Ever since the release of the Black Panther film, people have fallen in love with Shuri, T’Challa’s tech-savy sister. While her own series may have seemed like a cash grab at first, this second issue continues to show Nnedi Okorafor is taking this project seriously but also having fun with it; making for a refreshing experience.
Since issue #1 primarily spent its time setting up Shuri’s life, this issue kicks things into a higher gear by having Shuri actually get out of Wakanda to start searching for her missing brother. Along the way she teams up with Storm (T’Challa’s wife) and Chief Ikoko (T’Challa’s ex). As you can imagine, #drama ensues.
What truly holds this issue together is Shuri as a character–her personality. She could have easily been a bland character just here to fill a diversity quota (not that diversity is a bad thing). Instead, Okorafor brings an exuberant optimism to the protagonist that has echoes of Spider-Man’s early days when there was still a magic to wall-crawling. We the audience feel just as exhilarated by Shuri’s inventions as she is to use them.
More than that, this series has refused to brush aside Shuri’s recent time in the Wakandan afterlife. Dying is easy and resurrection is easier in Marvel, but her brush with death and a new chance at life factors into Shuri’s thoughts and actions here in pivotal ways. I’m still not entirely sold on the spirits of the afterlife hovering around Shuri and giving occasional quips. Perhaps they will serve a stronger purpose going forward.
Comics can fall flat on their face early on because of more famous characters being shoe-horned in and stealing the spotlight away from the titular hero and plot. This is not the case here. The inclusion of Storm and Ikoko brings up conflict as well as how their unique powers can assist the protagonist on her journey.
Leonardo Romero’s art is stunning in its directness. His stark line work is elegant and is reminiscent of masters like Chris Samnee and Paul Azacata. Let’s not forget the colors from Jordie Bellaire, which highlight the earthy and shimmering palette of Wakanda in it’s Afro-futuristic glory.