“Their [government] corruption and lack of discipline has given birth to a frail nation. We will rebuild this city with fire; only you can decide if you will light the torches or be burned with the rubble.”
Whew. What. A. Line.
E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams brings us to Lagoon City, Nigeria in the year 2025. Lagoon City is threatened by the emergence of an extremist group Creed and introduces Wale Williams as our African superhero.
The graphic novel opens up with showing E.X.O. in action, then taking us back to Wale’s homelife, pre-superhero days. A cheerful brother, lively mother, teasing uncle, work-engulfed father, and resentful Wale sit gathered at the dinner table. I absolutely adore the integrated use of Nigerian colloquialisms throughout the dialogue exchanges. I feel more immersed in the reading and aware of the setting (highlighting its importance).
There are a couple of things I wanted to comment on right away. I love that this is in Africa. It is developed housing brilliant citizens, and albeit not a perfect society, it is different than what the media portrays to us. It is also always important to have people of color being represented in these main superhero roles which promote diversity. The character is relatable and can encourage others as they follow along with his personal growth. Kudos.
But back to the story.
The demanding research of Wale’s father, Dr. Tunde Williams, continuously enlarges the rift between the family, and a tragic result of it leads Wale to leave his home for five years. When Wale does return, his father has disappeared and Wale receives an encrypted message from him indicating that something has gone terribly wrong. Wale’s lingering feelings towards his father are slightly pushed aside due to his curiosity to figure out exactly what Tunde left for him. Lo and behold, Wale is introduced to the E.X.O. (Endogenic Xoskeletal Ordnance) suit and GAI (Genomic Artificial Intelligence). GAI is the operating system that runs fromTunde’s laboratory assisting Wale while he activates the suit.
Wale is our main character and the one chosen by his father to wear the E.X.O. suit that Wale indirectly created himself. We experience a variety of Wale’s emotions and characteristics. He is brilliant, hopeful, stubborn, passionate, and at times, rash. He rightfully resents his father for being far more absorbed with his Prytek (technological development company) research rather than spending quality time with the family. He struggles with himself at times (especially his calling to be EXO) but whenever his self-doubt comes into play, he has the loving support of friends and family.
The suit is pretty awesome. Naturally, we haven’t seen the full potential of the suit’s capabilities, (which to my guess would be once Wale has fully come into himself due to the connection). The suit is specially made for Wale (it’s linked to his DNA) meaning only he can operate it accompanied by the use of neurotransmitters in the helmet. The E.X.O. suit emits a blue concentrated energy from Wale’s feet or back to help him fly and from his hands to help him fight (shooting energy blasts and creating force fields). He can travel up to speeds of Mach 1, and it also grants him superhuman strength. Now, Wale is a little unpolished with his fighting technique, but his passion certainly carries him through. He is genuinely a kind-hearted individual whose instinct is to protect people, whether he is in the suit or not.
From what we’ve seen, this dynamic woman’s special abilities include speed enhancement, retractable blades on her wrists, and incredible hand-to-hand combat skills. She is a tactful fighter, and I am excited to see more from her.
CREED AND ONIKU:
Creed is an extremist group committed to causing anarchy and bringing about a “new change” within the government that fits what they believe is best. They’re into some dirty dealings with Prytek to achieve their separate goals. This group is led by Oniku, a ruthless individual who doesn’t mind exerting his violent authority over innocent civilians or even his loyal followers. He seems to thrive off of the fear he can instill in others, consequently hyping up his sociopathic factor. By the way, that chilling opening quote? Definitely spoken by Oniku. See what I mean? He is definitely going to cause a lot more unpredictable trouble.
Now, you won’t get any spoilers from me, BUT I definitely recommend reading this graphic novel. E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams has twists and turns with a great development of characters and storyline. It is going to take us on a relatable path of self-discovery because I believe, at some point or another, we’ve all struggled with our purpose and/or ignored our gut feelings. We have to learn to trust in our potential, and that is when we can achieve another level of greatness. I’m looking forward to seeing Wale light his torch and blaze his own path.
Find out more about E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams at www.youneekstudios.com.
Jalissa Sutton has always loved that which stretches far beyond her imagination. She has been playing video games, watching anime, and reading comics since childhood, she works in the community with Special Events. Jalissa loves to travel, try new things, eat amazing food, exchange ideas, and share laughter with friends. She is passionate about encouraging people to be themselves and enjoying life according to how they want—not how others tell them it should be.Click here for reuse options!
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