Wale Williams’ father is missing, his brother is in a coma and his ex-girlfriend is also a superhero. What’s more is that his uncle is the villain of this piece. Yet, this only scratches the surface to part two of ‘EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams.’ Creator, writer and art director Roye Okupe furthers his comic-book world with Wale having to come to terms with his uncle and his family legacy. On the cover you see Wale in his EXO suit, Fury (former girlfriend Zahra) by his side battling a barrage of robots. While he holds his positon in the foreground, Fury is a flash of colored light as she makes her way from the middle to close to the front. And way in the background, looming in the darkness, on a bridge is a man in a hooded robe. Already before you open this trade paperback, set up in chapters Okupe has established the narrative. This is Wale’s story and he has to figure out how to stay alive. What makes this comic well rounded are the flashbacks. Wale’s uncle Jide who becomes Oniku is shady from the beginning. He makes a deal that puts his life in danger as well as his young daughter. It’s frightening to think that this is done for eventual world domination. Like so many stories read before Jide and his brother Tunde, who creates the EXO suit are at odds. Tunde creates to help the greater good. Jide wants to use his brother’s genius to help himself. What makes this comic-book compelling is that it’s taking place in Africa, Nigeria to be specific, and Lagos in particular. Everything from the landscapes to the interiors have Nigeria incorporated. There’s a series of panels where Zahra and Wale are talking. You should look at that page several times once for the conversation between the characters, the other for the play of light and shadow of the artwork. You are taken to a different place in the world. It may be a fictional story, but that skyline is everything. It should be meditated on, it’s that beautiful. Then there’s the name Jide takes as a supervillain. Oniku is a take on the Yoruba tribe’s language that breaks down to be called ‘Bringer of Death.’ The name suits Jide since his costume looks like all its missing is a scythe. The characters look like people as well. No one has impossible measurements. For instance, when in battle Fury doesn’t look like she could be her own floatation device. Instead, she trains and fights in proportion to how she’s drawn and it’s done realistically well. Grandmothers look like they’ve lived a real life. Every character has their own body-type, bone structure etc. It’s refreshing not to have to figure out who’s in the scene from their names. Wale doesn’t look exactly like his brother Timi. You can get into the comic without being distracted. Those differences are important visually. The ending of EXO has both a satisfactory finish while simultaneously having several cliffhangers. For one, while reading you shouldn’t take for face value that Jide’s daughter is dead. Why is she prevalent in a flashback where her father is fighting with her uncle? Then there’s Timi. Wale’s brother has a moment in the comic which questions what their father was doing. What experiments did he do on his children? Was he creating his own supermen or protectors for their homeland? ‘EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams’ Part Two has everything you would want in a comic-book. The storyline is tight, the cast of characters are well thought out and you want to know what’s going to happen next. It’s an ongoing narrative that you want to see continue. Simply, it’s damn good.
About Donna-Lyn Washington 582 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’