In Review: Jirni #5

The story is full of epic action and the visuals are spectacularly detailed. Recommended.

The covers: Only two covers for you to add to your collection if you’re a completist. The A cover is by V. Ken Marion, Batt, and Juan Fernandez. It features all the key characters from this series: going clockwise, Captain Boro, Torinthal, Luna, and the evil wizard (revealed last issue) R’anu. In the center of the illustration is Ara, her sword arm is down, but her other fist is up, showing she is determined to face any obstacle. Excellent image by Marion and Batt, with the colors by Fernandez spectacularly bright. This was the cover I had to purchase. The B cover is by Angel Tovar and Federico Blee and features the silhouette of a sword with its interior filled with a head shot of Ana and an action sequence at the bottom. The outside of the shape is black, which makes the interior really strong, but there’s too much artwork hidden by this design. Overall grades: A A and B C-

The story: Last issue Ara appeared to have fallen to her death after battling one of the mummified warriors of R’anu. Much like Indiana Jones at the end of Temple of Doom, one hand appears over the edge of the cliff and Ara pulls herself up. Calming the women she has helped liberate, she tells them to go down the hill. One of the young women pleads, “You have to come with us. We will not make it without you.” Ara replies, “I will be right behind you, but I cannot leave yet. There are other souls in need of saving.” She goes back into the palace and finds the woman who befriended her as she went to this evil place. She finds Imirah on a bloody bed, surrounded by others just like her. She tells Imirah she’s going to get her to safety, prompting the woman to sit up and yell, “Intruder!!!” The others in the room rise, snarling at the heroine and producing knives. They swarm her, but she is able to push them off. She doesn’t want to hurt any of them, but Imirah draws first blood. The arrival of R’anu and his mummified minions adds another layer of danger to this story by J.T. Krul, and things escalate quickly. What Ara discovers on Page 8 fires Ara up and the battle quickly becomes one sided. The conclusion to the women’s plight is good, with Ara’s choice being the only possible way they have for survival. How Ara leaves the island is good, as a supporting character returns. There’s an unexpected epilogue of three pages to this installment, with the appearance of Torinthal and Luna, and several others on the final page. This was an excellent conclusion and great tease for more to come. All I have to say is “More, please. Now! And I want Krul to continue this chronicle.” Overall grade: A+

The art: Pencilled by V. Ken Marion and digitally inked by Mark Roslan, this book has looked incredibly lush since the first issue and ends in similarly spectacular style. The first panel of the book beautifully sets up Ara’s supposed fate with a good distant shot at the worried women and the fallen bridge. The second panel becomes cinematic as one hand appears, moving quickly into the final, larger panel of our heroine appearing, safe and ready for more. The settings of this book are amazing: the cliffside path for the women, the chamber where all the women are being turned, the village, the spectacular clouds, and the final “hidden” location. The characters are also superb, with the Ara looking strong, the minions gaunt and eerie, the wizard R’anu full of his manliness, Torinthal calm and confident, and Luna lost. The reveal on 8 is gorgeously grotesque and would horrify even the new reader, let alone the faithful fan. The action sequence that happens after this page is magnificent, with Ara demonstrating the superiority of her skills. Pages 16 and 17 reintroduce a mechanical vehicle that is wonderful. When it’s shown in use at the top of 17, with Ara’s cape billowing behind her, it truly is a perfect panel. The final three pages of the epilogue use a lot of smoke, for obvious reasons, and the way each tendril writhes about the room is fantastic. That’s the best way to sum up Marion and Roslan on this book — fantastic! Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: I need to see fantasy tales with bright and bold colors that extend the fanciful tone of the illustrations. Wes Hartman does this magnificently on every page. There are three pages of exterior scenes and I was fearful that Hartman would color them so darkly that the work by Marion and Roslan wouldn’t be seen. I was ecstatic to see that this was not the case. Hartman uses dark blues to make the setting night, which allows him to fully color the other characters, but slightly shaded to show the different between artificial and real light. Inside the castle, things go brighter thanks to torches, which bring out the brown of the ancient stones. When action flares up, and it does, Hartman slickly colors the background in brighter colors, such as orange, which also allows the violet skin of Ara to stand out. Page 15 shows Hartman’s skills the best, with a nice glow from natural and artificial light, the skin on the characters, their costumes, and the rich browns of the wooden walls. Outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, Ara’s narration, screams, sounds, and scene settings are created by Josh Reed. I’ve been praising his work on Ara’s narration which is a wonder to look at, and probably the best look given to any character’s narration for the year. His sounds are also well done, because who wouldn’t love the SHIIINNNG that comes during the fight? Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: This ended in spectacular fashion. The story is full of epic action and the visuals are spectacularly detailed. This was a fantastic series. Recommended. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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