Malika Warrior Queen Slashes Her Way into Bookstores Today!

8 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dark Horse Comics
Available Now

Volume One available to purchase on Amazon USA and Volume two (Dec 22, 2021) available to pre-order.

Malika Warrior Queen has a Dark Horse behind it to help captivate a new generation of readers about African history and mythology. This work really can’t be read in one night, but in what I could finish, I was amazed and educated at the same time. While the main protagonist is a Xena-like character, if I had to make comparisons, the real inspiration is with Queen Anima of Zazzau, a real warrior queen who lived in the 15th century.

Not everyone will know YouNeek Studio‘s teaser trailer to bring her story into the animated front. It has the feel of Black Panther’s world being further expanded upon. After all, Africa is vast, with many tribal nations covering the jungle and desert expanse. The wars they have amongst one another and within the family say it all. I can only imagine Frank Miller did a lot of research into the outlying regions to get a feel of how terrifying, dramatic, mystic and warlike this world was before deciding that a tale of the Persian Empire is easier. Writer Roye Okupe crafted a tale that’s nicely broken up into units, and I’m not finished with this saga to say how it all cumulates. The fact this this reprint is also venturing off into the future suggests fantastic things when considering the fate of this new ruler. 

The artwork by Chima Kalu shines because it’s rare to get a proper look at these civilizations most westerners are unaware of. They’re not stereotyped depictions, and we have a terrific diversity in seeing how their garb (sometimes royal) defines each nation. I was enamoured more with the sharp colour palette used in this graphic novel and the wardrobe designs than carefully following the tales. Each chapter outlines a specific tribe and the conflicts they are really facing before Malika enters the picture.

From the Press Release, the story synopsis is: 

Growing up as a prodigy, Malika inherits the crown from her father in an incredibly unusual way, splitting the kingdom of Azzaz in half. After years of civil war, Malika finally unites all of Azzaz, expanding it into one of the largest empires in all of West Africa–but expansion will not come without its costs. Enemies begin to rise within her council, and Azzaz catches the attention of one of the most feared superpowers the world has ever known: the Ming Dynasty! As Malika fights to win the clandestine war within the walls of her empire, she must also turn her attention to an indomitable and treacherous foe with plans to vanquish her entire people.

I’m hoping this work can get realized as a series. It’ll be a tough sell considering what the United States is like, but I’m hopeful. 

The pilot work stars Nollywood’s Adesua Etomi is the lead role. The cast includes Femi Branch, voicing Chief Dogbari, Deyemi Okanlowon, voicing the Wind Maker and King Bass, Blossom Chukwujekwu as Abdul and Sambassa Nzeribe, voicing General Ras.

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