Nubia: Real One

DC Comics. Feb. 2021. 208p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401296407.
Gr 8 Up–The world may laud white superheroes like Wonder Woman, but 17-year-old Nubia knows it’s different for Black girls like her. For her whole life, her moms have struggled to keep her safe—and to conceal her super strength and speed; even Black girls without superpowers are vulnerable in a world of systemic racism and misogyny, and paradoxically, Nubia’s abilities could make her a target. But during a convenience store robbery, Nubia inadvertently reveals her superpowers while protecting a friend. She soon learns that she’s the twin sister of Wonder Woman and discovers the strength to stand up against systemic racism in her town and to the increasingly violent bigotry of a school bully. A good friend with a kind and open heart, McKinney’s Nubia is a delightful take on a character long considered to be DC’s first Black female superhero. Her desire to combat injustice, combined with her longing for the typical teen experience, makes her the perfect 21st-century counterpart to Wonder Woman. Readers will appreciate the story’s mix of adventure and reflection, as well as the list of crisis resources at the book’s conclusion. Smith’s illustrations in pleasingly saturated sunset pastels set the mood for Nubia’s escapades, with charming and modern character designs that still put readers in mind of classic Wonder Woman stylings.
VERDICT A thrilling, timely, and thoroughly engaging full-length debut for a classic comic hero. No superhero collection is complete without Nubia.

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