At the heart of the Black Panther franchise is a cultural celebration of excellence and duty, and we got more of it with the Midnight Angels in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. An elite group of exceptional women who fought Namor and his Talokanil warriors to defend Wakanda. Their introduction in the film is reminiscent of the Dora Milaje’s first appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Just as then, they’ve captured imaginations and left fans with questions.
As always with new characters and elements in the MCU, the history goes back to the comics. Who are the Midnight Angels? What powers do they have, and how different are they from the Dora Milaje? We dive into their comic history to get a clearer picture of this new squad and how they might shape the MCU in the future.
The Midnight Angels’ Comic Origins
Twelve years before Ryan Coogler brought the Midnight Angels into the mainstream, Jonathan Maberry and Scott Eaton created them in the comics. They appeared for the first time in Doomwar #5 as a subgroup of the Dora Milaje, formed by T’Challa, to go after Doctor Doom for stealing Wakanda’s vibranium. In the storyline, they went on the mission alongside Deadpool because even when you’re the top 1% of the king’s guard, you need some help going against the ruler of Latveria.
The original Midnight Angels included Okoye, Aneka, and Ayo (Florence Kasumba), whose introduction in the MCU gave us the iconic line, “move. Or you will be moved.” Comic Midnight Angels were the most skilled of the Dora Milaje and its most opinionated. After the battle with Doom, in the Avengers vs. X-Men event, members of the Midnight Angels went against the Wakandan royal family. The group disapproved of T’Challa’s alliance with Namor as part of the Illuminati to protect the Earth from incursions. Aneka spoke out against the coalition, and in addition to defying royal order to kill a chieftain who oppressed women in a tribal village, she was imprisoned, and her Dora Milaje status was stripped away.
The decision didn’t sit well with fellow Angel and forbidden lover, Ayo. In response, she stole the armor developed for their mission against Doom and helped Aneka escape prison. Together, they opted to protect Wakandans on their own rather than follow the monarchy’s agenda. Aneka and Ayo went after bandits and leaders who attacked and endangered Wakandan women in Jabari-Lands. A few liberated women later got access to Midnight Angels’ armor, and a new roster of Midnight Angels was born, completely severed from the original’s loyalty to the crown.
What Powers The Midnight Angels Have In The Comics
Midnight Angels aren’t just an exclusive group within the Dora Milaje. They also have a distinctive look that gives them a greater power set. To fight Doctor Doom, Shuri designed special winged stealth suits that gave them enhanced strength, durability, and ability to fly. The Midnight Angel blue-colored suit is made with pure vibranium and has advanced offensive electric weapons; and like any self-respecting Dora Milaje, they also use Kimoyo Beads to communicate.
However, the most compelling power of the Midnight Angels is their exceptional combat skills. Trained by headmistress Zola, they are the elite group within an already elite squad. So powerful are their fighting capabilities that it’s been said that the Angels can go toe-to-toe with the Black Panther. In many ways, they are Wakanda’s own Avengers, complete with their own incisively named Quinjet, The Dagger.
How Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Midnight Angels Are Different
The Midnight Angels’ introduction in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is tame compared to their comic origins. For one, they were not introduced as much as the armored suit was, as Princess Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) project at the beginning of the film. A project that would later help members of the Dora Milaje fight Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and the Talokan army. That’s another way MCU Midnight Angels are different from the comics version: the Midnight Angel suit was initially used to fight Namor instead of Doctor Doom.
But while Black Panther 2’s interpretation of the Midnight Angels’ emergence is different, it maintains its members’ independent-mindedness and rift with the royal family. Even if it’s for a non-comic-accurate disagreement. In the film, Queen Ramonda strips Okoye (Danai Gurira) of her rank as the general of the Dora Milaje for losing Shuri to the Talokanils. Regardless, it leads to the formation of MCU’s Midnight Angels. To prepare for the film’s climax battle with the Talokanils, Shuri gives Okoye the Angel suit, and the former general recruits Aneka to join her two-women team. This is another way the MCU version is different: instead of being selected by T’Challa, Okoye recruited the Midnight Angels.
When The MCU’s Midnight Angels Can Appear Again
At the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we see Okoye breaking Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) out of custody on his way to prison while wearing the armor. While this is undoubtedly not the last we expect to see of the Midnight Angels, there are plenty of opportunities for them to show up again. A strong likelihood is in the proposed Okoye-focused Disney+ spin-off series. The show could explore what makes the Midnight Angels lore great: a group of revolutionary women who stood up for the Wakandan people against the powerful royal family.
But there’s yet to be a release date for such a series. However, given this is the MCU and crossovers happen all the time, Secret Invasion and Captain America: New World Order are possible places to keep an eye out for these badass women. One thing is for sure, wherever and whenever it happens, the Midnight Angels are here to stay.
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