cover image The Root

The Root

Na’amen Gobert Tilahun. Night Shade, $14.99 trade paper (420p) ISBN 978-1-59780-863-7

A gay former child star discovers that he’s descended from gods and destined to fight supernatural creatures in this muddled debut from podcaster Tilahun (The Adventures of Yellow Peril & Magical Negro). What starts out promisingly descends swiftly into cliché with its two engaging characters, human Erik and angel Lil, in need of a better story. Erik, whose Disney career ended when he came out as gay, is blasé about stumbling into a world of angels and demons; Lil suffers from a lack of exposition, as it takes too long for the reader to understand who she is and what motivates her. By the time the true threat emerges, it’s hard to care. Tilahun’s strengths lie in writing family dynamics—Erik’s clash with his father, Lil’s interactions with her sister—but there’s very little real or metaphorical magic here. (June)