‘New Masters’ continues to build a fully fleshed-out character-filled science fiction-based world with an Afrofuturism focus, diving even deeper into characters and relationships with this second issue. Truly this is just a gorgeous book, unlike any others that are being published right now, showcasing just how powerful comic books are as a medium and the reality of how representation and diversity enrich everything in our world including story-telling.
Comic books are one of many mediums that allow the audience to travel to and experience worlds that are far different from the ones that they might know. Sometimes those worlds might be entirely other planets or dimensions, and sometimes those ‘new worlds’ are telling stories centered through the lens of countries and cultures that don’t often get the same spotlight as others.
New Masters accomplishes this by allowing brothers Shobo and Shof Coker to bring us into a truly deeply fleshed-out science fiction world with an Afrofuturism focus as they tell it from a Nigerian and African point of view. Like so many other great science-fiction tales, this series drops the audience right into the deep end and lets you immerse yourself into this world and learn more about it with every step. There are no massive lore dumps or pages spent explaining everything, as what is on the page gives you all the information about the world, the characters, relationships, and the overall plot pretty easily.
In the first issue, we followed young Ola and her robotic companion Ashe on an adventure before being shown some of the cities and getting to see a bunch of characters being somewhat gathered for a quest ahead. Here though it pulled back a bit and we got to spend more time with some of the characters, including Ola’s parents Sulesh and Persio as well as their crew members Denarii and Stein. Each character’s personality gets to shine, and we learn quite a bit about them and their goals and how this world works with the Jovians who came to Earth and helped change things greatly. (With Sulesh being Jovian, and Ola being half Jovian).
All of this is beautifully brought to life through Shof’s artwork, with color assistance from Julmae Kristoffer, which has such great energy to it. There are a ton of really great close-up shots with fantastic facial expressions and emotional work. His art style is so dense and detailed with a lightness to it, allowing for tightly confined action or personal moments right alongside (sometimes in the same pages) really gorgeous establishing landscape shots that show off every aspect of this beautiful and also tough/harsh world.
All the colors are almost watercolor-like in quality, colorful and smooth but also muted and almost Earthy in quality, even with all the not so Earth-like things within the pages. Panels being spaced where the white/black space around them can be used as borders to frame the panels/pages is one of my favorite things that more artists are doing lately. It helps guide the eye and not let all things blend together, but also is just unique and an interesting look.
The dialogue flows easily and the order path is easy to follow, with little flairs here and there to help emphasize words or have different characters’ tone/personality in their voice stand out. SFX feels like a natural part of any given scene because they are drawn and included in the scenes in an organic way that actually interacts with the scene somewhat rather than just being there.
As a reviewer, coming across books like this that I knew nothing about before diving into and finding nothing, but amazing fun gold is truly the best. I cannot wait to keep diving even deeper into this story and world while checking out the other work of these brothers that is out there.
New Masters #2 is now on sale in print and digitally from Image Comics.