Review: Shuri Volume One: Search for Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor, Jordie Bellaire and Leonardo Romero

Black Panther is one of the best solo Marvel movies. Fight me. Wakanda forever and if Okoye punched me I would thank her for it. So when one of my favourite SFF authors was wriitng about T’challa’s genius sister on top of it, you bet I was on board. But, this wasn’t great.

The world fell in love with her in Marvel’s Black Panther. Now, T’Challa’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures — written by best-selling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner Award-nominated artist Leonardo Romero! T’Challa has disappeared, and everyone is looking at the next in line for the throne. Wakanda expects Shuri to take on the mantle of Black Panther once more and lead their great nation — but she’s happiest in a lab, surrounded by her own inventions. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them down! So it’s time for Shuri to go rescue her brother yet again — with a little help from Storm, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, of course! But when her outer-space adventure puts the entire cultural history of her continent at risk from an energy-sapping alien threat, can Shuri and Iron Man save Africa?

Okay hear me out when I say it may have been my own expectations that led me to not enjoying this book so much. Shuri reads even better on the page as she did on the screen, the presence of other Marvel characters such as Storm was excellent and the art was perfect. I still somehow felt a little left down by this somehow.

This is my first time reading any Black Panther/Wakanda comics and I specifically wanted to start here since I have really enjoyed Okorafor’s SFF novels and novellas so that definitely made me more inclined to start here. You can definitely start here if you have very little starter knowledge outside of who Shuri is or even a passing knowledge from the films. The world itself felt very real and that combined with the art, it really gives Wakanda an even greater sense of scale. However it did feel that all the world-building was very fleeting, like you would see the place and boom. Next panel.

Something I did enjoy most of all were the characters. Shuri is the leader of this story but we do get to see more characters I wish we had gotten to see a little more of, Storm and Okoye for one. A few other familiar characters that Shuri interacts with really well like Groot and Rocket of Guardians fame. I love Shuri a lot, the version of her is great as, if not better than, the version of her from the movie. I think she is very realistic and very strong in her resolve of no. She won’t be the Black Panther again. I do think she could have done with more of an external conflict though outside of being made ‘do the thing’. Her internal struggles with taking up the mantle again (she died in all fairness the first time) are all totally believable with real struggle. But other than she being the ‘princess’ and ‘the genius’, she faced very little outer challenge.

The biggest plus and the biggest minus here was the art vs the story. The art being some of the strongest elements here along with Shuri’s characterization. This is very much a story pitched for the younger/teenage audience for Marvel and that is great since through out there are further references to other Black Panther series the reader can find. The vibrancy of the world, the clothes and just how much more technologically advanced Wakanda is are all made the brighter by the art. However as with all comics, no art can carry a weak story. The story never focuses for long on any one plot point and by the end, the story goes in the direction it was going in the first place.

All in all this was a promising beginning to what could have been a very strong series but it fell down in a lot of places. I really struggled to review this but mostly since I feel very meh about the entire book. I am however definitely going to continue to read Nnedi Okorafor’s work and more Black Panther comics so it’s not all bad. Thanks for checking out this review! Happy reading all!

★★.5/5

Sci Fi Books Written by Women Authors that I Loved

In case you are new here, hi I’m Hedwig and I’m a lady that loves scifi and fantasy. I have also read an eclectic amount of both scifi, fantasy and horror written buy some wonderful women. I feel like sometimes I have read books that very few people seem to talk about that would make great books for discussions about various aspects of scifi.

So here I am with another list of some of these books that are firm favourites of mine that I’d love to be able to discuss with others at some stage. Just a not that I didn’t include Margaret Atwood since she is pretty well known. These are also just very good books you should check out anyway;

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse: You have no idea how quickly I voted for this in the Hugo awards. This book follows Maggie Hoskie, a monster hunter of the Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation). The world we know has ended, destroyed by climate change and overrun with monsters, Gods and other entities. Maggie is then tasked with finding a missing girl and uncovers a much bigger threat to the entire tribe that she alone can fight. This book is AMAZING. Native culture is wonderful and not ever publicised enough in literature. All of the supernatural figures are not your usual greek or roman creatures which makes for a much more interesting book.
  • Kindred by Octavia E.Butler: Yes she may be known as Dame Octavia but noone is talking about her half as much as they should. This is the story of Dana who while moving into her new home with her husband, falls down nauseous and dizzy and wakes up in a river in 19th century Maryland which is a dangerous place for a black woman. Dana and her husband have to figure out why she is time travelling back to the antebellum South and how she can stay alive while she is there. This book is a hard but fantastic read. You are literally praying for Dana’s safety anytime she jumps back, you can’t put it down and the scenes are very raw descriptions of the tortures endured by people of colour during this time of slavery. Also a good introduction to Butler as an author.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: No. I won’t shut up about this book. This books details the mission of human male Genly Ai. Ai is an agent for the Ekumen, an intergalactic counsel and has been tasked of convincing the planet Gethen (or Winter) to join the council. Gethenians have no gender, choosing to be male or female once a month during a period known as ‘kemmer’ and we follow Ai on his mission to both learn and navigate his way on Gethen. Never has this book been more relevant with its questions of gender, sexuality and the nature of war. This a powerful, quick read that mixes political machination with growing a relationship with someone from a world you know nothing of.
  • The Beauty by Aaliah Whiteley: A short but powerful story that is firmly within the New Weird category, within this world all the women are dead. Taken by a sickness, the men that are now left are living with the Group in the Valley of the Rocks. Nate is the storyteller of the group and relives memories of days past each night with the Group. How will they continue in a world without women? I won’t say anymore and will firmly remind you this is a book within the New Weird so it is WEIRD. It’s so well written and has a very very different outcome to what you may consider could be in the book. There are some very relevant questions in this book about societal structures, politics and gender roles in society. Definitely worth a read.
  • Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill: One of Cork’s own writers, this is a young adult book that hits very hard. In a future world, girls are created in labs, made for men and educated for their pleasures. All girls are numbered, rated and punished when not ‘suitable’. This book follows Freida as she and her closest friend, Isabel, approach their final year. Then Isabel starts putting on weight. Then she disappears briefly. Then the boys arrive and Frieda may have to do the unthinkable to survive. I read this book in a night and cried for ages after finishing. O’Neill has written other books that push subjects that need to be discussed such as date rape, love and bodily autonomy but nothing will haunt you as much as this future that remakes The Handmaids Tale into something scarier.
  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor: Phoenix is a 2 year old woman with the body and mins of an adult and a product of New York’s Tower 7. Phoenix lives in the tower with other ‘accelerated humans’ and questions nothing about her life. Until her partner, Saeed, commits suicide at a result of seeing something horrible Phoenix then begins to realise her home is prison and she will soon discover her true power and how she will change humanity forever. I love Nnedi Okorafor’s book and this is no execption. The world building ,the characters and the writing are so vibrant with a very powerful presence on the page. This book moves from America to Africa and is a prequel to Okorafor’s other novel Who Fears Death. Phoenix is an angry, powerful character who questions everything around her and stands by her decisions and her mistakes.

So theres my list, I’ll be making one for my fantasy recs as well as horror but I think that there is something in here for everyone.

Do you have any books that are less hyped scifi? Do you have any favourites? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Thanks for reading guys!