New Masters, a stunning new blend of Afro-futuristic, adventure, drama, and sci-fi debuted by CFC (Creators for Creators) grant recipients, debuts with Image! Created by Nigerian brothers, Shobo and Shof, these creators have crafted a world unlike anything ever seen before.
New Masters opens with a young scrapper named Ola as she and her robotic assistant search the remains of a mine deep within an exclusion zone — the result of a war that occurred in the past over the rare mineral obsidian. Ola traverses the area in search of obsidian to make a living, like many of the inhabitants of Western Africa do, using her bravery and cunning to get what she was after and return home to trade for food and the currency of this vibrant yet desolate future.
As we advance through the issue, we meet other protagonists also in search of obsidian, such as Governor Tosin Ojumah and her Jovian lover Yvolla and the technologically inclined duo Mr. & Mrs. Reis. Each group has something to gain and much to lose in the hunt for the mineral, and the stakes are going to be raised even higher with the mysterious Eye of Orúnmìlà, a digital archive of immense alien advancements going up for sale. I smell a heist in the works.
Reading through this issue, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the stunning, colorful visuals provided by Shof. The style is so elegant that it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain whilst telling the story with each turn of a page. I admire the great depiction of black people, with each individual having unique textured hairstyles, facial structures, and other qualities that seem inconsistent within the comic world. It’s a breath of fresh air in terms of representation, even amongst the alien life that lives and travels to Earth. Shona and Shof set out to tell such a great story and are perfectly in sync as they progress through the story set in their homeland of Africa.
My favorite part of the issue, though, really stems from seeing an almost mysticism inspiration on page 29. The discovery of the Eye of Orúnmìlà made me feel as if I was gazing into African lore and legends, as the page utilizes lights and darks to give an ominous feel as Martouf Ojamuh makes this daring discovery.
Overall, this exciting new first issue does such a magnificent job in terms of both storytelling and visuals that would make many writer/artist teams quit their day job. If you’re looking for a book that not only excites you but holds your gaze, then New Masters is a perfect start for both new and current comic readers alike.