Wonder Squadron | Book Club 11: Nubia - Real One

Greetings and happy February, Wonder Squadron! :wondersquadron1: It’s Black History Month, and we’ve got a fun and thought-provoking graphic novel for the occasion. Let’s dive into Nubia: Real One!

“Nubia has always been a little bit…different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor’s cat. But, despite Nubia’s similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she’s no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn’t want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she’s reminded of how people see her: as a threat. When Nubia’s best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all—her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class—to become the hero society tells her she isn’t.”

Nubia: Real One


:open_book: If you’ve read the story for this month and wish to discuss, drop your thoughts below when you’re ready!


:wondersquadron2: You can join or learn more about The Wonder Squadron HERE.

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Here’s a nice teaser article from the graphic novel’s release back in 2021 if you’re curious to learn more on this story:

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I really like the idea of these DC graphic novels for readers who do not normally visit their local LCSs (assuming they have any) or who are generally new to comics, but they’ve been by and large not for me because the writing hasn’t been strong; so far, the first Super Sons (I have but have not read the follow-ups), the Catwoman YA novel and GN adaptation, the Superman novel, and a few others. The Constantine one (although the Swamp Thing one looked interesting) were the only one I really enjoyed - but then again I’m not the target audience.

If we are really going to have an actual book club discussion AND I have the time (I’m apartment hunting, which is far more time consuming than it should be), I’ll check this out. I am glad DC is publishing these.

Comic books need new readers.

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Yup, that’s what we do here every month! People share their thoughts after they finish the reading, so there tend to be more posts towards the end of the month. But feel free to chime in whenever you’ve read the book! :slightly_smiling_face:

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First, I have to say I am glad to have read this. Mostly because if it were not for it being the club’s monthly selection, I would likely not have sought it out. I am not a part of the target audience (more on that later).

The writing was definitely tight because I found myself plowing through the first few parts without stopping. I had to force myself to take a break. The art itself has a cartoon-like vibe, but it didn’t detract or distract me from the story telling.

Stories like this, where the protagonist and I look nothing alike, gives me the opportunity to learn about the lives of people that do. To see things from their perspective. I understand why it is important for the reader to be able to identify with the protagonist and supporting characters. Given that I am a straight while male (and middle aged), there are plenty to choose from television, movies, comic books, and even regular books. When it is a well told story, the fact that most, if not all, of the characters look nothing like me becomes irrelevant.

More thoughts to come when they come to me…

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Thanks for giving it a shot, @AntLeon! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

I hope to reread it in the next few days so I have a fresher take on it than my memories of when it came out. I’ll be back! :world_of_wonder:

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I read it, loved it! And yeah, I’m just some white dude, lol. Hated how many people took offense to this book because I guess all comics need to be made for middle-aged white dudes in mind. I mean, yeah, the book was made with younger people in mind, and hell it spoke to me. Seeing this makes me want to read it again. My g/f has been wanting to borrow it to read, especially since my g/f is black.

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I really enjoyed this one – in fact, I think this might be the best Nubia story I’ve read.

While I’ve liked the character well enough in her miniseries and the like, I feel like something that grates at me with how she’s been presented is that I don’t really understand what her backstory is. Is she Diana’s twin sister? If so, what’s up with the random village from Queen of the Amazons? Was she guarding Doom’s Doorway? If so, how was she having adventures and dating girls on Man’s World in the 70s? More importantly – what are her motivations? Why did she decide to guard the door, or venture into Man’s World or whatever they decide her backstory is?

I say all that because what I really liked about this was how strong, relatable and pure Nubia was in this story. Like most of the other folks here, I’m a white guy in my 30s, but I was able to relate to Nubia in the sense that I remember what it was like to be in high school, being nervous and fumbling words when you’re near your crush, or feeling like a freak because you’re growing up and doing things you can’t understand (a puberty story showcased as super-powers, a tale as old as time), or the anger at the rich prick bullying you and calling your slurs. Of course, as said white guy, I can’t say that I personally know the struggle that many black people face, but it does a great job at making you feel, understand, and emphasize with it.

