What if you were an African warrior that could not die, who would you sell your services to? This is what Scion is about, in a nutshell. Scion: Immortal, is one of Comic Republic‘s newest titles alongside Beatz and Visionary.
After two issues, Scion appears to be quite consistent in its releases compared to other series published by the CR label. I really hope it stays like this because we need consistency in this budding African comics industry. Without further delay, allow me to dissect this piece of art, and give you a reason to either follow the series or let it sink into oblivion. Muhahahahaha!
Oh, KaDi might offer snide remarks and what not along the way. Let’s try and tolerate him.
KaDi: -__-. Quick note, that consistency might be chalked up to Blood Trail which is what this African comic originally was. Scion: Immortal is a revamp of that. Don’t believe me? Take a read here. -__-
Anyways, here goes:
While the simple colouring done by Jibrin Ebenezer is rather acceptable, it is the line art that stands out the most and gives the book a special African look and feel. Chinedu Chukwuka, the penciler and creative writer, isn’t doing it by halves indeed. The character designs are impressive and don’t stray away from Comic Republic’s graphic line of selling characters that have imposing body structure. The costume designs are marvellous as well, and for the sake of relevance, traditional patterns characteristic of the Igbo culture are well represented throughout the piece. Speaking of which, I noticed that Chinedu Chukwuka strived to gift his characters typical Igbo looks to an extent where Alaric (the protagonist), looked like popular Nigerian singer
The character designs are impressive and don’t stray away from Comic Republic’s graphic line of selling characters that have imposing body structure. The costume designs are marvellous as well, and for the sake of relevance, traditional patterns characteristic of the Igbo culture are well represented throughout the piece. Speaking of which, I noticed that Chinedu Chukwuka strived to gift his characters typical Igbo looks to an extent where Alaric (the protagonist), looked like popular Nigerian Singer Flavour.
I also laud Chinedu for his singular costume designs because they don’t fit into the visual stereotype of the African dressing style. You see, people often depict African characters wearing raffia, sandals and beads. And yet, it has been proven that African people throughout history have developed very diverse and sophisticated attires. Therefore, portraying Africans with raffia, sandals and beads only, is getting insulting in time. Remember the Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie? That’s what I’m talking about!
KaDi: I disagree with this. I don’t think it’s being overused. I believe there’s a plan for this. If you closely monitor CR’s releases, you’ll notice that all titles branded Folktales have similar armour. From Ireti, Visionary even down to Aje, the armour features prominently. I speculate that a merry band of CR heroes will be born in the future where they get to battle a common enemy. This idea of a shared universe in African comics is already being explored by Vortex Comics’ Spirit Guardians comic.
Yama: It makes sense sha, though it gets monotonous eventually. Anyways. What I also like about Scion, especially issue #2, is the dynamism of the fight scenes. Honestly, I almost felt like I was watching a motion picture material as I was leafing through the pages. And since I mentioned the relevance to the culture, it is commendable that Chukwuka opted for Mgba, an Igbo traditional wrestling to execute the brawl between Alaric’s forces and the assailants.
On top of that, I enjoyed the use of juxtaposition in issue #1. There is one page where we see Alaric standing in the crowd in modern Nigeria, while the next page displays Alaric standing in the same position, but this time in ancient Nigeria. I think that was visually brilliant as it comes to support the feeling I had while reading the fight scenes.
Moving into storytelling, I have to praise Chinedu for the safe approach he is taking in the development of the series. While issue 1 fails at telling us what the protagonist’s goal is and where the dramatic conflict arises from, Chinedu rather takes us through Alaric’s backstory in order to clear our interrogations step by step. The first time we are introduced to Alaric was in the first episode. We meet him in modern Nigeria as he comes out of the shadow to thwart a robbery.
Alaric is then portrayed as a fearless, impetuous and imposing fighter, while also being immortal. Yes, you read well; he is IMMORTAL. To be more specific, Alaric is what is called a “perennial” in the Scioniverse. In short, perennials are warriors that have to be killed nine times in a day in order to die, permanently. I just hope they don’t eat cats to get such power sha…
KaDi: If they do, then they must be Ewe. *ahem ahem*. There’s a ridiculous stereotype about my people (Ewes inhabit South-Eastern Ghana, Togo and Benin) loving to eat cats so who knows? I actually thought of this stereotype when I read Scion. On the side, I think I’m gonna call Alaric Joseph from hence. That’s what most people call cats in Ghana anyway. 🙂
Thereafter, we follow Alaric’s chronicle in Ancient Nigeria, more specifically in the old Amaeze Kingdom, where he is a General in the Emperor’s army. The second instalment reveals that General Alaric heads a strong battalion that includes warriors like Ifeoma, a badass lady that can track people’s aura, and a bunch of insensitive warriors called Diokpa (translated as strong man). How cool is that?!
Issue #2 spoiler alert: General Alaric and his soldiers are sent to the outskirts of the Amaeze Kingdom to deal with a group of assailants that kept attacking merchants on their way to deliver crops. Tasked with preserving the kingdom’s economy, General Alaric and his team engage in a brawl with the said assailants. What the soldiers don’t know however is that they have fallen into a trap set by three powerful warriors, one of them being OGANIGWE aka the Killer of Perennials.
What I lament about Chinedu’s storytelling style, however, is the poor character development. The characters’ personas are all the same, which makes it boring eventually. From the fearless General Alaric to the frightening Oganigwe, every character in the Scioniverse sounds the same. They are all fearless, confident, impetuous and so on. Are you interested in reading a story where every character is intrinsically the same? Not me. Each character must sound different as much as they look different. Even wrestlers of the WWE have unique personas, and that’s what makes it interesting to watch.
KaDi: WWE is interesting to watch? Jeez, Yama. I dunno bro, I’m beginning to see you in a different light now.
I meant when I used to watch it. You’ll notice how each wrestler has a unique persona. For example, The Undertaker was that scary, fearless man associated with death; John Cena is known as the people’s hero, defender of the weak; while The Miz was a narcissistic dude known for his iconic line, “because I am The Miz, and I’m AWESOOOOOME!!!“
Each character evolving within the WWE universe was well crafted, thus making the show fun and diverse. On the contrary, SCION has no emotional relevance, all the characters are like robots as they don’t display human emotions we can relate with. In simple words, this book has no soul…
To cut it short, Scion: Immortal is eye-candy with quite a laudable storytelling approach. However, the character development is wack, and I can only advice the writer to take his time while building his characters’ voice otherwise, the book will not stimulate interest in the long term.
What are your thoughts on this African comic published by the good people at Comic Republic? Did we miss or hit? Share with us in the comments section below.
While you’re at it, never forget to Squirt Creativity!