Originally released as a digital exclusive, this issue of Daughters of the Dragon contains parts three and four of a six-part tale. Apart from the odd mention of a previous adventure here and there, however, you can dive into this issue cold. Not only that, whether you’ve read the previous chapters or not, if you pick up this issue you’ll be treated to a fast-paced buddy-cop adventure that might as well be a standalone story.
The beauty of these physical reprints is that you get 40 pages of story for your price, which is a genuine value considering the ever-increasing price of the standard length issues on the shelves next to it. Despite the inflated page-count, this issue flies by. The plot is broken down the middle with a fun cliffhanger, but otherwise this is a cool done-in-one tale that reads like a two-parter in the middle of a season. There’s a mysterious villain that was hinted at in last issue, the identity of which will be resolved in the next. In the meantime, Misty and Colleen are joined by Nick Fury Jr. to bring down a deadly assassin hired to take them out.
After a scene showing us just how evil the assassin really is, the action kicks into high gear when everyone visiting a miniature golf course turns out to be Hydra agents who gang up on Colleen and Misty while they’re playing a harmless round. They manage to escape to find Nick Fury Jr. waiting for them, who fills them in on the plot. Rutherford Winter -- the assassin in question -- is after the codes to an orbital WMD, and he’s been promised them if he takes out the Daughters of the Dragon. His mysterious employer is the same shadowy figure that’s been chasing Colleen since issue 1, and now that Winter is after them, folk like Hydra and Nick Fury are keen to stay close to them in order to get to the infamous assassin.
It’s a fairly involved plot, but allows for constant movement as the two leads barrel headlong from one problem to the next. From dealing with Hydra, to being sniped at on the freeway; from the appearance of Taskmaster, to a dramatic showdown in front of the Hollywood sign, Daughters of the Dragon is paced like an action movie, and revels in every blood-soaked trope.
Jed MacKay’s script shines; the dialogue flows naturally and smoothly , and the light ribbing between Colleen and Misty shows how close they are as friends and partners. This is a funny issue, too, with quips flying back and forth that’s fun but never undercuts the drama. As the plot progresses, the weight of what’s really going in starts to land until the truth is finally revealed, and when the dust has settled there are ramifications for the future of the Marvel Universe, albeit in a small, subtle way.
The art team of Joey Vazquez and Craig Yeung manage to not only keep up with the frenetic script, but the pacing is strongly established from the first page and carries you through effortlessly. The action scenes are exaggerated just enough to make you feel the dynamic movement of every scene, and the buddy-cop action movie vibe of the plot is recreated well on the page. There’s a keen eye towards facial expressions, too, which elevates the comedic moments and dramatic, emotional moments alike. The strongest aspect of the art is perhaps the perspective play, which is evident in almost every scene. From the start, when Misty aims a golf club threateningly towards the reader, to moments of cars driving towards you, and even one scene involving a toy Baby Groot flying out from the page, all you’re missing is the 3D glasses for this to get any closer to reaching out at you. It works, though, and the action continually makes efforts to draw you in and involve you in subconscious ways, making the whole issue feel more engaging.
Much like digital first series that have come before it (X-Men ‘92, Immortal Iron Fists, Jessica Jones), the quality of Daughters of the Dragon is so good that it makes you wonder why this wasn’t given the largest possible reader base from the start. Marvel always seem to adapt their digital series into physical fairly quickly, but if you’re the kind of person that sleeps on their digital first output then definitely seek out this series, in whichever format that works best for you. Daughters of the Dragon is a fun and fast-paced action movie of a comic, and you’ll want to be along for the ride.