(originally posted on tumblr)
I first heard about Okemus, the post-apocalyptic story of a time-traveling, shape-shifting superhero by Taylor Sterling and his company Red Arcis Entertainment about 6 months ago. I was reading about SDCC and was intrigued by Sterling’s story. Although Sterling had never been to Comic-Con before, he managed to sell out ALL 300 COPIES of his 38 page comic in four days.
Now having gotten a chance to review the comic myself, I can see why.
CALE – An orphaned human host to an alien shape-shifting symbiant, which transforms him into a superhero with enhanced fighting abilities, advanced weaponry and is capable of time-travel. He has no memory of his past, his parents or how he came to have his powers.
MECHAI SENTRIES – A race of cybernetic subhuman creatures that are currently terraforming the Earth and exterminating anything and everyone in their path.
BARNABUS – A Mechai leader with super-enhancements whom despite his enormous size, possesses super-speed, bone-crushing strength and uses lesser Mechai as his “disposable” henchmen.
The year is 3021 and humans are now an endangered species. Cale has lived on Earth in this time period for almost 3 years. When he isn’t doing battle with the relentlessly bloodthirsty Mechai, he is searching for clues to his past. His exosuit is actually a living symbiote that moves to protect him faster than his mere human reflexes can react. It also comes equipped with some nifty telepathic tech that is kind of a cross between Ghost in the Shell and Minority Report. It is these enhancements that Cale uses to read the “minds” of the Mechai he defeats and solve the puzzle of his past.
His quest leads him towards Okemus, a distant, possibly off-world city that seems to hold the keys to Cale’s past. His journey, however, leads him right to Barnabus’ desert-mirage-mecha-doorstep, who admits to knowing everything there is to know about Cale’s origin story.
Right before he proceeds to kick Cale’s ass for about 3 pages.
Cale does prevail, but I won’t tell you how. (You need to see for yourself because it’s kind of a pivotal part of the story).
What I Think
Okemus is a story that I think would be fine for tweens and older, simply because of the violence depicted in some scenes. That being said, I REALLY like the artwork in this book. Sterling draws fight scenes very well and I never lost track of the action or which direction each character’s moves were coming from. The color and depth worked really well to show just how uninhabitable most of Earth’s landscape has become. The dialogue wasn’t overdone, the language was easy to follow and I especially liked Cale’s sarcasm.
I find the moral story of a man from the past who feels incomplete despite having powered enhancements a very interesting one. Yes, you could draw comparisons to Steve Rogers or Wolverine even Iron Man. However, since the hero is a Black man, that’s where the similarities end.
Cale’s narrative is an intriguing and timely one: A man of African descent not in his own country, who is searching for who he is and where he comes from and now may have more in common with his enemy than with his birthplace.
I really like this story and as you can see from the variant art below, there might be a superpowered-mecha team in Cale’s future.
I can’t wait to find out.
I actually owe Taylor an apology. I missed the fact that Red Arcis was at NYCC, therefore they were accidentally left out of my post “Here Are All the Black People: NYCC Edition”. Sorry Taylor! Next year you’ll definitely be included!
Company: Red Arcis Entertainment
Writer: Eugene Argent
Inker: Jaxen De Nobriga