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Review: Is’Nana: The Were-Spider Vol. 1

Growing up, reading comics back home n Queens, New York, I never quite caught on to Spider-Man. I know that may be a controversial statement, considering how many Spidey fans there are out there, but his stories never interested me and no, this not a diatribe against Spider-Man, as his canon amongst the other Marvel superheroes is prolific and for good reason. His story about growing up in Queens, New York, saving civilians, never caught fire with me, as I never felt the angst and struggle that Peter Parker went through. Then when I found out that the origins of Spider-Man, not only came from Stan Lee’s imagination but also from African folklore.

As the story of Anansi, well known to only through West Africa but also throughout the Caribbean, as he is the spirit of all knowledge and stories. I remember my grandfather telling me the story when I was 7 when I lived in Trinidad. Growing up reading comic books, I read about Thor and his brother Loki, and their father, Odin, and always thought why were stories about people who looked like me never like this. Enter writer Greg Anderson-Elysee, who from what I just read, probably thought, and wished the same exact thing.

Enter, Is’Nana: The Were-Spider, which starts off with the reader meeting Roger Stine, a lonely old man, whose children do not have time for him, as he suffers nightmares of a leopard chasing him. Little does he know, supernatural forces are at play, as a dark force is haunting him, it being another figure from African folklore, Osebo the Leopard, who not only haunts him but takes over Roger’s body. Is’Nana just so happens to be on the hunt for him, at which point, Is’Nana with the help of his father, Anansi, fights Osebo to save Roger’s life. The story ends with Is’Nana defeating Osebo and becoming friends with Roger and as a bonus the reader gets introduced to Is ‘Nana’s journey form his world to ours as well as why his father, Anansi was brought here as well.

Overall, a strong introduction to a character and a world that I want to know more about and one which is more relatable than Peter Parker’s. The story by Greg Anderson-Elysee, by at first glance may seem like one we have heard before, but once the reader digs in, is an even denser and intricate story and one whose origins have deeper roots than one would imagine. The art by Walter Ostlie, Lee Milewski, Walt Msonza Barna, and Joshua Cozine, is beautiful and reminds me of the work Frank Miller did on Ronin. Altogether, a strong first book by this team, and a story that I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Story: Greg Anderson-Elysee
Art: Walter Ostlie, Lee Milewski, Walt Msonza Barna and Joshua Cozine
Story:10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation:Buy