|Nubia / Nu'Bia|
Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #204, (January 1973)
Wonder Woman (vol. 2) Annual #8, (1999)
Robert Kanigher (writer)
Don Heck (artist)
Doselle Young (writer)
Brian Denham (artist)
|Place of origin||Themyscira|
|Notable aliases||Nu'Bia, Wonder Woman of the Floating Island/Slaughter Island|
Nubia is a fictional character, a comic book superheroine published by DC Comics. The original Nubia was created by Robert Kanigher and Don Heck, and debuted in Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #204, (January 1973). The modern character named Nu'Bia was created by Doselle Young and Brian Denham, her first appearance in Wonder Woman Annual (vol. 2) #8 (1999).
Fictional character biography
In Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #204, (January 1973), Diana (Wonder Woman) has her memories restored by the Amazons and is soon confronted by an armored female warrior who challenges her to single combat. The two initially wrestle, then face each other with swords. Diana and the intruder seem evenly matched until the intruder knocks the sword from Diana's hands, but then hesitates to kill her. The dark-skinned stranger introduces herself as Nubia, the one true Wonder Woman, and tells Diana that they will meet again someday to decide which of them has the right to the title. Diana's mother, Queen Hippolyta, secretly believes she recognizes Nubia, who returns to her own Floating Island.
A short Nubia story in WW #205 picks up with her departure from Paradise island, including a short conversation and an embrace from Hippolyta. Back on her mist-concealed Floating Island, Nubia rules a community of all men. Upon her return, two men claim the right to fight for her, citing the "law of the Floating Island" or "Mars' law of conquest." Declaring "No man will ever own Nubia!" she fights one of the men herself, defeating him but letting him live. She says, "A woman doesn't destroy life, she cherishes it!".
In WW #206, Hippolyta flashes back to the truth, a revised version of Wonder Woman's origin story: Hippolyta had formed two babies from clay, one dark and one light. They are brought to life by the gods, but Mars the god of war abducts baby Nubia, whom Hippolyta never sees again. Nubia is raised by Mars as his weapon of destruction against the Amazons. Mars and Nubia launch an attack on Paradise Island from their so-called "Slaughter Island." Coming to assist, Diana recognizes Mars' ring and removes it from Nubia's hand, breaking the god's mind control over Nubia. She and Diana oppose Mars, who flees, and Nubia leaves to lead her warriors "into ways of peace." Hippolyta reveals Nubia's origin to Diana.
Nubia's next appearance comes in Supergirl (vol. 1 #9) December (1973) written by Robert Kanigher. In the story Supergirl is made an honorary Amazon. Later when it is discovered that Nubia is suffering from a mutated shark poisoning, Hippolyta sends Kara to retrieve a rare root needed to cure her.
In Super Friends #25 October (1979), Wonder Woman, who is temporarily under the control of the evil Overlord, is seen attempting to liberate the oppressed women of the African continent. She tells them that men still treat women as if they were possessions and it's time for women to stand up to men, with Wonder Woman as leader. But Diana is interrupted by Nubia. Nubia tells her to back off and they fight, eventually the Overlord is defeated and they part as friends.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
In 1985 DC Comics introduced the storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths. By this story's end the entire DC Universe was erased and restarted with a clean slate. As such the pre-Crisis version of Nubia ceased to exist.
Sometime after Crisis a new version of Nubia, now called Nu'Bia, was introduced. When Nu'Bia first meets Diana, she mistakenly calls Diana by the name of her former queen "Antiope". Nu'Bia is only slightly surprised to discover that Diana is Antiope's niece. The woman identifies herself to Diana as Nu'Bia and says that she was a Themyscirian Amazon who won the "Tournament of Grace and Wonder" just as Diana previously had, and become the Amazons' first champion. Her assigned mission was to guard "Doom's Doorway", which is an entrance to the river Styx and the Tartarus Gate on Themyscira. Entering Doom's Doorway she was to guard the entryway from the inside, stopping anyone from entering or any creature from escaping. As Diana was never told of Nu'Bia it is assumed that the Themyscirian Amazons assumed she perished during her mission long before Diana's birth. Sometime during her time in Hell, Nu'bia explains she met the Zoroastrian god of light, Ahura Mazda, and became his lover. She also explains that on another adventure where she aided Gorgons, she was given the ability called Cold Sight which allows her to transform any living being into stone as a gift of gratitude from the Gorgons. After aiding Wonder Woman with her mission Nu'Bia then returns to the underworld to see Ahura Mazda.
The next time Nu'Bia is shown, an elevator in a Las Vegas hotel suddenly manifests a golden metal lion insignia. When Diana investigates this strange occurrence, Nu'Bia steps out of the elevator. She says, "Many leagues from the kingdom of light have I traveled. Through the province of Nox and the territory of shades have I hunted the demon-king Ahriman. Finally, to track him here, to Patriarch's World... to my ancient faraway home. How passing strange it is then, Princess, that I should find you here, as well."
