Is’nana the Werespider is the story of Anansi the Spider’s son. Written by Greg Anderson-Elysée, the story is based on Anansi the trickster god of the Akan people of Ghana, whose stories have spread for centuries throughout Africa as well as the Caribbean. Anansi is also present in the Vodun tradition which made it’s way from West Africa to Haiti, where Anderson-Elysée hails from.
In the legends, Anansi, (masterfully portrayed by actor Orlando Jones this year on American Gods), primarily takes the form of a spider and weaves his webs of trickery and deceit in the form of stories for personal gain. But in all of the fables I have ever read, Anansi was never painted as evil. Instead, the legends spoke of him as a benevolent deity who may trick you into giving away your money, but would often shower his followers with good fortune and teach you a lesson in the process.
In this two-chapter offering, Is’nana the Werespider tells the non-linear story of how Anansi himself was tricked and taken hostage in the human world, away from the spiritual animal realm. Is’nana, who, like his father, exists in arachnid form, sets out to find him and with the help of a human sorceress gains the ability to take on a human body. (Thus explaining the “were” portion of the title).
He finds his father an does save him, but in the interim, saves a woman from being mugged, a man from and a man from the possession of the spirit of Osebo the Leopard who has traveled to this realm and found a host in a depressed musician. It takes the strength of both Anasi and Osebo to vanquish him.
Is’nana the WereSpider has a different set of powers. Instead of trickery, He craves honesty and justice, safety and happiness. Of course, being part-arachnid he can summon multiple appendages and has the ability to spin webs and use them as his weapons. But unlike Spiderman (at least the MCU version), he can shoot venom and also attack with an army of spiders at his command, and his webs not only have the ability to track people, they also can alter memories as well.
What I think
Is’Nana the Werespider is definitely a teen and up story and is considered part of the horror comic genre due to the blood, violence, and sheer number of spiders. This initial work from Greg Anderson-Elysée is well written, although it does drag a little bit in the middle as Is’Nana stays with Osebo’s victim to ensure his safety. What’s interesting about Osebo is that in original Anansi folklore, Osebo is one of the animal spirits that Anansi must bring to the Sky-God Nyame in order to become the owner of all of the stories of the world.
The book is beautifully drawn by both Walter Ostile ( Part 1) and Joshua Cozine (Part 2) and the flow of watercolor type colors at times reminds me of the Anansi folk tales my mom used to read to me as bedtime stories. However, I did have a little trouble following Part 2 of the story, called “Prelude” and I wonder if the story would be better served if Part 2 came first. Overall I think this is a wonderful first outing for Anderson-Elysée and I look forward to more stories from this series as well as others from this author.
TBG Review Rating*
Is’Nana the Werespider Vol. 1
WHERE TO BUY:
print $19.95 – Amazon
digital – $10.00 – PeepGame Comix
Writer/Creator: Greg Anderson Elysee
Pencils/Inks: Artist: Walter Ostlie
Colorist: Lee Milewski
Letterer: Joshua Cozine
Cover Art: alt Msonza Barna
*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
• Have you read Is’Nana? What do you think? Comment below!