Novelist Nnedi Okorafor, artist Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire and cover artist Sam Spratt come together to give Shuri, Marvel’s breakout character from Black Panther, a powerful and gorgeous comic of her own.
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.
Written by: Nnedi Okorafor
Art by: Leonardo Romero
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover by: Sam Spratt
Right from the start, it’s obvious writer Nnedi Okrafor is a novelist. Shuri #1 starts with a lot of text, and although it’s heavy on exposition, the writing is so good and the voice of Shuri so assured, that it feels less expository and more like someone you know talking to you and not at you. It’s not an easy feat, but Okorafor executes it just about perfectly. This Shuri may be influenced by the one in the Black Panther movie (the humor, the intelligence, the relationship with her brother T’Challa will be instantly recognizable to fans of the film) but she still has aspects that are much more deeply connected to the comics, especially the deep and wonderful mythology of Wakanda. There is a spirituality to her here that wasn’t explored in the movie, and it adds so much to her character. Plus, it’s not alienating to casual fans. It’s the right balance for someone who loved her in the movie who is looking for something more. The whole comic has that introductory vibe. But there are still some deep cuts for Marvel heads in there. The mutant Manifold is literally in the opening pages, and any comic that references a Jonathan Hickman character is a comic for comic book fans. ‘Nuff said.
This book also really focuses on the women of Wakanda, and fans of both the movie the comics know how important that has always been. It’s great to see it be such a big part of what Okorafor is doing, and makes the book not only about Shuri but about the women of Wakanda as well. Fantastic.
This comic is gorgeous. From the incredible cover by Sam Spratt to the elegant interior art by Leonardo Romero and the lush colors by Jordie Bellaire, this comic will knock you back with its visuals. The linework is crisp, the layouts are imaginative and inventive, and the pacing is fast when called for and pauses when it needs a moment to reflect. This is an art team working in optimum synchronicity. There is a standout sequence in the middle of the book that showcases Shuri testing some nanotech wings that is a show-stopping example of how to maximize comics storytelling on a single page. And a flash black sequence with Shuri and interrupting/saving T’Challa while he is training will leave you breathless with its use of color palette and negative/white space. This is some next level shit.
The Sam Spratt cover also has a life of it’s on its own. It’s the kind of image you want hanging on a wall on a fancy framed print. It’s more than a cover, it’s a literal work of art.
This series is off to a fantastic start. Shuri is such a great character, that it was about time she not only got her own book but one that is vital and important. That’s what Shuri #1 is and it’s a comic not to be missed.