Erika Hardison reviews Nubia: Real One…
Ever since Nubia: Real One was announced last year, the anticipation for the graphic novel continued to grow for fans who continue to champion diversity and media representation. In the initial press release, DC Comics only revealed the author, artist, a couple of non-spoiler panels and how important this book will be for not just Nubia fans but younger readers as well.
L.L. McKinney, author of A Blade So Black, and artist Robyn Smith teamed up to give the ultimate coming-of-age teen story of Wonder Woman’s twin sister, Nubia. Nubia is almost like the typical teen except she is taller and stronger than any of her peers—except her friends or peers have no idea how strong she really is. In fact, she is instructed to keep her her strengths and powers by both of her mothers. All of that changes when Nubia and her friends are hanging out and Nubia’s friends sees her crush. Nubia, is urged to awkwardly flirt with them. Instead, Nubia finds herself in the middle or a robbery where she has to decide if she should use her super human strength or not.
Nubia is faced with several dilemmas throughout the graphic novel. She wants to be a normal teen but she also realizes she can’t hide who she really is. However, being a Black teen makes her a target for situations even when all she wants to do is help her friends and save the day. Nubia, like most teens get frustrated because they quickly learn that life isn’t fair. But unlike other teens, Nubia has a twin sister that everyone adores. The story goes into more detail the reason they have such an age gap and it involves an evil god.
Nubia: Real One brings a refreshing take to marginalized superheroes that is usually not explored. With Nubia, we see her participating with peaceful protests, fighting abusers, stopping criminals and even being criminalized for just existing. This graphic novel explores the number of intersections Black superheroes would experience in our reality.
Some comic book fans may be turned off because they will complain that the issues Nubia has to face involves too many social justice topics. But aren’t superheroes social justice warriors by default? If they aren’t then what are they? What is the point of being a superhero if you your moral compass is on par with basic non-powered humans who lower their morale because they are trying to obtain power?
Nubia is an ideal read for middle grade and young adult readers who like or want to get into comics and graphic novels. But realistically, Nubia: Real One is for everybody. It’s for the people who crave more character development from their heroines. It’s also for the people who haven’t forgotten that superheroes are the first social justice warriors we loved.
Erika Hardison nerds out about books, superheroes and old-school cartoons. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Fabulizemag