Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms follows the sisters as they attempt to retrieve the heart of a planet for, well, we don’t know who. It’s important that they recover it because, well, we don’t know why. It’s not until the end of the book that we really come to understand the importance of their mission. Turns out this seemingly small tale is very important to the rest of the marvel universe!
[Warning: My review of Mackenzi Lee’s Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms contains some spoilers!]
Written by Mackenzi Lee, author of Loki: Where Mischief Lies, this important story is a little harder to settle into than the first in the series. It starts by following three separate storylines: the Grandmaster and his (initially) unknown guests, Gamora, and Nebula. Gradually the three separate stories become two, and then finally one story. This writing style gives a slower feel to the narrative because the reader never gets too far into one situation before being dragged away to the next.
The Grandmaster: an unnecessary diversion
The Grandmaster’s storyline is perhaps the most irritating to be pulled back to. Although the Grandmaster has some really funny lines, the attempted subterfuge around the identity of his guests is so thin that even someone only vaguely familiar with the characters will know right away that we’re dealing with Thanos. When his second guest is added to the mix, it takes only a short logical jump to assume she’s the Matriarch.
Personally, I could have done without these sections of the story. The little bit of information that is revealed there could have easily been conveyed to the reader through other means and it would have made the whole story more entertaining.
Gamora: our heroine?
Gamora is more interesting to follow. Lee starts the story from her point of view and this choice establishes her as the protagonist of the story. This is important moving forward because it also places her sister Nebula into the initial position of antagonist.
By being presented this way readers automatically think of Gamora as “good” and Nebula as “bad”. Even after the two join forces, Nebula’s actions are always suspect. The reader is just expecting her to betray Gamora. It really twists the perception of both their actions because in all honesty, when looked at objectively, Gamora is the disloyal “bad” sister when compared to Nebula.
Nebula: the villian?
Nebula is easily the most sympathetic character in the story once you divorce yourself from the protagonist-antagonist dichotomy that is laid out at the beginning of the book. Nebula is not exactly a nice character. She does her fair share of scheming and is not above using people to get what she wants. However her almost complete lack of trust coupled with her repeated attempts at trust with Gamora really speaks to the trauma she was put through at the hands of her “father,” Thanos.
Thanos did horrible things to both Nebula and Gamora. Some of these things are revealed through flashbacks. It makes you feel bad for both of the sisters to realize what they have been through. But at the end of the book, both show their true colors and I felt so bad for Nebula that I actually cried.
Sisters in arms: the challenge
This book is more than just a heartbreaking look into the dynamics of abused sibling relationships. The actual story revolves around Gamora and Nebula trying to secure the “heart” of the planet (no one is sure what that is) and deliver it to an unknown employer.
Gamora is the one originally conscripted to find the heart. Nebula follows her and clues her into the mission being part of a larger game. They decide to work together and use the heart as a bargaining chip to escape their father’s power. Things repeatedly break the wrong way for them but they persevere together. Just when it looks like they might win it all, well, let’s just say the house always wins.
A predictable story with a predetermined ending
Lee falls into the same pitfall with Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms that her other Marvel books landed in. Namely, predictability for the sake of canon.
Every time Nebula and Gamora seem to be healing their relationship and moving forward, the voice in the back of your head says “it can’t last.” Because we know how the two get along or don’t, at later points in time. So we know that one is going to betray the other. This doesn’t make the final betrayal any less heartbreaking but it does take away the shock.
Now admittedly, the book does reveal how a very important object came to be in Thanos’ possession. This object has a major impact on events in the entire Marvel Universe and it is interesting to learn how he came to have it. Does this make the entire book worth reading? I’m not convinced.
Overall, I can’t give Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms that high of a recommendation. The story is okay and I felt so strongly for poor Nebula. However, the multiple storylines and canonical needs kept me from really connecting to the story. If you love Guardians of the Galaxy or don’t mind a predictable storyline then this book will be great for you. If not, I would skip this one.
Have you read Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms? What did you think? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter! And if you haven’t already, check out my review on Mackenzi Lee’s other Marvel book Loki: Where Mischief Lies!