It’s time for another visit to Wakanda in Marvel’s latest Black Panther spinoff. T’Challa 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 been an active character in the Black Panther series since her debut in Reginald Hudlin’s 2005 series and even took on the mantle when T’Challa was briefly depowered. But her breakout role in the 2018 Black Panther film has garnered her a new legion of fans which has led to this new ongoing series from bestselling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and Hawkeye artist Leonardo Romero that ties into Ta-Nehisi Coates current epic Black Panther run.
In the film, Shuri stole every scene she was in with her deep understanding of Wakandan science whilst possessing an intellect and wit that rivals Tony Stark’s. Okoraforvery much plays up this aspect of the series, giving Shuri plenty of opportunities to showcase her technical prowess including plenty of new equipment like her nanotech wings and teaming up with Iron Man to stop a black hole that appears in Timbuktu (not to mention joining the shortlist of characters that can communicate with Groot). Along with this, given that Shuri has recently returned to the world of the living, Okorafor uses this opportunity to balance the more serious persona she had in previous runs by bringing in the healthy dose of snark her character possessed in her Marvel Cinematic Universe portrayal to add an extra layer of likeability to the character.
This opening volume continues the strong trend of showcasing the inner workings of Wakanda from all hierarchal and political standpoints. But more importantly, it gives Shuri a chance to establish herself as more than a stand in for T’Challa. With the current Black Panther missing in space, both senior Wakandan figures and citizens alike expect Shuri to take up the mantle once again, but Shuri turns down the opportunity feeling that she would just be standing in T’Challa’s shadow if she assumed the role again.
The team of Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire are also key factors in this opening volume’s success. Romeo has an elegant style that is perfect for the more nuanced moments that make up a large portion of the volume (although he is easily able to amp it up for the more action-oriented moments) whilst Bellaire continues to demonstrate why she’s one of the best colourists in the business with a perfect balance of subtle and vibrant colour choices.
Any fans of Shuri’s recent MCU outings won’t want to miss this series and anyone following Coates’ current Black Panther run should definitely pick it up.
Shuri: The Search for Black Panther is out now from Marvel
9781302915230 – P/B £13.50
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