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Nubia: Real One: 03/04/21

Nubia: Real One

Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith is another standalone YA graphic novel from DC Comics. Nubia has been raised to keep her super strength a secret. The few times she has used it, her moms have forced her to move to a new city, a new school. She's now happily settled with two good friends and a life she likes. A robbery at the local bodega will change everything.

Nubia's split decision to use her strength at the bodega unfolds in a series of events that threatens the life Nubia has come to love, even if she sometimes feels smothered by her overprotective parents. She's pulled over by the police and handcuffed as a person of interest for the robbery. She's racially profiled and feared for her powers, while white superheroes are revered for the same feats.

Aside from direct plot of the fallout from the robbery, there is a much scarier one about how white men invade marginalized spaces for their own self gratification. Her best friend Quisha is being targeted by a white classmate. He has already hurt his previous "girlfriend." Now facing rejection from Quisha and humiliation from Nubia, he's decided to take matters into his own hands in the most violent way possible.

While most of these standalone novels avoid a direct acknowledgement of the main character's future role as a superhero. Like Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee (2019), Nubia: Real One includes a meeting with her Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman.

Five stars

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