REVIEW: DC’s Nubia Coronation Special #1

The Amazons were once a divided nation with an air of hostility and distrust gripping the three tribes of the Themyscirans, the Bana-Mighdall, and the Esquecida. After the events of the Trial of the Amazons that saw the tragic death of former queen Hippolyta and the near end of Paradise Island, the bond between the sisters has grown strong, reforged in the fires of battles. Now, the Amazons have unanimously decided to crown Nubia, Hippolyta's successor and former Champion of Doom's Doorway, the queen of a united Amazon. Written by Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala with artwork from Marguerite Sauvage, Colleen Doran, Darryl Banks, Jill Thompson, Alitha Martinez, Hi-Fi, and Alex Guimarães and lettering by Becca Carey, Nubia Coronation Special #1 portrays a momentous global occasion in the history of DC Comics.

Nubia Coronation Special #1 celebrates Queen Nubia, champion of the three tribes of the Amazons, in a jubilant coronation ceremony while showcasing key moments from her life. Even before her life with the Amazons, Nubia was a warrior and a princess adhering to a strict moral code that made her a target of her own people. When she first stepped into the world of men, she again became an immediate target of those people who found a particular spectrum of skin tone dangerous to their way of life. These experiences have broadened her purview and shaped her into who she is: a vocal advocate for change, for peace among all. Now, she takes center stage, uniting her own house as the world awaits to see the queen of the Amazons in all her glory. All hail Nubia, long may she reign!

Nubia Coronation Special #1 converges the past and future, showcasing highlights from Nubia's previous life and gradually progressing through time in a non-linear narrative. The main event of the day takes a backseat, while the flashbacks and flashforwards interject the story. These moments now only create a bridge connecting the moments that made Nubia a worthy candidate for Queen but they also expand her history, cementing her as the embodiment of all the qualities that the Amazons hold dear. Writers Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala have been weaving Nubia's glorious tale for a long time now, and finally, their efforts have borne fruit. Nubia Coronation Special #1 has the solemn feel of a history book, including shocking betrayals, socio-political commentary, and optimism for a brighter future. As the issue reaches the most anticipated moment in the book, opening its doors to cultures and people from all around the world, it reminds readers of why the Queen of the Amazons is so relevant now more than ever.

To bring each segment of Nubia's past and present to life, several famed illustrators from all around the globe work together to combine their artistic fervor in one single issue. They each bring their unique styles to the table, updating the look and feel of the book as the story goes on. French artist Marguerite Sauvage provides the artwork for the main storyline using clean lines and soft colors to stir up emotions. While Collen Doran and Jill Thompson are up to their usual best, contributing to the past and present of Nubia, respectively, it is Darryl Banks' art, with assistance from colorist Hi-Fi, that adds the punch to the tensest moment in the narrative. However, the honor of crowning the Queen goes to Alitha Martinez and Alex Guimarães, longtime collaborators on the miniseries Nubia and the Amazons, who end the issue on a spectacle.

A character-driven book, Nubia Coronation Special #1 stitches together a multi-narrative tale peppered with bittersweet storytelling and gorgeous artwork. Introduced to bring more intersectionality into the discussion of women's empowerment, Nubia finally gets her moment in the sun after almost fifty years since her first appearance. Even though the recognition comes late, it is a fitting celebration that takes the character forward in the right direction. Nubia Coronation Special #1 acts as a prelude and filler to the upcoming miniseries, Nubia: Queen of the Amazons, where more mysteries from her past life will soon come to light.

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