Santeria: the Goddess Kiss #2 (of 4)
Aspen Comics 2016
Created & Written by David Wohl
Illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro
Coloured by Wes Hartman
Lettered by Josh Reed
Several hundred years ago, the worshipers of Oonaa, led by their Priestess, Aamali, lived trouble-free lives in Eastern Africa amongst other tribes until they were sold into slavery by greedy elders who didn’t believe in their religion. Becoming slaves in Cuba, Oonaa’s servants continued to believe in their Goddess and even gained new worshipers once their fellow slaves saw her power in action when the master of the plantation died a painful death after taking Aamali against her will. Today, the Goddess still has servants who believe they are acting on her behalf, and some are bestowed gifts of terrible power. Sometimes the power is even given to unknowing people, who then become part of Oonaa’s grand design. Now, in Spanish Harlem a medical student/EMT named Naomi Clarke is the newest unsuspecting recipient of the gift. And although she begins to realize something is amiss, she’s quite unaware of the terrible price she must pay, and also of those who seek to use her for their own nefarious schemes…
First i’m a huge fan of what David’s doing with this story. Using so much lore from a faraway culture transplanted to modern day NYC as it is is beautifully done. Sometimes we forget that there are places, legends, gods and monsters from around the world that we haven’t been introduced to yet. For me it’s always a pleasure to see things like this brought to life. More so when it happens to enwrap history, mythology and horror all at the same time.
I’m also a fan of how the first part of the issue concentrates on the past. It’s a little wordy but it’s darn good stuff and with how Giuseppe and Wes illustrate it I have no problems with wordy. I would love to see more of this style from them in the future it’s magical, entrancing and full of the kind of mystery and horror that makes history come alive.
After last issue Naomi has a lot to try and come to terms with. Now she’s at the scene where a boy she rescued has gone on killing spree. Unable to discuss all this with her potential new boyfriend, Detective Choe or her partner Michael she’s internalizing a lot right now. If there’s one thing i’ve learned over the years is that bottling things up and keeping them to yourself only ends up making matters worse when it does come to light. Still for now it’s okay because she really is having a hard believing all this herself. This is some absolutely splendid characterization.
David’s ability for storytelling continues to impress me. With so much happening that it feels like we’re reading a double sized issue he’s able to really involve the reader in what’s happening. You get a chance to KNOW these people and to like them and feel invested in what’s happening. The story progression is spectacular and this whole thing is one of those rare moments when you think okay I gotta keeping checking left field to see if something is coming.
I’ve mentioned what I thought of Giuseppe and Wes’s work on the first half and it’s equally as good with the current arc. These everyday people we see in this magnificent city in the backgrounds really give a great sense of the area. Expressive, nicely detailed and the flow of the work telling the story is wonderfully done.
Aspen came at me out of left field with this one but dang I surely hope there will be more like this because it’s dynamic, interesting and surprisingly captivating.