International student Andrew Marcus’ world is torn asunder when interstellar forces, the ‘Kibrani’, invade earth. With all hope seemingly lost, humanity’s last hope may be a long-despised and forgotten race: the Jinn!
In this first issue of the new series from IDW, there are a few things to be excited about, and plenty to make someone shake their head in disappointment. With a simple concept it should just come down to execution. Unfortunately, the things which are executed well (namely the art) are overshadowed by the things which are, at times, painful (namely the characters, writing, and plot contrivances).
Let’s start with the good. Tony Vassallo draws a great comic. It is dynamic and exciting with a great balance of the fantastic and the mundane. Vassallo draws average, ordinary characters in a style reminiscent of early Joe Maduriera or Trent Kaniuga. The young people in the comic are short, the older people in the comic are significantly larger, and the alien creatures are downright huge and frightening. What worked in the 90′s works again here, as the visuals of the book are far superior to the storytelling.
The aliens in particular are striking to look at. Somewhere in between the look of Beta Ray Bill and Onslaught, the mysterious alien race bent on world domination seem like the kind of creature which would be able to dominate all others. The aliens just get cooler to look at once they are in their attack ships. Sleek, aggressive, and more than a match for anything the terrestrial armed forces can launch.
Too bad the rest of the book was not as successful.
to begin with, the book focuses on the wrong character. The narrator is a frustratingly small-minded, arrogant, and self-centered foreign grad-student (likely American) named Andrew. He and his fellow student mock the people around them, look derisively at the rich culture encircling them, and generally traipse around as if they are better than everyone else. It would be one thing if there was some redeeming quality about the character, something that, once things hit the fan he snaps out of it and realizes the errors of his ways. Unfortunately, even when the aliens attack, Andrew continues to be self-centered and mostly focus on how all of this affects him.
In contrast, there is another character, an unnamed boy, who ends up wielding the power of the Jinn. He uses the power selflessly and for the betterment of all those around him. So why is it that the book’s writer, Sohaib Awan, chose to focus on the self-centered and far less interesting Andrew is beyond me.
There story itself is ham-fisted. Characters speak like, well, comic book characters or bit-players from The Jewel of the Nile. No one acts, speaks, or behaves in any way which gives them any depth of character. The plot moves along in a predictable manner. Any tension that is created is done so through contrivances so painful that the writer all but instructs the artists to actually draw the hands of the aliens tied behind their backs. I’m usually one for just sitting back and enjoying some mindless entertainment, but the writing of this book was so distracting that it took away my ability to enjoy it.
Jinnrise is out from IDW tomorrow.