I also thought the art worked really well for the most part. It’s definitely different from what we get from even the more indie feeling superhero titles, maybe even a little awkward, but most of the characters are awkward teens, so it kind of works. Plus there are moments that the art just nails.


So yeah, overall, good stuff. :slight_smile:

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Well, a 4 day long power outage meant I could only use my phone for necessities, so I got to this later than I thought. (Even though I do usually consider comics necessities. :sweat_smile:) But I’m glad I finally found time for it, since I enjoyed reading this just as much as I did when it first released.

For a young adult graphic novel (or maybe because it’s a young adult graphic novel), this book deals with more real issues than most comics I’ve read combined. Some of them are quite heavy. Certain elements, like the school shooter, triggered me pretty badly this time around. (I had forgotten that happened in this story.) Normally I would avoid reading things that do that to me, but the way the book portrays real-world issues is both authentic and respectful. And the reader is not left in a hopeless place at the end, which I think is the most important thing.

When I first read this, I had never read anything with Nubia before. So that may be why I tend to agree with @Jay_Kay, that I think this is my favorite version of Nubia. The way they tell her story was very relatable, and the understated inclusion of Diana made sense to me in the way it fits into the rest of the DC universe. But I also love Nubia as she is portrayed in the current Wonder Woman continuity, and I greatly enjoyed her appearances in all the various specials and miniseries recently.

Finally, I do really like the art style. It’s very different, but I think that’s why it worked so well. To me, it fits the vibe of the story. Hard to choose a favorite panel, but I went with this one:

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Yeah, I’ve read a couple of these YA graphic novels that are on the app, and it always surprises me when they have content that’s more explicit or mature than some of the main books. Like, Tom King’s Black Label books like Batman/Catwoman and Strange Adventures, that are meant for adults, bleep out curse words as a rule, while these graphic novels meant for kids 12 and up have multiple F-bombs. It’s wild.

And to be clear with what I was talking about earlier about comparing this Nubia to the one in the main continuity, that’s not to trash her character at all. I like what I’ve seen of her in the current Wonder Woman books. But if someone was to ask me what her backstory is in the current comics, I’d have to answer with a:


I think I just need a mini-series or something that chronlogically shows where she’s from, her adventures, how she ended up guarding Doom’s Doorway, and what has driven her to these points in her life. A Nubia: Secret Origin story. I know I’d buy it! hint hint DC execs

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some random panels:


I probably would not be into Tizzlers, but I’d be down for the Yummy Gummy.

on a more serious note:


It foreshadows the trouble ahead.
The aforementioned trouble…
image

I liked her path getting to this point. How she took in the wisdom of her mothers and Diana.

Some other random thoughts:

  • Diana’s appearance was more like a cameo, but it worked well in this world. I also liked how it was used to provide us with Nubia’s backstory, even if said backstory was more of a summary.
  • I suspect if I were at that age, I’d be bullied by the villain as well, despite being just as white as he. I would have to let him cheat off me most likely.
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After reading Tempest Tossed last month I decided to give this one a go. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more - very fast read, poignant and easily my favorite version of Nubia. This should be one of the first stops for anyone wanting to get to know her. Again, thanks @Razzzcat and @Angel212 for the suggestion.

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This was a great read, but difficult at times. The author uses Nubia’s story to examine aspects of being a girl and black in America really effectively, dealing with issues like friendship, family, romance, but also assault, police brutality, protests, and boys who are gross and entitled. The art was good. I’ve read a few that had better and even though I liked it, I also wish it was less flat. Most of all I want to mention that they need to use Nubia in comics more and follow this up with another novel. Definitely recommend this one. :wondersquadron2: I’m saying 4 out of 5.

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