Book Title: Masks of the Orisha #1

Book Description: The first issue of Masks of the Orisha introduces us to an ensemble of characters that are as complimentary as the color palettes they adorn. Gado and Towa, two brothers with physical and unique magical prowess (known as Ashe) square off in a match for bragging rights that quickly gets heated. The two swear not to use their Ashe, but that too is quickly thrown out the window. Soon after, the two are reprimanded by their friend, Ambu. Pleading for her not to rat them out to their mother, Gurira, the boys make quick work of spoiling that secret themselves. They are spared any immediate damage when the visitor, Biwa, shows up at the door, much to the detest of Towa. Later in the evening, the Gado speaks of his excitement for the trials that would make them one of the Sarai, an order of warriors, meanwhile the more down-to-earth Towa dwells on the ramifications of leaving their mother behind. In the morning, the two say goodbye to an emotional Gurira. At the end of the issue, we are treated to a time skip that revamps the action seen in the first half of the book. The two brothers are pitted against each other some seven years later with skills that are far improved and stakes that are far more lethal. We are left with Gado questioning his own actions in the face of what is now his most matched adversary, Towa.

Book Author: Hotep Anthony, Roland Broussard

Book Format: Paperback

Publisher - Orgnization: Macchiato Studios

Publisher Logo:

Illustrator: Macchiato Studios

  • Story
    (4)
  • Interior Art
    (4)
  • Cover Art
    (4)
  • Dialogue
    (3.5)
  • Mechanics
    (3.5)
  • Editing
    (4)
3.8

Summary

Masks of the Orisha reads as a lovechild of fantastical African culture and shounen manga, two things that are sorely lacking as a combination. Here, Anthony and Broussard have placed the first stone along the path of a budding brotherly rivalry with serious ramifications down the line. The cover art certainly drew me in, a classic split splash page of our heroes. The consistency of the interior art varies in quality from the static panels to the more fluid panels, though, the combat elements within the book are some of the best I’ve seen in a while ( I. Need. More. Ashe. Combat.)!

The dialogue was concise and did the work of establishing the laws of this world without sacrificing its character dynamics. Some pages seemed a bit pressed for space, though nothing extreme. In fact, the panels also read like manga in style and shape. The editing team also did a great job. The dialogue and placements of panels did not obscure my reading in any way. A solid read indeed. 

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