Paul Louise-Julie’s roguish space pirate returns in the second chapter of the Yohance saga.
Yohance II: Shadows of the Annakil (Midas Monkee)
Words and Pictures: Paul Louise-Julie
We were lucky enough to review Yohance: The Ekangeni Crystal in the early days of Advance Comics. Now after a 5 moth wait our roguish scoundrel has returned in Chapter 2 of the Yohance Saga, Shadows of the Annakil.
Yohance is on the run after stealing the mysterious and powerful Ekangeni Crystal. The power and potential of the relic are only now beginning to dawn on our hapless hero but he’s running out of time with bounty hunters and assassins hot on his heels.
This is the second of five chapters of Yohance Volume 1 and it’s a very strong second issue in all the best ways. The story builds on the characters, locations and lore of the universe we’ve already seen expanding the scope, scale and struggle of Yohance, Cana and the mysterious and powerful forces manipulating them.
This is Space Fantasy, Capital S Capital F, and the influences of classic works like Dune, Star Wars or Ring World are clear.
We are introduced to the Royal Court of the Kinzane Empire and the mysterious agents of the shadow ancient race known only as the Annakil.
Louise-Julie also takes the opportunity to explore a variety of new locations each with its own unique texture and colour palette. There are obvious parallels to the way the original Star Wars trilogy contrasted the sands of Tatooine with the icy wastes of Hoth and the lush forests of Endor as we are taken to the Kizane throne world and the watery wonders of Solura.
The loving homage to Star Wars continues through a sequence mirroring the attack on Princess Leia’s freighter at the beginning of the New Hope right. This culminates in the introduction of the savage sword wielding cyborg Okunda.
Okunda is a violent vision in fiery reds and oranges. He is the apex predator of this world with all the effortless power and grace of a great cat. He is the relentless right hand of the Kizune Court charged with disposing with the meddling Yohance and recovering the crystal before its true power is revealed.
Louise-Julie love for the genre and his ability to express this through his art stands out again. The commitment to the Afro-Futurist fusion of traditional design with surrealist space fantasy which we spoke about in our review of the first issue is just as clear here.
Readers of Marvel’s current Black Panther series will have seen Brian Stelfreeze and Afua Richardson bring a similar design aesthetic to those books but Yohance takes that art style to the stars infusing it with a Sci Fi strangeness to bring the reader an infinite universe with an aeons old hidden history.
The deep shadowy purples of the Kizune palace are ominously full of intrigue and deception while the fading evening sky lit with pink starlight hints at an Empire in decline.
The aquatic world of Solura and it’s Kho’ii inhabitants are a breathtaking sight. Paul-Louise reinvents traditional Western fantasy tropes of Atlantis with jelly fish inspired designs floating effortlessly in a crystal clear Caribbean ocean filled with luminescent yellows and oranges, tranquil cyan and green.
Common enemies make for reluctant alliances and Yohance has come to the underwater kingdom in an effort to decode a message hidden inside the Ekangeni Crystal. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that we are only just scratching the surface of a complex and ancient universe where strange and powerful beings have played a grand game over centuries with nothing less than the fate of the universe and all its inhabitants at stake.
Science Fiction fans of all ages will thrill to Yohance’s classic heroic story of one individual’s struggle. The best way to get your hands on a copy of either of the first 2 chapters in the Yohance story is through the Midas Monkee store or you can pick up a season pass subscription to all 5 Chapters of Yohance Volume 1 as well as previewing the first Chapter of Volume 2.