‘New Masters’ continues to be a gorgeous grounded science fiction series with its sights firmly set upon the dynamic and engaging family unit at its center. What this creative team has managed to accomplish in just three issues bodes well for what the last three issues of this series are sure to bring.
Building an entire world, populating it with compelling characters, and fleshing it out with deep rich history and relatable events/elements all in a short amount of time is not an easy thing to accomplish. Especially when one is working with limited real estate for that storytelling. Somehow Shobo and Shof Coker not only manage it within just three issues so far of their series New Masters, but they also make it look easy.
In these three issues, we’ve gotten a very fleshed-out science fiction world with an Afrofuturism and Nigerian/African point of view. While the setting and the world elements carry over from issue to issue, the ‘genre’ of each issue is pretty different. Here we have a really fun and wild heist story that takes a turn for the worst by the end. The first issue gave us a good adventure with Ola and her robotic companion Ashe that set up the ground rules of this world, and the second expanded that further and was a more central focused look at things on the ground level of this world.
All along though the main focus of this one family/crew remains, as they are our eyes and ears in this world and what they are going through is what we begin to care about. Last issue we learned tons more about Sulesh, Persio, Denarii, and Stein and within this issue, we learn more as they take on their roles for the heist and we see how they work and stay connected even under pressure.
Shof’s gorgeous artwork continues to impress and draw the reader in. It’s a dense and detailed style full of emotion and a lightness that contrasts yet mixes easily with the heavier nature of the story and world. There is a great mix of grand landscape or action sequences and the closer more personal shots, and the white space frames around the panels is still something that really helps the artwork stand out even more.
In this issue, Shof is helped with the colors by Francesco Segala, and Julmae Kristoffer still doing color assistance, and there isn’t a ton of change from the great watercolor-like appearance of those colors from the previous issues. Being able to keep that same quality, the only marker of a change being the colors looking a bit darker in this issue but that could also be a style choice for the subject matter, with so many colorists involved is commendable.
All this artwork has a really natural feel to it, with a lot of earthy tones, giving the science fiction elements a more grounded feeling. The same can be said for the way that the dialogue flows through the pages, is easy to follow, and has weight to it. Even the SFX feel like they are a natural element of a scene rather than standing out to be above or beside the artwork in a manner of speaking.
What these brothers and their collaborators have achieved is something truly special, and I’m fully hooked to the end. This is a world and group of characters that are so deep it would be satisfying just to have this one story with them, but if there were to be more beyond this one it would be like an extra helping of the best dessert.
New Masters #3 is now available digitally or in print from Image Comics.