The Black Panther is gone, leaving Shuri to lead Wakanda on her own.
Princess Shuri is back from the dead. She has returned from the Djalia, the plane of Wakandan memory, with the spirits of her ancestors inside her. Things aren’t all back to normal, though. Nearly as soon as she returns, she is forced to become the leader of Wakanda while her brother is missing.
Shuri Volume 1: The Search for Black Panther | Written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire
King T’Challa of Wakanda is lost in space after flying into a wormhole in a ship of Shuri’s making. To get him back, Shuri astral-projects into the body of Groot and fights an enormous, music-hungry, black-hole-creating space-grasshopper.
Shuri would rather focus on getting her brother back, but her mother and her council of wise women pull her into politics and beg her to take up the mantle of Black Panther. Shuri died the last time she became Black Panther, so she doesn’t want to go through that again. But what does her country need from her?
Shuri remains in the shadow of T’Challa
The great tragedy of this volume is the impression it gives that whoever was in charge doesn’t think Shuri can hold up her own series. There are many celebrity guests, from Groot to Iron Man and the main plot is still about T’Challa. This all seems like it was thrown in to address insecurity about readership. Shuri is a genius, a leader, and designated by the Ancestors as the vessel of Wakandan history. Shuri can easily sustain her own series.
The volume shines when it’s addressing Wakandan (and Pan-African!) politics and spirituality. If anyone can dig into these two topics, it’s Nnedi Okorafor, the Hugo Award-winning author of the Afrofuturistic novel, Binti. Okorafor does incredible work breathing life into Wakanda, Shuri, and the women who help her along the way. The comic gets wordy at times, but authors-turned-comic-book-writers’ first works often show the same conflict.
Leonardo Romero’s art and Jordie Bellaire’s coloring are unique and enchanting. The art shocked me out of complacency at first because it is almost blocky. The colors are bright and rich and unafraid. Both aspects made the book an enjoyable read despite any story issues.
Shuri may remain in the shadow of other heroes in this volume, but my hope is that she comes into her own as her run progresses.
Shuri Volume One: The Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire is published by Marvel Comics and is available to buy NOW!
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