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Review: Shuri #1

The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own.

Shuri has always been an interesting character when it comes to Black Panther. Often in the background, she became front and center when she took over the mantle and fronted the series for some time. I remember reading those comics and enjoying them as she found her own path in the role. Then, she sacrificed herself to be rescued by her brother eventually. Now, a spiritual connection between Wakanda’s past and the present the character interestingly dove into the spiritual side of the world of Wakanda.

With the success of Black Panther at the movie screen, Shuri has a following but her on-screen brilliant technologist doesn’t quite mix with her recent depiction as more of a spiritual guide. In Shuri #1 writer Nnedi Okorafor seems to bring those two sides of the character together into a blend. It works to some extent but the character is depicted as one side of that or the other without a good blend of the two.

There’s also the shadow of her brother T’Challa who’s experiencing a change of location and adventures in his own series, Black Panther. This first issue reads more as a companion to that filling in gaps and answering questions that readers of that series might have. Whether on purpose or not, Shuri living in the shadow of her brother is discussed through this first issue and the first issue feels like it lives in the shadow of the other series.

The art by Leonardo Romero with color by Jordie Bellaire and lettering by Joe Sabino is good. There’s some nice moments depicting the high tech feel of Wakanda and there’s more grounded moments like when Shuri’s walking through a market or a secret meeting in a field. It’s a style that I personally am not blown away by but others might. The design of Shuri is interesting in that it seems to mix her most recent more spiritual comic depictions with that of her on screen tipping the hat as to who this comic is aimed towards even more.

The first issue isn’t bad but it feels like it’s in the shadow of Shuri’s older brother T’Challa. Whether on purpose or not much like Shuri itself, it needs to come out of that shadow to stand on its own to succeed. The series as a whole’s success will rely on Okorafor’s ability to do that for the character.

Story: Nnedi Okorafor Art: Leonardo Romero
Color: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino Cover Art: Sam Spratt
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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