Writer: David Wohl
Art: Giuseppe Cafaro
Colors: Wes Hartman
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: ASPEN COMICS (March 2016)
We get a history lesson on the goddess Oonaa and her priestess, Aamali, and Aamali’s life in the new world. With Catholics moving their religion on Aamali’s people as she is taken to the new world. Yet, as Oonaa’s followers lessen, Aamali keeps Oonaa’s religion alive … with higher demands of the goddess.
We move to the present day as the sorry story of a young boy named Erick who leads to Naomi Clarke getting the “Goddess Kiss.” And from there, the death of many people will kick off.
Wohl does an outstanding job with setting up the main story, giving background and overall giving us this mysterious, mystic and brutal world of Santeria: The Goddess Kiss. Wohl gives plenty of background of Oonaa, her priestess and the price you have to pay to get the gifts of the goddess. The background feels dense, but in a great way. Wohl’s characterizations of Aamali, Naomi, Michael, Tio Fernando, Wendall and Vincent were varied, interesting and fully realized. Aamali’s personality is all based on description, but still shines through well. Naomi was already an interesting, strong lead. Michael, Tio Fernando, Wendall and Vincent were also given distinct personalities that make them extremely interesting. Wohl makes it absolutely amazing with the pacing and dialogue that really help bring out the best of the book.
Cafaro does some of his best work there. There’s a good amount of detail on the panels, allowing all the characters have distinct looks and convey emotion well. There was definitely a lot of different things that Cafaro had to draw, but he does a good job of showing all the different places and time periods. From the time of the slaves, colonial Cuba and present day New York were rendered with care. Wes Hartman’s colors has been done extremely well, allowing his colors to be varied from the powerful visions of the goddess and fire to the grittier colors used while our paramedics were trying to help our two victims. Matching colors to tone as well as background is very engaging. Visually, the book is pleasing, with Cafaro and Hartman do a strong job here.
There are a few panels that seem a bit rushed towards the end, but it isn’t that bad.
This first issue was definitely a wonderful premiere. Wohl does a great job with characterization, background history, characterization and tone. There’s a mystery going on that Wohl lets you figure out the majority of it, but hasn’t been fully revealed. Cafaro and Hartman do a strong job with art, even with the panels that look a bit rushed. There is a depth here that isn’t seen in many other issues. A very strong first issue.