Sunday, February 26, 2006

BHM 26: Nubia / Nu'bia

I don't care what Devon says; I like Nubia.

Okay, her origin is so nonsensical that, even though I own a copy of it, I still can't explain it to you. She lived on an island near Paraside; with a bunch of black warrior guys but no evidence of other women around (DC was big on segregated island neighborhoods; just ask Tyroc the Screaming Black Man); and Hippolyta made her out of clay. Something something.

It didn't matter. She was the "black Wonder Woman" and that's all that mattered; how she actually got there is not the kind of thing Bob Kanigher would care about.
Yes, maybe "Nubia" wasn't the most subtle name they could've come up with, but, for pity's sake, Bob Kanigher (creator of Dr. Domino) didn't do subtle. I'm just grateful she wasn't named "Black Diana".

Besides, when they brought her back in the 1980s, they made everything okay by putting an unpronouncable apostrophe in the middle of her moniker, so she's now "Nu'bia". Which, umh, fixes everything. Apparently.
You know, apostrophes seem to be quite hobbling; I can't think of a single thing Nu'bia's done since she got hers. Still...

She had a Mego action figure (the only DC black character who did, I think), which means she automatically rocks. Fierce hair, too. If you gene-splice Dian Carrol and Joan of Arc, you get the Nubia Mego.

She first appears in a backup story to the Dr. Domino issue; she went on and Dr. Domino did not. Anybody powerful enough to survive being in the shadow of Dr. Domino gets my utmost respect.

She's Wonder Woman's sister (or at least she was). And not in a wussy "I'm kind of a washed out clone of you, or an ideal playmate, or a younger version of you, a sluttier version of you with bigger hair" sort of way. She's more of a "I'm going to kick your butt and take your place on the cheerleading squad and Mama will thank me for it" kind of sister. We like that.

As a Heroclix figure, she kicks some serious Nazi/Commie butt. Blades, Flurry, Charge, Incapacitate, Supersenses, Battle Fury, Combat Reflexes, Toughness, and range; she's a killing machine (*sigh*).

She's got potential. If you use her original origin, she's got Wonder Woman's powers, but was raised by her enemy, Ares. Every hero should have an "anti-version" of themselves, and WW doesn't, really. Let Nu'bia be Nubia again, I say. She's forgotten and redundant as an ally; make her an enemy and she'd be an overnight success.

Devon is right; she's been used so little no one would miss her if she disappeared. The Egyptian Amazons in Exile should have been led by Nubia (whose name would come from the Nubia area of Egypt; that would have made the name work, I think). But instead, someone wanted to get cute and create "Artemis" to parallel "Diana", so now we have a "dark Wonder Woman" no one likes, and a black not-Wonder Woman no one uses. Sigh.

I bet when they chose a white woman with red hair to lead the Egyptian dark-skinned Amazons, it was because they were AFRAID to have it be Nubia. So because they were afraid of charges of racism by having "black Wonder Woman = evil Wonder Woman", Nubia gets no role at all and a white woman is in charge of the African Amazons. SIGH!


Axel M. Gruner said...

Amusing thing on the MEGO-site you linked:
""It's Wonder Woman's Super-Foe! That heartless arch-mistress of evil. . .NUBIA! Direct from her reign of TV terror!" This is the 12.5" doll version of Nubia, who was Wonder Woman's long-lost Amazon sister in the comics (introduced in Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #204). She was never featured on television -- despite what the box says -- though Wonder Woman did face an Amazon-like African American woman named Caroyln (played by Jayne Kennedy) in the episode "Knockout." That character was considered for a spin-off series that was ultimately decided against."

So there was a evil = black Amazon?

Anonymous said...

Nubia was the rival kingdom south of Egypt, so it's not unreasonable that Artemis could lead the Egyptian Amazons and Nubia lead the, um, Nubian Amazons.

And just in terms of characterization, she could replace Donna Troy (junior counter part) or Artemis (black sheep) but not both. And while it would be easier for her to take Artemis's place, it would be SO much more satisfying for her to take the place of that continuity-confused, character-less, Terry-Long F@#$er!

Scipio said...

Hm. I had only thought of her for Evil Counterpart or Black Sheep; Nubia as Junior Counterpart is interesting and a vast improvement over Donna Troy.

Of course, Marsha Mallow would be an improvement over Donna Troy...

Jeremy Rizza said...

My only concern about the hair is it seems likely that Nubia + menopause = Della Reece.

Scipio said...


Barghest said...

I like Artemis, just for the record.

Not as the leader of the Bana-Mighdall, so much, but as Wonder Woman's longbow-toting fill-in who had a daughter with Kanto.