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'Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods' Issue 1 asks 'Is this African Folklore Sandman?'

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 Featured Image

About Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods #1 is written by Murewa Ayodele. The artwork is by Dotun Akunde, with coloring by Dee Cunniffe and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The issue was released on April 3rd, 2024. Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods is published by Oni Press.

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 Review

Spoiler warning: There are spoilers in this Issue 1 review of Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods.

Series creators Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akunde introduce us to a wonderfully sparse indigenous supernatural world that is filled with African folklore. Creatures both distant and familiar populate every panel as you start to think to yourself “is this the African folklore version of Sandman?” It’s not. But thanks to Akunde’s artwork and Cunniffe’s coloring it’s certainly leaning in that direction as we’re introduced to Akogun’s world and the gods which inhabit it.

Interestingly, Ayodele approaches Issue 1 in Chapters. Almost like he wants you to see the many exploits of Akogun viewed through the eyes of a parable.

The prologue tells the tale of a god named Obatala who fell from the heavens into a world made of only water. In his plight to save himself from drowning, Obatala uses his god-powers to raise lands and mountains to the surface, and in doing so drank from the very oceans that almost drowned him. Drunk from the very oceans that almost drowned him, Obatala became a drunk god and created monsters as only a drunk god can.

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Page 3
Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Page 3

With the prologue over, Chapter 1, ‘We Were All Made By A Drunk God,’ introduces us to the beasts that Obatala created. Akogun is dragging a dead gigantic crocodile-looking reptile with lobster shaped pincers through the wetlands, cursing the thing’s weight as he gets closer to camp. Once at camp, Akogun begins to prepare the beast, to harvest its giant and poisonous teeth to be fashioned as arrow and spear heads.

As day turns to night, Akogun stays dead still, watching his camp fire as it illuminates his extremities and the corpse of the creature he killed. With the fire dimming out, neon glowing cross-dimensional portals appear, revealing a gigantic goanna called the Ninki Nanka. Akogun leaps towards the Ninki Nanka and after narrowly avoiding its poisonous teeth, manages to fell the beast. Sitting back admiring his handiwork, Akogun repeats his early activity, except on the Ninki Nanka. Fashioning more spear and arrowheads from the gnashing teeth of the dead gigantic goanna. With this chapter ending there’s a revelation Akogun is doing this for his mother and father. His hatred for the creations of Obatala making it clear he wants revenge on the gods that created them.

Chapter 2, ‘Obatala Makes No Mistakes,’ takes us back to the past as Obatala is getting drunk on wine in the desert and being tended to by naked women in the desert. Hovering above, war god Ogun criticises Obatala for his drunken ways and for stealing sacred relics from Orunmila to create a “brewery world.” Not to mention countless crimes and for constantly defying the King of all Gods. As things get heated, Obatala raises from his deformed creations as it erupts from the belly of the desert and turns its attention to Ogun. Obatala, on the other hand, is too busy drinking to notice Ogun easily slay the beasts that Obatala throws against him.

As Obatala stands up to take a drink from a bowl of water, Ogun throws a spinning dagger at him, decapitating both his hands and this amuses Obatala. Laughing hysterically as, hands or not, Obatala still holds the ability to create life. As malformed as he wants. This doesn’t stop Ogun from wrapping Obatala in chains, binding his mouth shut, and walking towards his steed and ultimate galloping into the distance.

Ignoring the small malformed creature that stood barely a foot tall, a creature that would one day meet a lone and pregnant woman. A woman it would influence though its hidden power and she would later give birth to Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods. Proving that Obatala makes absolutely no mistakes and plays the long game when dealing with his enemies. He’s the trickster in this story. A well thought out Loki archetype, not of the Marvel Universe, but of Norse mythology.

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Page 4
Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Page 4

Chapter 3, ‘Men Shall Inherit The World But Monsters Shall Take It,’ gives us the life of Akogun growing up in three stages. From a baby to a 10 year old and a 20 year old. It shows how his father won over his mother by journeying into the forest and bringing back an exotic fruit. Right through to where his parents finally die at the hands of their enemies. Warriors who wrap themselves in white cloths. This leads into the final scene of this issue and Akogun’s actions as he exacts revenge on those who killed his parents. Justifiable vengeance for a mother and father who loved and adored him.

The warriors who wrap themselves in White Cloths are camped in The Forest planning to launch an attack on their enemies. Meanwhile, one of their own is having sex with a female warrior, only for one of Akogun’s poisoned arrows to pierce her in the leg, causing her to projectile vomit on her romantic companion instantly. Enraged and covered in puke, he stands up naked, and draws his sword. Cursing into the night as another arrow strikes him in the head from behind, killing him instantly.

This part of the issue I found quite hilarious during the second read because, despite the serious of a poison arrow taking out your lover, it’s quite funny to see someone covered in vomit trying to take a position of authority. Clearly there’s no higher insult than your lady vomiting on you during sex.

The others in The Forest are approached by another warrior, not of their kin, who warns them of monsters in the forest. He is then struck by one of Akogun’s arrows which causes one in the camp to blow a warning through their warrior’s horn. Warning another group of warriors who are protecting their High Priestess that danger is on the way. But danger isn’t just on its way - it’s above them. This last panel lands on a perfect cliffhanger, as Akogun stares down at the High Priestess and her men - promising killer intent.

We have watched the background of the gods be explored throughout the entirety of Issue 1 of Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods. From the establishment of this indigenous world to the gods that rule over it and are pulling the strings to the resolve of Akogun and his upbringing. But how will Akogun exact on the high priestess and her warriors? And with Obatala now a captive of Ogun, will he escape his fate and continue to manufacture more corrupt and twisted monsters? Only Issue 2 will tell.

What did you think?

I hope you enjoyed my Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 review! What did you think of this issue?

Are you happy with the indigenous supernatural story turned epic of vengeance direction that Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande are taking?

Leave me a comment below or let me know on social media.

Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Cover A
Akogun: Brutalizer of the Gods Issue 1 - Cover A


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