In Review: Jasmine: Crown of Kings #2

This is exactly what a comic book should be!

The covers: Seven issues to chase after like they’re a missing crown. The title character is poised for battle with a knife in each hand. She’s on one knee, looking to her right, within an ancient castle. Below and around her in this orange and yellow setting are five piercing bright lights. If only she’d look behind her she would see a pair of red eyes glowing in a dark corridor. This A cover is by Caanan White and Ivan Nunes. Nice, though Jasmine is colored a little too dark for me. The B cover by Sergio Davila and Ceci de la Cruz is an action piece that has Jasmine landing among four terrorists. They have guns, she has her fists. They don’t have a chance. She’s punched two men aside while the other pair are startled at what she’s done to their comrades. Nice action poses, with quite a bit of motion, especially with the two foes swatted aside and her hair trailing behind her furiously. The C cover by Jay Anacleto and Ula Mos is the illustration I chose to accompany this review. This is a fantastic image of Jasmine geared up for battle, holding a pair of knives upright for battle, accompanied by a yell of fury. The artwork is beautiful and the colors fantastic. The final cover, the D by Allan Otero and Grostieta, has a lot going on. Beneath a castle that’s about to be enveloped by a massive wave of water, Jasmine and Ali battle three Templar knights. Jasmine runs at a pair of the knights while a circle of flame surrounds them. This is a busy image that’s hard to find the focus. The colors could have had Jasmine brighter to make her stand out, but instead the heroine is darkly colored. This is just okay. I couldn’t find a copy of the Secret Exclusive by Anacleto and Mos, which is probably why it’s been labeled the “secret” exclusive. I also could not find a copy of the In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100 copies) is by Derlis Santacruz and Sanju Nivangune, so good luck, collectors! I was lucky enough to find a copy of the Denver Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 250) by Paul Green with colors by Mos. This has Jasmine dressed in a blue bikini top with half sleeves and a matching bikini bottom. She’s also got a cowboy hat on as she stands before the Sports Authority Field in Denver. As with all covers by Green and Mos, this is one to track down. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, D C+, and Denver Comic Con Exclusive A+

The story: This issue teases a good bit of backstory while having a solid action scene. Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Howard Mackie have created this story, with the latter writing this tale. The story picks up where last issue left off, the Castillo de los Templarios in Ponferrada, Spain, with Jasmine having words with Ali, leader of the infamous group of thieves. She holds her flaming sword to his neck, which has him revealing that he believes the next piece of the crown will be found within the castle. He thought her jinn abilities would help them, but she is no longer a jinn, though she does have some remaining powers. She does remember the castle they stand beside, though only fragments. She leads the way in, with the leader of thieves behind her. On the way she reveals what she knows of the crown’s creation, which could be a complete issue unto itself. Soon the pair encounter a Templar knight, which is unusual since they aren’t supposed to exist. Dealing with the knight, the twosome come upon a larger battle in a beautiful setting. Several new characters are introduced that know of the jinn, but not Jasmine specifically. Who these individuals are battling are interesting, as well as the justification for the battle: the dialogue on 16 – 18 is fantastic. There’s a surprising action by Jasmine on 19, plus a secret that’s mentioned that won’t be revealed until the next installment in this series. I’m enjoying Jasmine learning about her missing memories and Ali is a great companion that is absolutely untrustworthy. What’s said by Jasmine on the penultimate page is outstanding, showing her to be completely in command. The book ends with a neat tease of a conversation that needs to be continued. This was entertaining and fun — exactly what a comic book should be! Overall grade: A 

The art: Deivis Goetten’s visuals begin with a full-paged splash of Jasmine with her sword at Ali’s throat. Behind the pair is the castle’s exterior and the countryside. There’s a lot of empty space in the upper right hand corner; the art could have lowered down to focus in more on the characters. It seems as if Goetten was expecting more dialogue on this page. Better is the panel that spreads from 2 to 3 that shows Ali’s men pointing their weapons at the hero who has their leader in her hand. The city in the background is also good. Page 4 has Goetten moving the point of view around exceptionally well, with six horizontal panels that focus on the two leads. The story of Baal is outstanding looking, with the god looking amazing. What the creature creates and wears is terrific. The character that appears on 8 is awesome, with the character’s power shown in the first panel on 9. The full-paged splash on 10 is also excellent, with the characters and the point of view great. The next full-paged splash is on 13 and it’s a bird’s eye view of a major action sequence. This has some really neat distant details. The panel that goes from 14 to 15 has a cool magical action. The design of the new characters is sharp throughout the rest of the book; in fact, I would love to see more of them in other issues and other series. My favorite full-paged splash is on 17; when you see it, you’ll understand why — elegant and awesome. The action in the fourth panel on 19 is great and the panel that follows it is beautiful for the cape and magical effect. The close-up that ends this issue reveals someone’s displeasure wonderfully. This issue’s artwork is excellent. Overall grade: A

The colors: Any time that Jasmine uses her flaming sword, which is often, it’s an instant eye catcher for the reader with its intense yellows and oranges. The exterior of the castle is composed of pale browns and it’s the perfect background colors to have the characters stand out before it. In addition to her sword, Ceci de la Cruz has Jasmine always the focus of attention in her purple outfit. This color is blended with blue when Jasmine narrates the story of Baal. The tans and golds on 7 make the visuals regal. The deep red used behind the individual that appears on 8 is a great way to foreshadow this character’s intentions. Take a look at how well de la Cruz also colors exclamations, such as the one on 9 — the colors increase the character’s proclamation. The many shades of blue that start on 13 are beautiful and mesmerizing. They increase the wonder of the characters in this setting. I enjoyed how blues were used to color the characters’ speech as well. My favorite page by de la Cruz was 17. Again, when you see it you’ll know why. Beautiful work in this issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates this issue’s narration, dialogue, yells, sounds, an editorial note, and the tease for next issue. Differing the narration from the dialogue is the perfect way to show the reader that he or she is reading a different form of communication, even if they are in different balloons and colored differently. The yells come in different fonts and size, showing the reader how extreme a character is enunciating. The sounds are a blast, with some tremendous ones: FRAKOOM, KLAM, and SCHWICK. Overall grade: A

The final line: Jinn confronts her lost past while battling foes that shouldn’t exist. A fun story with teases of a larger story, wrapped around some epic action sequences with fantastic art. Zenescope should be proud of this entertaining installment. I’m looking forward to seeing where the creators next take this heroine. Overall grade: A

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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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