Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #2 Review

Written by: Stephanie Williams
Art by: Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, John Livesay
Colors by: Alex Guimãraes
Letters by: Becca Carey
Cover art by: Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: July 5, 2022

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #2 flashes back to Nubia's life before she was reborn as an Amazon to reveal her current troubles may be rooted in the distant past with the goddess Sekhmet. When the hospital where Nubia recovers is attacked by a group of mercenaries, it's up to the Amazons and Hawkgirl to protect the innocent.

Was It Good?Setting up a story isn't complex or complicated. You establish the characters with their emotional motivations, present them with a conflict more significant than themselves and align with their causes, wind them up, and let them go. But, for some inexplicable reason, Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #2 wants to accomplish the setup out of order, without all the pieces, and while the conflict is already in progress. Put another way, this issue is trying hard to do precisely what a creator should never do - make the reader do all the work to figure it out.

When last we left Nubia, she set up shop on a floating island to take a Coronation World Tour, visiting different areas of the globe to lend support or add her voice to protests for social causes. Unfortunately, a cloaked assassin sees Nubia's necklace during a news report and attacks one of her appearances, presumably to claim the necklace. Now, we catch up with Nubia recovering in a Brazilian hospital while her allies stand watch.

Before Nubia wakes up, we see a flashback to Nubia's life in ancient Madagascar before she was reborn as an Amazon. Unfortunately, while the flashback helps establish a piece of Nubia's history as a headstrong warrior-in-training, the flashback is incomplete, doesn't connect with the necklace (yet), and doesn't clarify how Nubia remembers her old life when the Well of Souls is supposed to wipe your memories away. In short, the flashback is well-done fluff, and the reader must figure out why it's there.

Shortly after Nubia wakes up in the hospital, the building comes under attack from the assassin from the first issue and a squad of mechanized scorpion bots. It's unclear why the assassin would use a blatant frontal assault when such great lengths were taken in the last issue to hide an attack behind a landslide. Does the killer not know Nubia is surrounded by a group of super-strong warriors? Why are all the Amazons standing around and talking for nearly four pages when the hospital is under attack? Why is Yara Flor cracking jokes about HIPAA privacy when innocent civilians are about to be killed?

Nubia, Hawkgirl, and the Amazons quickly defeat the assault and soon confront the leader, who is revealed to be - Zillah. "Who is Zillah?" you may ask. Zillah is either entirely new for this story or so obscure in DC canon that no documentation is readily available. In other words, the big *gasp* moment falls flat because almost nobody knows who the enemy is, where she comes from, or why she wants the necklace. Again, Williams is giving you pieces but not following any kind of storytelling order that makes sense, and the reader has to do the work to figure it all out. That's not where any story should be at the halfway mark of the arc.

The art is fine. Martinez has a more robust handle on action poses, but the quiet conversation moments are flat and uninteresting. On the other hand, the coloring and lettering are generally excellent.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons #2 drops hints and pieces about what's happening but does an incomplete job that readers are left to assemble the puzzle without the corners or edge pieces. The art is just okay, and Nubia's pre-Amazon history is good world-building, but the main plot hasn't come together when the story is already half over.


1 comment:

  1. Half over? Why they're giving Nubia 4-5 volumes short? Isn't working