to help (including Storm, T’Challa, Rogue, and Nightcrawler), but only the Dora Milaje truly understand what’s going on—but now the Wakandan weapon that Nakia stole, called a Mimic-27, has gotten free of even Nakia’s control.”
Illustrated by artist Oleg Okunev, with cover art by Yasmine Putri and the second cover by Venesa Del Rey, Nnedi Okorafor says she wanted to explore the Dora Milaje having secrets and struggles beyond just being amazing warriors, and making and righting mistakes in the new series. “I wanted to look at who they were and who they have gradually become. A lot of these things are subtle in the plot but if you are willing to look at nuanced moments, you can expect to catch glimpses of the human beings these women are.
“I think the Dora Milaje are ready for any part of the world! They can deal with any culture, adjust to any environment, all while maintaining who they are. They’re that hardcore. They are more than warriors, so writing them having an adventure outside Wakanda wasn’t hard for me.”
Okorafor wrote the first issue of LONG LIVE THE KING, in Arusha, Tanzania where she imagines is close to the fictional African nation Wakanda. She has also written the other superheroes like Spider-Man, Nightcrawler and Storm from the X-men. The author is also working on a standalone series for SHURI.