The second volume of E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Willams dropped on August 24, 2016. This issue should be called E.X.O. “Revelations” because ALL of the questions from Volume 1 and even how the suit works are all answered in this book. Instead of releasing a series of 22 page comics, Okupe once again gives us a 152 page volume (paid for from his second successful Kickstarter) covering Chapters 8-15. Wale’s character grows in this book with the help of Fury, the mysterious woman who appeared at the end of Volume 1. (And she kicks some serious ass in this book guys seriously). We also find out what actually happened to Wale’s father and what the E.X.O. suit was originally intended for.
Wale Williams is still after his nemesis Oniku who we find out is not just trying to destroy Lagoon City but to control most of Western Africa. Wale realizes with the help of Zahra (Fury’s real name) and her scientist father, that not only was Wale previously mentally unprepared to battle Oniku, he has not been utilizing the E.X.O. suit to its full potential. This go round, instead of taking on Oniku alone out of anger and revenge (that’s still simmering beneath the surface), Wale is more tactical and goes through extensive training in the suit and plans his attack with the help of a team. Scientist and medical doctor, Dr. Martins, Zahra, his cousin Benji and G.A.I., the interface within the suit. (Think African http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/J.A.R.V.I.S.J.A.R.V.I.S.)
Oniku’s origin story is also revealed and as with most supervillians actually parallel’s Wale’s own need for revenge very closely.They are really two sides of the same coin in that Wale is out to save his own people and Oniku is beyond doesn’t think the people from Lagoon City are worth saving. Therefore he wants to destroy everything and rebuild “from the ashes” to save what he feels is the future of the country itself.
This volume actually concludes the First ARC of the E.X.O. storyline and introduces a new character that we will see in the future of another story tied to this universe.
Okupe’s writing here is more in depth this time around, however, at times, the story does get a bit dialogue heavy, but for the most part I enjoyed the character’s discussions, development and banter.
I LOVE Godwin Akpan’s cover work as well as the interior work by Sunkanmi Akinboye and Raphael Kazeem. Faces and colors stayed consistent throughout but there were a couple of times I felt some of the physiology was a bit off. That being said the fight scenes were AMAZING! The choreography, depth of field and angles were executed with exceptional detail and I was VERY impressed with how Wale’s interaction with the suit development was depicted. Many splash pages were also included of fan art of the book which I think was a wonderful homage to E.X.O. fans and a great way to showcase the work of otherwise unknown African talent.
I really enjoyed how the story played out and especially liked the use of the Yoruba language mixed into the English dialogue. One of my only criticism is that some of the practice/training sessions went on a little too long. I am also a big fan of “humanizing” the villain and making him look like the flip side of the hero, this was also executed well in this story. I absolutely LOVED Fury’s fight scenes and her character, but I wish we got to see more of her development and her drive and focus, at times I think she kind of came off as a 2-dimensional character for Wale to respond to. His cousin Benji was used well as the “everyman” plot device, helping to provide backstory and lightening up otherwise heavy moments in the book.
One thing that Okupe does very well is write cliffhanger endings, I actually read the entire book in one sitting because he kept ending each chapter with questions that I HAD to know the answers to. I was very surprised at the traumatic event (there’s two actually) that happened to Oniku because it is not one we often see here in the States, especially in a comic book, which is why I would really only recommend this volume to kids ages 12 and up.
This volume is a fun ride and definitely worth checking out. (Apparently, the Washington Post agrees)
TBG Review Rating*
E.X.O. THE LEGEND OF WALE WILLIAMS PART 2
WHERE TO BUY:
Writer: Roye Okupe
Penciler: Sunkanmi Akinboye
Inker: Sunkanmi Akinboye
Colorist: Raphael Kazeem
Cover Art: Godwin Akpan
Editor: Ayodele Elegba
NOTE: This is a high-quality indie TPB. the first African comic I’ve ever heard of Diamond distributing. If we want to see more books like this in comic book stores, then we have to pre-order them! Don’t know how to pre-order? Well I happen to have this handy guide right here.
*Rating System: A rating of 1= poor writing/storyline and poor artwork/lettering while a rating of 10= Excellent writing/storyline and High-quality artwork/lettering