Nubia: Real One is a book that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Nubia as a character does NOT get enough love or airtime in my opinion, so it is brilliant to see her as a lead character in a graphic novel like this.
Just a little bit about the cover which is by Robyn Smith with colours by Bex Glendining. I feel this perfectly captures the tone and attitude of the character and the book as a whole, which is a great touch. Can we also get a round of applause for the detail on the hair texture here though? As someone with very curly hair, it is rare that I see an artist really nail the Afro hair texture.
Nubia: Real One is an origin story like no other. We really get to see her blossom and we experience her origin story first hand. It’s rare that we learn the true back story of a character at the same time they do, personally I think it’s really refreshing and is sure to inspire a new wave of Nubia fans – myself included.
Writer L. L McKinney has clearly been inspired by recent events and goings on in the world, everything about Nubia: Real One is just so relevant. It is great to see these issues, such as police brutality, shootings and ‘casual’ community racism, tackled and truly addressed in a superhero book about a black character. I personally think Nubia was and is the perfect choice to be the one to tell these stories.
As well as that, this book also tackles the troubles that a real teenager has. Though Nubia clearly has superpowers, there is a lot that she goes through as a teenager and a lot that her friends (who do not have these powers) are able to do to help the situations. Whether that is calm her down, make her feel at ease or protesting for their basic rights. It’s so powerful and though Nubia will inspire her readers, the supporting characters do too.
Like I said before, Nubia: Real One breaks all the norms. I really don’t think I’ve read a comic book where a lesbian couple take on a joint-mom role and in a weird way, it really shouldn’t be refreshing. It should be normalised and that is exactly what this book does.
The dialogue throughout is so relatable and so realistic. I hear so many people genuinely speak like that, and for me that just makes it easier to read. It’s great to see slang, shortened words and curse words used in such a real context. This can also be said for the way that the characters interact with each other, again it’s so authentic and it just works.
Though Nubia is sadly a character that isn’t as well known or as loved as her counter-part, it’s safe to say that this book really does breathe fresh life into her. It’s the perfect portrayal of the character to enable both new and old audiences to fall in love with her. I for one will be taking it upon myself to find out more about this character. Whilst I am aware of her and her back story, she isn’t one that I tend to ‘specialise’ in, so I cannot wait to get to know her better.
The artwork by Robyn Smith is just so fitting for the target audience. It instantly takes me back to the 90’s and I love that! There are aspects of it that really remind me of Groovy Chick too, which for those that aren’t aware of it was a huge hit in the UK around the 00’s. It’s so playful and does a fantastic job of showcasing the characters personalities, thoughts and feelings. The artwork is really enhanced by the pink flushed colour palette throughout, which I adore. It adds a real feminine touch to it, but also transports me nostalgically back to the 90’s. Brie Henderson, Robyn Smith and Bex Glendining have done a great job on the colours in this book, that’s safe to say.
Nubia: Real One breathes fresh life into an underrated character. It tackles real and important issues without feeling too heavy and despite those issues taking centre stage this is an really entertaining, action packed and inspiring read.
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