Writers: Corey Mikeil and Nic Macari
Aritst: Sebas Riera
Created by: Johnny O’Bryant & Vaughn Alexander
Co-Created by: Marcus Johnson
Editorial Associate: Janae Young
Cover Designer: Sol DeLeo
Retouching and Lettering: Vibrraant Publishing Studio
Publisher: Noir Caesar and TOKYOPOP

Primus7 is a new original work published jointly by Noir Caesar and TOKYOPOP. It screams to the world, “BIPOC have been reading and enjoying manga for years, and we have stories like that we want to tell as well!” 

Primus7 is set in an original world known as Primorida, where people utilize a power known as Orii, a spiritual essence inside all living beings. There are enforcers known as the World Corps, and our main characters are Seven and Silva Ajamu, brothers born to a commander of the rebel group Primus, known as Sevar. It has dystopian and cyberpunk elements, which build on themes of social inequality and the pursuit of freedom. 

A lot of the appeal in this first volume comes from the script and action. There’s a lot of banter reminiscent of the animated Adult Swim series The Boondocks, and action scenes are punctuated by martial arts choreography and urban gun fights. The existence of Orii means there are also energy waves that can make fights more fantastical like in Dragon Ball. Most impressively, however, is the fact that even with all of these apparent influences, Primus7 succeeds in carving out its own identity as a futuristic fantasy series. It doesn’t feel incongruent or anachronistic to have characters use modern AAVE due to the urban environments and body language, which serves to further immerse the reader in the events that unfold.

Out of the entire cast, it’s clear that Geo Yasuke, a drunk swordsman, is meant to be a standout character. He has a devil-may-care attitude toward all the violence and oppression around him, but doesn’t hesitate to defend the people who’ve made an impression on him. He’s an extension of the “delinquent with a heart of gold” trope, where even if he puts up a front–likely because of being hurt in the past–he still holds humanity in his heart and has ideals he wants to defend. We also have confirmation that he is directly inspired by the original historic black samurai who served under Oda Nobunaga, Yasuke.

My favorite scene with Geo Yasuke was when he stole from the mobster known as Cash after breaking out of his jail cell. There were two sex workers in cages who pleaded with him for help escaping; he prodded them for information and to see if they’d betray him or not. The one who gave him information was freed, but the other one who only derided him ended up trapped with no assistance. The “eye for an eye” attitude is very much consistent with his character, but also serves to cement the prevailing survival instinct in this world. People need to look after themselves, and if you’re not being helped then there isn’t any reason to help others. Geo Yasuke is a badass who embodies the attitude needed to survive in this world.

Silva and Seven are like Yin and Yang–Silva is calm, cool, and rational, while Seven gives in to his desires and follows his feelings and emotions more willingly. Both were traumatized due to experiencing the death of their father Sevar firsthand, and that event permanently shaped the way they interact with their world. They may butt heads, but they also respect each other and their differences in order to look out for each other. It’s a brotherly relationship that feels true to life; nothing goes perfectly in life and there’s no way to appease everyone. Compromise and understanding is what allows people to coexist. 

That same ideal compromise is what is lacking from the World Corps and their leader Arthur. Formerly allies, Arthur’s betrayal to Sevar was done wholly in the pursuit of his own interests. He is regarded as the “False Hero,” and even his encounter with the high being Atiyama shows that he is a slave to his desires–even if his humanity is still buried deep inside his soul. Conflicts like these have purpose and help to set the stage for what I find to be some of the more satisfying stories in action series. A clash of ideals holds infinitely more weight to me than flashy and impressive choreography with no substance. I am looking forward to Seven and Silva’s eventual clash with Arthur, and how the aftermath will shape the future of their world.

Overall, Primus7 Volume 1 is quite the engaging new series for comics fans of action fantasy. It paints an original world while wearing its heart (and influences) on its sleeve. If you’re a fan of 90s and 2000s action comics, this is totally up your alley. It is now available as of July 2023. 

Courtesy of Noir Caesar, here is a short preview of Primus7 Volume 1, for those curious:

Primus7: Volume 1 is out now.