New Masters

Image Comics. Oct. 2022. 192p. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781534323384.
Gr 9 Up–In this trade volume collecting the first six comics, brothers and cocreators Coker and Coker infuse African mythology, languages, and culture into a fast-paced sci-fi adventure set in West Africa. Centuries in the future, Earth has transformed after years of Jovian occupation, and resources are scarce—none more so than obsidium, the precious fuel source that enables interplanetary travel. Anchoring the story is 14-year-old Ola, the daughter of a Jovian and an Earther who, along with their crew, are just trying to eke out an honest living. When word spreads that an ancient artifact is up for grabs—one whose secrets could grant the upper hand in the ongoing galactic power struggle—the crew is offered a deal they can’t refuse, drawing them into a nail-biting heist and putting them in the crosshairs of callous politicians and fortune-seeking mercenaries. The art is breathtaking, tilting and zooming through action at dizzying speeds while offering a wealth of worldbuilding details that readers will want to savor. Distinctive character designs, warm family dynamics, and careful attention to emotional beats ensure that the large cast and shifting POVs all work in concert. While the climactic showdown resolves a bit quickly, what emerges is a vision of a future where making space for a new generation that values community and shared resources may offer a way forward for all. Back matter includes developmental sketches and notes.
VERDICT Readers will be hoping for more adventures in this expansive world. A strong choice for YA graphic novel collections.

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