Martin’s Theory of Relativity Great Review!
Review of Eric Dean Seaton’s Legend of the Mantamaji
Lately there have been a lot of discussions regarding diversity in comics. We now see examples of diversity in comics among the Big Two (Marvel Comics and DC Comics). Marvel Comics has characters like Ultimate Spider-Man with the bi-racial Miles Morales and a Black Captain America; DC comics even has a Black version of Superman. While they should be applauded for making steps in the right direction it has been far too long in coming. Some question whether or not these changes are done in the name of equality or recognition that with changing demographics providing more diversity in their products translates into bigger profits.
What gets lost in the debate is that there are a number of creators out there who are not waiting to see what the Big Two plan to do next when it comes to diversity. They are creating their own diverse superheroes with their own unique mythologies. An excellent example of this is the work being done by Television Director, and former Clevelander, Eric Dean Seaton. He has written the three-issue series of graphic novels Legend of the Mantamaji. The series is about Black Assistant Attorney Elijah Alexander who finds out that he is the last of the Mantamaji, a long-lost race of warriors from Nubia, Africa with magical powers who were protectors of humanity long ago.
Book One introduces us to Elijah Alexander. He is cocky, media-hungry and ambitious beyond words. Lately he has been winning case after case, but he wants more. We meet his girlfriend Detective Sydney Spencer who warns him that his wins have been coming too easily. She is smart and resourceful and every bit Elijah’s equal. She has her own conspiracy theories of a mysterious group called the New World Knights who are getting rid of their criminal rivals by framing them. Her theories have led to her being ridiculed her fellow police officers. Enter Elijah’s mother Mariah and her long lost friend Noah. He finds out that Noah is a Mantamaji and that his mother is a Sanctuant. At Noah’s prodding Mariah tells Elijah about the history of the Mantamaji and his true destiny. I like the idea that when Elijah was growing up Mariah had been telling him about his people’s history all the time, but she disguised them as children’s stories. The mythology that Eric Dean Stanton has created for the Mantamaji is well-done.
Elijah is told that the evil and powerful Mantamaji Sirach has reawakened. He has created a new identity for himself the seemingly benevolent Brother Hope. The New World Knights are his disciples and soldiers. He has plans to reshape the world as he sees fit. Only Elijah is equipped to stop him. The powers he is able to manifest as he learns more about himself are pretty cool. Elijah has to decide whether to embrace his destiny or ignore it. The fate of mankind hangs in the balance. I don’t won’t to give away too much of the story. But believe me the book is a real page turner. The characters are well-written and fresh. The art work by Brandon Palas is excellent. I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and pick up Legend of the Mantamaji. You won’t regret it. And be on the lookout for a future live action version which is currently in production.