REVIEW: ‘Nubia: Coronation Special,’ Issue #1

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Nubia Coronation Special #1 - But Why Tho

Nubia: Coronation Special #1 is published by DC Comics. The special is written by Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala and illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage with Colleen Doran, Darryl Banks, Jill Thompson, and Alitha Martinez. Sauvage, Doran, Thompson, Hi-Fi, and Alex Guinmares handle colors while Becca Carey handles letters. Following the events of Trial of the Amazons, Nubia prepares to take her crown as Queen of the Amazons and lead the three united tribes of Amazons. Before she can ascend to the throne, she must confront the trials of her past. And, a glimpse into the future may also show what kind of Queen she truly is.

When I interviewed Williams about her long-term plans for Nubia, she said that the biggest draw of writing the character was that she was an unknown. And I totally get that. While big-name characters such as Batman and Spider-Man come with a mountain of expectations from fans, other characters don’t have that expectation and therefore writers have a clean slate to work with them. Williams and Ayala have taken advantage of this, fleshing out Nubia’s character with the Nubia and the Amazons miniseries, as well as Trial of the Amazons. Now, they decide to dive further into Nubia’s past, including one of her past lives and her first-ever visit to Man’s World. The latter is especially important, as it shows how people view Nubia as a Black woman first and an Amazon second, and their predictable reaction. “I learned that Man’s World isn’t ready for me… yet,” Nubia tells one of her fellow Amazons after she travels back to Themiscyra. It’s one of the quieter, more contemplative moments in the special.

Like Trial of the Amazons, the Coronation special features a collection of artists, each tackling a different story in Nubia’s history. Sauvage illustrates the majority of the issue, with her artwork giving Themiscyra the otherworldly vibe you’d expect from a magical island populated by warrior women. Doran illustrates Nubia’s past life as a warrior named Zahavah in Madagascar, who has a massive leopard named Azuri for a pet, leading to some battle sequences that would put 300 to shame. Banks, best known for co-creating Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, delivers a realism to his segment that fits Man’s World. And finally, Thompson illustrates a segment that shows Nubia’s reign reaching far into the future, which gives her the chance to illustrate all kinds of alien species. Carey’s lettering takes a regal look when it comes to the captions, with entire sentences written in a flowing Grecian-style script. She even marks Nubia’s captions with the symbol of a lion, which adorns the Queen of the Amazons’ cape. Between this and her work on Radiant Black, it’s all the more proof that lettering can help give a character a distinct voice in comics.

Nubia: Coronation Special #1 sets the stage for Nubia’s future as the Queen of the Amazons, thanks to a supremely talented creative roster. Nubia’s adventures will continue in the upcoming Nubia: Queen of the Amazons miniseries later this year and I look forward to seeing what Williams and Ayala have in store for her.

Nubia: Coronation Special #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Nubia: Coronation Special #1
4.5

TL;DR

Nubia: Coronation Special #1 sets the stage for Nubia’s future as the Queen of the Amazons, thanks to a supremely talented creative roster. Nubia’s adventures will continue in the upcoming Nubia: Queen of the Amazons miniseries later this year and I look forward to seeing what Williams and Ayala have in store for her.