[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Shuri sees off T’Challa and Manifold whom are going on the first national space mission on behalf of Wakanda. The mission is supposed to be quick, but the Black Panther and Manifold disappear. Two weeks pass, and Shuri keeps herself busy with her engineering work. However, Wakanda, despite now being a constitutional monarchy, cannot go on without a figurehead. Queen Mother Ramonda calls a meeting of the smartest women in Wakanda.
Shuri #1 brings the spotlight back to Shuri, the younger sister of T’Challa, something that hasn’t really been done since Klaws of the Panther and stretches of Reginald Hudlin’s own Black Panther.
Anyone who read about Shuri in those titles or even paid attention to her character in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ more recent Black Panther title will notice some disparity in the character. Nnedi Okorafor is taking a few notes from Shuri’s representation by actress Letitia Wright in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther film.
That makes sense, as that was a great movie met with resounding praise, and Letitia Wright frigging nailed it as Shuri. That said, her Shuri is a bit cockier and joking than the Shuri of Marvel Comics, whom was more serious, spiritual, and often quite intimidating.
The result is something of a synthesis of the two. This isn’t a complete redux of Shuri’s role in Wakanda; the book goes to great lengths to fix itself in the existing Black Panther canon, even connecting itself to the current “Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda” story in Black Panther and paying many references to her arcs in the “Nation Under Our Feet” and “Avengers of the New World” BP stories.
So, does it all gel? Yes, easily so. There is little in the way of action or in-the-moment tension, but it’s a great introductory issue. You get to learn who Shuri is now and how she spends her time. She’s a great character, and Okorafor does a great job of showing it.
Leonardo Romero’s artwork is absolutely top-notch too. Those looking for a more classical comic aesthetic will certainly be pleased with the visuals of Shuri #1. It’s expressive, it’s flowing, and you’re never left wondering what is happening in a scene. Jordie Bellaire delivers excellent color work to boot, and the overall comic soars in terms of visuals.
Shuri #1 was a great start to this week’s new releases for me personally. It’s charming, sets up a few conflicts, and recreates Shuri in such a way that takes notes from both film and comic. The artwork is excellent too, and this book certainly earns a recommendation. I suggest giving it a read.
Shuri #1 comes to us from writer Nnedi Okorafor, artist Leonardo Romero, color artist Jordie Bellaire, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, cover artist Sam Spratt, and variant cover artists Travis Charest, Jamal Campbell, Skottie Young, John Tyler Christopher, Carlos Pacheco, and Rafael Fonteriz with Laura Martin.