Image: Marvel Comics

The Black Panther movie was the year’s biggest superhero success story, and Marvel has capitalized on the property’s newfound popularity to deliver exceptional comics featuring characters from the film. The main Black Panther title takes T’Challa to space for an exhilarating story of intergalactic rebellion; the new Killmonger series tells a vicious crime story of the film’s antagonist making a name for himself in New York City; and Shuri explores Wakanda through the eyes of T’Challa’s genius little sister.

In the pages of Shuri, writer Nnedi Okorafor, artist Leonardo Romero, and colorist Jordie Bellaire have crafted a compelling tale of Shuri taking on new responsibility in her brother’s absence. They capture the playful essence of the film character while continuing Shuri’s evolution that began in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ previous Black Panther volume, balancing mythical, spiritual, and scientific elements to make Shuri an especially compelling heroine. The creative team is dedicated to exploring Wakandan culture and making it feel like a real place, enriching Shuri’s personality by emphasizing her connection to the world around her and her fellow countrymen.

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After focusing on Shuri at home in the first two issues, the series puts her in drastically different circumstances by transporting her through the cosmos and trapping her in the body of Groot. This exclusive preview of next week’s Shuri #3 spotlights the dynamic between Rocket Raccoon and Shuri-Groot, tapping into the cosmic sci-fi that defines much of Okorafor’s prose work. Romero and Bellaire are one of the top art teams in superhero comics, and Shuri gives them the opportunity to create a vibrant environment with a design sensibility very different from the typical superhero aesthetic.

These pages showcase the energy and imagination they bring to the alien setting, with Romero increasing the scale of his imagery while Bellaire uses a bright palette of pink, green, and blue to distinguish Shuri’s current situation from what came before. Small coloring details play a considerable part in the storytelling, and when Shuri takes control of Groot’s body to send it into action, the coloring of her skin gains the extra texture of Groot’s wood-like flesh to reinforce her connection with the alien being. Shuri is a beautiful comic, and Okorafor takes full advantage of her art team’s talent in her ambitious storytelling.

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