ADVANCED REVIEW: Marassa #1 (On Kickstarter!)

Comics: Marassa #1 / Writer-Creator: Greg Anderson-Elysee / Artist-Inker: Antonello Cosentino / Letterer : Justin Birch / Editor: Marcel Dupree / Colorist: Francesco Montalbano / Publisher: Evoluzione Publishing / Jan 11, 2019 (Kickstarter Ends)

Marassa is currently Live on Kickstarter.

2018 was an amazing year for Afrofuturism. Black Panther hit the silver screen and broke records, and Octavia Butler’s Kindred got a graphic novel adaptation, but I want more afros in space.

Enter Marassa, by writer/creator Greg Anderson-Elysee.

The 45-page comic follows the space pirate, Sa, as he attempts to reunite his old band of mercenaries for one last big score. But as he attempts to convince his twin sister Princess Mara, to reclaim their parent’s long lost treasure, it’s clear they’re not alone.

light-hearted is rich and dripping with Caribbean inspired sci-fi lore, creating a unique universe. Characters occasionally slip into Spanish and French and women wear Karabela dresses and headwraps. However, historical accuracy isn’t the goal here, and the series has a lot of fun playing with a hodgepodge of cultural themes. At one point a half-plant voodoo doll operates a mech to wrestle with their half-human, four-armed, star-skinned cousins and it’s played out entirely in the background.  

Despite being a light-hearted fantasy, the story remains grounded firmly in human drama, mainly familial ties. Mara’s main objection to joining her brother in another whirlwind treasure hunting adventure is her princely husband, and children. The book sets the stage for what could become a fairly elaborate space opera, complete with intergalactic royalty, voodoo magic, and space Nazis. Imagine, Caribbean Star Wars.

The art is exactly what you’d want to see for this kind of planet-hopping epic. Bustling semi-organic spaceports teem with alien life, and you can expect limbs to fly and explosion abound whenever a fight breaks out. Seeing Sa throw back his cape, with his sword drawn ready to dispatch mercenaries reminds me of a younger Afro Samurai with the swagger of Han Solo. However, the literally wooden face of his son(?) is stuck pretty low in the uncanny valley.

While it’s still too early to predict the success of the series, the ending of issue #1 makes it clear Anderson-Elysee has a much bigger story to tell. Primed for swashbuckling action, I’d recommend giving Marassa #1 a read.

Verdict 3 out of 5.

Currently, Marassa is Live on Kickstarter. Also check out his other comic Is’nana the Were-Spider: The Ballads of Rawhead & John Henry.

Ryan Hunter is a writer, editor, and comic book lover living in Washington D.c.

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