Yesterday Nigeria based comic book publisher released the prequel to their upcoming Ojuju series. Written by Somto Ajuluchukwu the story re-imagines traditional Nigerian masquerades as magical beings that inhabit the modern world. Iheme Odiete, the leader of the Egungun and Ekpe masquerade tribes awakens from a 100 year long slumber and is immediately sucked into a chaotic cycle of violence that results in blood, gore and destruction. (Warning Spoilers Ahead!)
With minimal exposition the story throws readers straight into the deep end. Within the first few panels the titular character finds himself surrounded by a sea of corpses although it’s not clear as to whether or not he’s responsible for their deaths. This ambiguity is a running theme in the comic as the writer leaves it up to the readers to decide whether or not Ojuju is a villain, hero or perhaps something else entirely.
This new series is also a cross over as June XII, another character from the vortex line up enters the fray. June XII is a spirithero based in Nigeria that spends most of his time battling corrupt law enforcers, politicians and other worldly beings. June XII’s radar eventually catches onto Ojuju and his trail of destruction and while nothing major happens in this prequel a clash between Ojuju and June XII now seems inevitable.
Akindele Damilola and Yussuf Shittu must also be commended for excellent art work. In this very short prequel the two artists do a fantastic job of packing in a number of epic scenes and battle sequences. Most of all the character design for the Titular character is nothing short of fascinating. Unlike other masquerades Ojuju wears his mask as a cap slightly tilted forwards to cover his face. The characters decision not to don his mask fully seems to symbolise his moral ambiguity and it will be interesting to see how the artists play around with this in future installments of the series.
It’s too early to tell just how good the Ojuju series may be but this prequel has set up an excellent backdrop to what could be a fantastic story. However, don’t take our word for it! Read Ojuju #0 for free and let us know what you think in the comments. Also check out Vortex inc for more great comics, they’ve also launched a line of awesome t-shirts so you can support your favourite Vortex spirithero.