IDW Opens the Bottle on Jinnrise

It seems like the last time anybody was talking about genies in the mainstream, Disney was releasing Aladdin on Blu-ray. Well, the age-old Middle Eastern mythos is back, this time on the pages of Jinnrise, a new mini-series from IDW comics.  The title brings forth a concoction of sci-fi with the wish-granting super beings in what intends to be a high octane collision course.

At first glance, it appears the series’ main character is student Andrew Marcus who is studying in an unamed Middle Eastern country.  Unbeknownst to him or the surrounding natives, an alien race known as the Kibrani are fastly approaching earth with one directive.  Obliterate.  Writer Sohaib Awan wastes little time in getting the invasion underway.  Unfortunately, it happens in such a rushed fashion that there’s little time invested in establishing the characters.  Because of that, it’s a big case of detachment that ensues and I cared little for the humans and had no disdain toward the horse-faced, four-eyed Kibrani and their blitzkrieg.  In short, none of it really matters to me as a reader in lieu of the way things kicked off.

Tony Vassallo is the artist of the series who comes up with some questionable drawings.  My biggest complaint here is character expressions.  They just don’t seem to fit the mood of the panel and this happens far more often than it should.  A massive firestorm of alien artillery is leveling the landscape and our main character offers up moments of smiles.  It just doesn’t make any sense at times.  Was Tom Hanks cracking a grin in the Omaha Beach scenes in Saving Private Ryan?  I think not.  The lead character isn’t the only occasional artistic mishap either.  There’s the zombie-esque camel with its lifeless eyes and its rider who’s smiling from ear to ear as they try and outrun the numerous explosions.  Back to the drawing board.

Where Awan and Vassallo did gel was on the unleashing of the sapphire-colored genie that begins to lay waste to the Kibrani ships.  The retaliation by the genie offers up some wickedly portrayed sequences where the imagination of its creators starts to show through.  Fortunately, it’s not a case of too little, too late (yet it teters on that fence) as this chain of genie-starring panels is a pretty definitive case of butt-kicking.  However, with that being said, it’s not an overwhelming rescue to the rest of the book either.  There’s potential in Jinnrise, but whatever happens from here on out, the series has already started off on what overall is an unfavorable note (though the expectation of seeing a whole civilization of genies is pretty tempting to visit issue #2).






1 Response to “IDW Opens the Bottle on Jinnrise”

  1. vass

    Hey Gregg,
    Thanks for the review!
    I just wanted to touch on your biggest complaints about my artwork on this issue.
    -Camels have black eyes and are moderately ugly animals, I’m sorry you didn’t like the camel. Thy also make ridiculous faces where their lips are going all over the place, and their teeth are all goofy. Camels also run like stiff legged idiots, so a camel chase scene was challenging, and I’m sorry you didn’t dig it.

    -I do not control the script. I can sort of adjust the beats as the artist, add a panel here and there to get the story to flow better, but I cant really rewrite it. As the artist I have to convey the story in the script as smoothly as I can, so that if you took out the words you would still have an idea as to what’s going. I try to have the strongest story telling that I can get while sticking to the script, so if you could in future critiques point out any story telling errors feel free to do so. I take the comments you made as to the expressions that don’t fit the moment as failures on my part as it is my job to tell the story, but just know that I am somewhat limited as to what liberties I can take with the script.

    -I DO somewhat control the script for the actions scenes in so much as content, but not length or the degree of graphic violence as this book is intended for Kids and for an international audience, specifically the middle east whose cultural tolerances for graphic sexuality and violence are somewhat lower than those held in the US; so I am glad you liked that part of the book =)

    If it was up to me the book would be 22 pages of fighting, as fighting is sort of my favored aspect of comics, but I guess that’s why I’m the artist and not the writer.

    I appreciate your feedback and critique of my work and the book in general and look forward to what thoughts you have on the second issue.

    Thanks again.