The demon Ahriman murdered Ahura Mazda, and carved his heart from his body. Nu'Bia has come back to earth in search of Ahriman, hoping that she can retrieve the heart and revive her lover. The last we see of Nu'Bia, she has Ahriman in her possession and rides an elevator back to Hades to revive her beloved.
Renee Montoya ventures forth with Earth-5's Captain Marvel in an attempt to recruit each universe's equivalent of Superman to join Nix Uotan's Army of Heaven on Earth-Zero (the primary DC Earth). The beginning of the issue illustrates their visit to a universe where a black Superman is apparently the President of the United States. This Superman confers with a black Wonder Woman, whom he refers to as Nubia. This Nubia is apparently one of the "Wonder Women of Amazonia", and she uses a relic called the Wonder Horn to summon Renee and the others into her world.
This version of Nubia later reappears as a member of her Earth's Justice League, with her Earth officially revealed as Earth-23 in the new Multiverse.
Powers and abilities
Nubia possessed a magic sword created by Mars which was the only weapon on Earth that could counteract Diana's magic lasso. She could also glide on air currents like Wonder Woman and possessed super-strength as well as all other Amazon abilities.
Nu'Bia wears special magical armor with a raised embossed lion's head on its breastplate. Nu'Bia has been shown traveling back and forth to Hades at will, and from there to other mythological realms. Typically when she is about to appear at a new location the lion's head on her armor appears as part of the doorway, suggesting that the armor may be the source of this ability. In honor of an ancient pact, the Gorgons of the underworld blessed Nu'Bia with the Cold Sight, which allows her to turn anyone to stone. She carries an unspecified magic sword.
Nu'Bia has 3,000 years of combat experience providing her expertise in both hand to hand combat as well as with hand held weapons. As a Themyscirian Amazon she also possesses immortality that allows her to live indefinitely in a youthful form, but does leave her open to potential injury and death depending on her actions. She also possesses enhanced strength and intelligence. As shown by fellow members of her tribe, she has the capability to break apart steel and concrete with her bare hands, jump over 12 feet from a standing position, has a high durability factor, enhanced healing, and the ability to absorb and process a vast amount of knowledge in a short period of time.
Nu'Bia, in addition to the other Themyscirian Amazons, possesses the ability to relieve her body of physical injury and toxins by becoming one with the Earth's soil and then reforming her body whole again. The first time Diana does this she prays to her god Gaea saying: "Gaea, I pray to you. Grant me your strength. You are the Earth who suckled me, who nurtured and bred me. Through you all life is renewed. The circle which never ends. I pray you, mother Gaea, take me into your bosom. Please, let me be worthy." During writer John Byrne's time on the comic it was stated that this is a very sacred ritual to the Themyscirians, only to be used in the most dire of circumstances.
In other media
- In 1975, actress Teresa Graves of ABC's (by-then cancelled) Get Christie Love! was favored by executives of ABC's then very successful Wonder Woman television series to play the superheroine's black sister, but the series moved to CBS in 1977, before the character ever appeared on the show. That same year, the Mego Corporation produced a Nubia doll to tie-in with the show, advertised as "Wonder Woman's super-foe." Wearing a gladiator-styled costume modeled on one that Graves would have worn in the series, and resembling a uniform Nubia wore in the comic book, the doll was also given a white streak of hair as a dramatic touch to her otherwise black hair.
- In the Season Two episode, "Knockout", after the show's move to CBS, actress Jayne Kennedy played a black female adventurer, with no apparent connection to Nubia or her Amazon island.
- Although Nubia never appeared in the Wonder Woman television series, a character with a similar background did appear shortly before in the 1974 Wonder Woman television movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby. In the film, written and produced by John D. F. Black and following more of a spy-adventure continuity than the comic-book one, a fellow Amazon named Ahnjayla left Paradise Island and became a nemesis of Wonder Woman. Ahnjayla was played by actress Anitra Ford, who was one of the original Barker's Beauties on The Price Is Right.
- Wonder Woman Annual (vol. 2) #8
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #154-155
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #188 (cameo)
- The Illustrated Nubia Index
- Final Crisis #7
- Action Comics (vol. 2) #9
- Wonder Woman Annual (vol. 2) #8 (September 1999)
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #1
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #59
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #57
- Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #30
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #3
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #120
- Wonder Woman index
- WW Central: Nubia
- Wonder Woman Museum entry
- Wonderland Wonder Woman Comix page
- Amazon Archives
- DCU Guide: Nu'Bia
- Nubia Mego Doll Commercial