The Chronicles of the Newborn (Rise of the Mlezi) is a good attempt at creating a comic with an Afrocentric appeal. Many comic buffs have over the years criticized our over dependence on foreign comics for entertainment so I particularly commend the publishers for being bold enough to go African.
The first thing worthy of note is the artwork. The crisp ‘in your face’ images are well drawn and colored to catch attention. They are big and beautiful to behold and tell a story on their own. I also like the arrangement of the captions. It is tastefully and unobtrusively done so as not to interfere with viewing the images.
The storyline of issue zero for me is quite a predictable, but since it is like a prologue maybe that’s not a bad thing. The fact that it deals with familiar African themes like coming of age and initiation to manhood rites makes for good reading. It lays the ground work for the battle between good and evil which is to come.
Overall Rise of the Mlezi holds a lot of promise for the discerning comic reader. One can only hope that subsequent issues surpass the lofty heights of the predecessor. I’m sure quite a lot of people will agree with me that it’s about time someone pushed an African hero/heroine into the comic mainstream.