Akintoba Kalejaye (the creator of the comic book) brought a unique and beautiful feel of Shango to modern time from the historical myth most of us knew then. Starting VISIONARY #0 at the time 2500 B.C in old Oyo kingdom, precisely in the Agbogudu forest of the living, gave way for a strong story plot. Especially with the fact it comes to present time and doesn’t stay in ancient time.
The comic brings much life to the Yoruba history with the combination of its fiction to spice it all up. After all, what is a good comic book without a little fictional stories!?…LOL. Before I dive into the review, I will like to use this opportunity to apologize for my long term absence and disappointments due to my health challenges. Going in and out of hospitals from my 1st surgery in February. I will also want to use this medium congratulate Comic Republic (CR) on their recent successes, especially getting a deal with Samsung mobile. With all these said, let’s get to the matter at hand, shall we!
Starting with the cover page as usual. The cover showed the boy from the last story pages #0 and Huisi backing each other. The stance of both characters on the cover page depicts warriors or (for the boy’s sake) trained fighters. The background also shows a slit between both characters with the (the purple and green) lights. The sub-title THE AWAKENING also sheds more light from the #1 and #0.
Going to the 1st variant cover page, we see the boy from #0 dressed in Huisi’s attire (if I should call it that) with the snake eating its tail and a bright white background. The boy’s eyes glow, which indicate that he isn’t a regular boy (at least). This page tells a new different story than the boy just waking up in a hospital in #0. It is nice as it spurs suspense into the reader’s minds before they even get to the story pages.
In the copyright page (as I will call it) CR never forgets to show the importance of copyright on a comic book. Giving its relevance to the sector of the entertainment industry to our environment now unlike before. The art on this page gave a powerful illustration as it shows Shango in his traditional attire on a hill with the shadow showing a form of him in his armor and holding his double headed axe.
Just before the story pages, a page of Shango’s face was shown with lightning emitting from his eyes and (as usual, looking angry) shouting, showing him in his armor. At the bottom right written “HALLS OF THUNDER”, believed to be another sub-title in the comic. This makes sense as there are actually two stories in VISIONARY #1.
Now, to my favorite part of any comic book. The story pages. The actual story in the comic book. Starting with story page 1. We see Shango on his throne holding (what I understanding to be) a weapon which is inflamed. “Even the powerful find rest…but rest does not come to all”, this phrase began the writing beauty in the comic. We all know the ancient believe in talking in proverbs, and that was well depicted in the comic from here onwards. One can’t look at Shango just as a god in VISIONARY, but he also poses as a king, though we are yet to see his kingdom…lol! It is also lovely that time is not applicable where he is. .
Fire, storm, thunder, your master calls on you”. This showed the power Shango possessed even as we (Nigerians especially) know about his fire and whether control…but this brought more to the mythical history of Shango that we all know. The page also shows that Shango and Ara share a relationship even closer than what we saw in VISIONARY #0. Popularly in Nigeria, when a young person has the guts to complain to an elder or superior’s face, it shows a kind of close relationship between them. For example, a girl and her elder brother. That is what it looks like in this case as Ara exclaims “ah ah”. This also brings a sense of humor to the comic, especially when his eyes turned from lightning to fire when he looked at Ara.
In Story page 3, we see soldiers and a magician in an enchanted point. A soldier acknowledges the fact that the cloud coming isn’t the usual rain cloud. The magician using beautiful praise words to welcome Shango in story page 4 was a beautiful scene. It though shows that the magician was doing “over sabi” according to Shango. The magician attacking Shango and he calling on Ara to deal with the situation was another humor coming from the living lightning in story page 6.
Story page 7, 8, and 9 show the soldiers trying to bring down the god of fire, storm, and lightning but he takes them to be a joke with their petty gadgets (baddo, lol).
In story page 12, we see Ara destroy the soldiers with lightning and in panel 5 of the page, we see the witch (the magician from page 3) make a statement that is like she has succeeded in her quest even when she was defeated earlier by Ara. The story page 13 then brings the reader(s) to the end of the 1st half of the comic book (halls of thunder) to an end as we see Shango walking with thunder roaring and lightning still striking behind him with the statement from the witch “the storm bringer walks the earth once again…and he has gone looking”. A good way to finish the 1st half of the comic book, especially following it with the sub-title “halls of thunder”.
The 2nd half of the comic book starts with another cover page, showing a boy’s face (from VISIONARY #0) peeling to reveal part of Huisi’s face which is sub-titled “way of the hunter”. a beautiful way to reintroduce the boy not being the normal kid we would expect him to be.
In story page 14, we see the boy from #0 who was in the hospital having a dream and wherever he may have been going was always pulled back and eventually waking up from his sleep (to reality). We see him in story page 15 in a hospital besides a girl who turns out to be his sister.
