DAWN OF THE PATRIOT: HEART OF ZIIK
– Independently Published
by Okimi Peters
RATING: 4 STARS
***I DON’T THINK THERE ARE SPOILERS***
Hello! I just thought it was worth mentioning that I was sent this to review by the publishers and I was close to not reviewing it at all or giving a very bad review. The main reason for this was that the version I was sent just did not seem to work on any of my devices for one reason or another. The copy that I had showed small images at the bottom of the pages with little or no text on them at all. Instead the text was smashed together at the top of the page making it incredibly difficult to understand what was going on, no matter what character was actually speaking. Before I got in touch with the publisher however, I decided to a bit of digging and came across the main website for the graphic novel and author. Fortunately I found that they were offering the first issue free so I immediately downloaded, praying for it to be better, and thankfully it was. It was all complete. No speech bubbles looking like they were made on Microsoft Publisher, and images that were full pages with text inside the image. All the formatting was how it should have been and so I began a proper read…
Plagued by the mysterious death of his older brother, the unassuming yet highly spirited 19 year old Ziik will be thrust on the daunting path to becoming a vigilante in the Third World. Progressively finding himself as a symbol of light through the shadows of Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, Ziik must not only weave through the present day complexities of his homeland on his quest for justice; he must also learn to overcome himself to find peace.Description from the publisher.
The story follows, 19 year old Ziik (as mentioned above), who appears to be your stereotypical teenager – hating school. However, things are harsh in Nigeria, and the “system” both and in and outside of school is run by those who have more strength. Brains aren’t the key, as it seems those who aren’t the most intellectual can still cease power as long as they have the confidence and strength to do so. It seems that doing homework isn’t what is at the forefront of Ziik’s mind, especially when he has his family to look after and needs to just generally survive.
The first issue shows snippets of his life up to the point of becoming the vigilante he plans to be, including the mysterious death of his brother, the struggles of his past, and his training.
Before this year I hadn’t read many graphic novels at all but I gave myself a goal this year to make more of an effort. So far I have read quite a few from different genres and it has been really nice to read this and be able to tick the superhero/vigilante box. Though I don’t have too much to go off and compare to, I really liked the art style of Dawn of the Patriot, most notably it’s ability to immediately set the tone for the seen. An example being the dark, eerie, night scenes and the sepia tones on the flashbacks that would lend itself very well to a movie. I believe that the whole style and story would fit really well on the big screen. Of course a live action would be good but if it was animated in the same art style I would rival the likes of Into the Spiderverse – but much darker (a film I love because of its unique art style!). Afterall, the website does say “Enjoy this movie in a book”!
Storywise, it is fast paces and a lot happens over the short, 30 page, first issue. It really is snippets into the life of Ziik but being so made me want to pick up the second issue right away. I love a good origin story and that’s exactly what this is yet it’s able to touch on some much deeper and real topics throughout. It becomes an interesting representation of the gang culture, corruption and poverty in busy Nigeria. We get to learn about how all this has an affect on one individual and through his eyes, we see the world around him bit by bit.
It isn’t a very wordy graphic novel. The art often speaks for itself. The story is mostly told through the incredible artistic detail and brief sentences that together are able to portray true emotion. We don’t need Ziik to monologue, or for thought bubbles to be there in order for us to understand how he feels. Often the actions speak for themselves and we as readers are easily able to imagine all the mixed emotions he might be feeling at any one time. Though I haven’t quite read enough of the series yet to fully connect with the character, I already find it easy to empathise and I look forward to learning more about how he chooses to deal with the situations handed to him.
Overall, I very much enjoyed reading the first issue and fully intend on reading the following issues. I look forward to finding out more about Ziik, the events around his brother deaths, perhaps more about his background and family life, and of course the adventures he will go on throughout his “daunting path” that will hopefully help end the pain felt both by himself and the people of Nigeria.
About the author:
As a first-time author Okimi Peters is new to writing books but he is not new to the world of writing. He has written scientific papers for reputable journals. His proclivity for writing began during his studies at McGill University where he pursued a Master of Applied Science degree. He wrote several papers and articles as a prerequisite to the attainment of his degree and this instilled in him a strong sense of writing. Okimi would go on to pursue a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Toronto as an international student. It is here that he began his first book project, Dawn of the Patriot. This project sparked the birth of the Movie-in-a-book penchant; an initiative that saw Okimi writing his books for big screen adaptation.
Okimi has since shifted gears from the scientific world into the world of business and currently works as the Executive Director of a telecommunications company called Alpha Technologies Limited. In his own words, “Africa could use more business solutions in transforming her from a third world to a more developed region.”from the publisher.
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Side note: I much prefer these covers that don’t have the green on them!