The 31 Greatest Marvel Characters: Number Three!

Shuri! 

You know, Shuri got a lot of flack, and I think most of it can be traced to the fact that she is *not* T’Challa, the Black Panther fans were used to. His younger niece, who appeared only shortly before she took up the actual Black Panther mantle for herself, she was a firey, more aggressive character than the prepared and alert T’Challa, and I think that may have turned a lot of people off.

But if you want to talk about the idea of Legacy characters – which I always do, because I think it’s a fantastic concept – then here is one of the cases where Marvel set something up to succeed. Transferring T’Challa across to America and settling Shuri in Wakanda, a firmer base was starting to be laid for the Black Panther character within Marvel.

The problem with Black Panther is that he is the King of an African Nation, rather than another one of the thousands of heroes Marvel wanted to cram inside New York. But that’s not actually a problem, is it? If people can get over that need to read about America, then surely they wouldn’t have SUCH a problem with reading a story set in Africa?

It feels like, at times, Marvel just can’t work out how strongly their fans support the premise of the character. Shuri was an attempt at compromise, and one which didn’t work out. Fans decried the idea of a girl taking over leadership of the country – because, y’know, COMICS – and the writing wasn’t AS strong as could be. It was a decent idea, executed competently, when it should have been executed brilliantly. Black Panther needs to be in Wakanda – but T’Challa doesn’t need to be THAT Black Panther. He can work abroad, just as Black Widow does.

The whole Shuri storyline was silently slowed down, but the character remains alive and well – and ready for use at some point. I’d love to see her come back. She’s got a massive amount of potential, and there was a spark to her which was pretty darn entertaining whenever she was on-panel.

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