It was lovely to see how it was depicted in page 16 that Danmola (the mystery boy) can see what one will call spirits, even when the grand-mother arrived to pick them up, he saw a spirit behind her which she is aware of (and I think it’s called Aranyan from the words of the grand-mother).
In story page 17, we see the grand-mother and the kids being transported through a portal with the logo of a snake eating its own tail. The story page 18 shows beautiful large statues where the vehicle of the small family arrived and one of the statues address (I believe the boy) as a young master.
In story page 19, we see the family come down from the vehicle with the spirit still behind the grand-mother but Danmola claims he can’t see spirits anymore in their new environment. This helped him sleep peacefully after a while now. He comes out to train early in the morning.
We see the young lad train from story page 20 to 23, trying to be strong and focused. In story page 24, we see Danmola being comforted by his grand-mother as she notices he misses his father. At the last 2 panels of the page, the story is ended with a mystery as we see an unknown character speaking over the phone and spying on the family (I believe especially the boy). With CR’s new deal with Samsung, it is nice to see a man in the story actually using the brand for a phone call.
The humor page popularly known as HERO KEKERE in every CR comic books showed a beautiful and funny skit of Shango catching a bullet with his teeth and taking a selfie with a Samsung phone with the soldiers who shot him, the witch, and Ara in the background (badt guys, lol)
As usual, I will want to point out the setbacks in the comic book ‘VISIONARY #1’ which I noticed as I read. Remember, this is all my POV.
1st, in story page 2. As much as I understand it was supposed to be funny, I find it ‘somehow’ that Ara said “oh God” in panel 3 of that page. It might be something to overlook but when speaking about ‘gods’ (in a case like this comic), I feel it is unnecessary to use ‘God’ Himself.
Secondly, I feel it was very unnecessary to introduce “M.E.T.S division” in story page 3. The “N.A.C.S.S” I believe was enough for readers to know it takes care of everything threatening the earth like (for example with your pardon) marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D or S.W.O.R.D.
Lastly, “you will take only your lives from this field, fools”. This statement in story page 11 sounds contradictory in the sense that anybody who reads VISIONARY #1 will take it that Ara actually killed those soldiers. I see the page in 2 ways. Either she just inflicted injuries to the soldiers and destroyed everything they came with from the heavy armored tanks to the smallest bullets or, Ara killed the soldiers. Either ways, the illustration does not depict the words there.
Now all said, it’s time for the rating of VISIONARY #1 by me:
1) The story-: It gets an 8/10. The story was lovely, the letters also where beautifully placed. In terms of communicating with the readers, it was well constructed, especially with the Yoruba writing mixed with the English version in 1 book. This will go very well in terms of improving the Yoruba tradition in Nigeria and exposing it to the world. Kudos to ‘The Stanch’ for letters well placed and to the creator and writer ‘Kalejaye’ for a good story.
2) The art-: This gets another 8/10. The Stanch did a wonderful job carrying the illustration of such a story to the end alone with good consistency in the art. One beautiful art was the anatomy of Shango, showing his size of a god to man (the soldiers). That was really amazing.
3) The colors-: I gave this section a 9/10. Wonderful colors from both ‘Max’ and ‘The Balox’. I loved the colors so much that even after reading the credit page and knowing that two people colored the comic, I still read past not caring because there was connection. It was after reading I began seeking the differences in their coloring styles. Nicely done, cool team work.
4) Consistency-: Will give this a 6/10. We all understand that the Nigerian comic industry is still a baby compared to some other parts of the world, but a year+ isn’t so cool. I for 1 have been waiting for the #1 since I first read #0 in august, 2016. Hope the next issue won’t take another year+, lol.
5) The hype vs the release-: this 1 gets a 10/10. The book was worth all the hype and even more indeed.
The suspense for the next issue-: I give this a 9/10. The new guy at the end of the book from nowhere, the witch with the soldiers, and the person who ends Danmola’s dreams. These 3 ‘guys’ give us something to look forward to in #2.
6) The suspense for the next issue-: I give this a 9/10. The new guy at the end of the book from nowhere, the witch with the soldiers, and the person who ends Danmola’s dreams. These 3 ‘guys’ give us something to look forward to in #2.
7) The general package-: This gets an 8/10, considering everything from the cover page to the very last page of the book. The comic book was a ‘hit’, lol.
In total, VISIONARY #1 gets a rating of 8.29/10. !
I cannot wait to see Huisi again. Being on the cover page of #1 and seeing him on another cover where Danmola’s face peels and reveals his, I think we haven’t seen the last of him, what exactly is Huisi’s deal in the story? Who could the mystery guy at the end of the book be? I can’t wait to see VISIONARY #2.
Kudos to the crew that worked on VISIONARY #1 and the whole CR in general. Keep giving us good comic books with intense stories