Is’nana the Were-Spider: Forgotten Stories | Retro Review

Is’nana the Were-Spider: Forgotten Stories

Writer: Greg Anderson-Elysée
Artist: Walter Ostlie and Lee Milewski
Colourist: Lee Milewski
Letterer: Joshua Cozine
Publisher: Webway Comics

A Review by Josh Rose

Is’nana the Were-Spider: Forgotten Stories is a horror/fantasy story based on mythological folklore from West Africa and the Caribbean. After Anansi the Spider-God of stories is kidnapped by a human who wants to take his powers, Is’nana breaks the inter-dimensional barriers in order to rescue his father. In doing so, Is’nana has allowed some “Horrors” to come to Earth with him. Now Is’nana and Anansi have to fix the barrier and stop these “Horrors” from wreaking havoc on our world.

This is a fun story, and I think Greg’s choice to make the character of Is’nana a pacifist is very interesting. Not many superheroes are reluctant to fight the villains or try to talk them down. Greg is drawing a lot from Black mythologies, setting the ground work for plenty of antagonists in the future. There are only two instances of dialogue that seemed out of character to me. Normally I would overlook something like that, but they’re strange enough to make me wonder if Greg doesn’t have a great grasp on a couple of his characters. My only wish is that this was longer. There’s only 66 pages of story, and the rest of the book is a Behind-the-Scenes and Pin-Ups.

What makes Is’nana the Were-Spider: Forgotten Stories a horror story isn’t just the terrifying appearances of Is’nana or Osebo the Leopard, but also the trauma that Osebo puts his victim Roger through during his possession. The amount of spiders and close ups on them could also be rather upsetting for some people. Overall, the atmosphere and tone of the book give off a great horror vibe.

Walter Ostlie does a fantastic job utilizing the spaces in between the threads of a spider-web, particularly when Anansi erases Roger’s memories of being possessed. Walter’s style also harkens back to the days when comic artists would draw Spider-man in multiple positions in a single panel to show complex movement. Lee Milewski’s art is a bit more cartoonish in comparison to Walter’s, but it’s a good style to use for the Mother Kingdom. Lee is also responsible for the colours throughout the book. He uses lots of browns and oranges to make the story feel warm, giving off a sort of African vibe.

I find the opening page really weird. We see a comedian wrapping up a show, and he asks the crowd if anyone knows about Anansi the Spider before launching into his next joke. The idea of a comedy show doesn’t really fit with a horror book, and they don’t return to that idea.

The Verdict: Check It Out.

Is’nana the Were-Spider: Forgotten Stories is a touching story about a father and his son. It’s not without flaws, but it has exposed me to a brand new world. I’m curious to see where Is’nana and his father will go next. (Spoiler alert: it’s Is’nana the Were-Spider: The Hornet’s Web.)

Basically a hobbit, Josh is always enjoying food and drink, and going on unexpected adventures. Beware if you see him without a cup of coffee: caffeination deprivation makes this boy go loco.

Josh Rose

Basically a hobbit, Josh is always enjoying food and drink, and going on unexpected adventures. Beware if you see him without a cup of coffee: caffeination deprivation makes this boy go loco.

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