Is’Nana the Were Spider Review: Passion-Infused

Anansi in African, Caribbean and Black American folklore is considered a god of storytellers and wisdom. He weaves tales and has many children who see and hear much. One of his offspring, a young Is’Nana has inadvertently ripped the fabric between what he calls the World Kingdom and the earth plane. In doing so monsters have entered this sphere where they are able to victimize humans without binding or imprisonment. It’s up to Is’Nana to retrieve them and send them back to where they came from. Greg Anderson Elysée once again blends mythology and folklore with the current times and it makes for an entertaining, thoughtful story.

For the most part artwork in correspondence with narrative makes for compelling storytelling and that’s what happens in the latest Is’Nana installment entitled ‘That’s the Ticket.’ Walking along with his guardian on the earth plane, in the city, trying to adjust to the basics of being human Is’Nana is enthralled by Princess C, Gris Gris, and Krimsin break-dancers who hustle in the streets and the subway to make money. Michael White makes the movement of the dancers looks fluid as if there is motion within the panels. What’s more colorist Angael Davis-Cooper and letterer Deron Bennett showcase the music as being visually alive. The treble and clef notes are also moving in vibrant technicolor. Each character is distinct in ethnicity in a way that makes sense to the real world. One dancer has vitiligo and the artwork is consistent every time this character is in a panel, with his dancing. It’s amazing to see how representation can be in your face and simultaneously subtle.

Once Is’Nana meets up again with his new acquaintances they show him the side of life of trying to make money on the subway by dancing. Then the everyday real world sets in as Is’Nana is caught and nearly beaten. If not for his abilities who knows what would become of him. That’s the thing about the scene in the subway. Is’Nana is for the most part a peaceful entity, even in battling outliers from the World Kingdom he gives them fair warning when he doesn’t have to. Is’Nana would rather negotiate than commit violence against another. But the blood, the bruising manifesting on his body from the blows of the cops is an all too real occurrence where if it wasn’t for spider siblings and his own innate abilities, he would be a covered-up statistic. There is also a discussion on race where Is’Nana makes a declaration that has Gris Gris and Krimson especially help him realize that he appears Black. The idea of skin color is inconsequential in the World Kingdom, but it’s one more instance where Is’Nana is endangered. 

Let’s also consider that Anansi is also a trickster god and a father and in the epilogue, he shows how he becomes fed up with an all too real narrative and ends it. David Brame’s artwork reveals Anansi’s disgust and acts accordingly.

In the end ‘Is’Nana The Were Spider: That’s the Ticket’ is engaging, mindful and funny. A mixture of visuals you will thoroughly enjoy.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 632 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.’

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