In Review: Jasmine: Crown of Kings #3

There's plenty of action to be found this issue as Jasmine seeks the next piece of the crown.

The covers: A magical six covers to find for this third issue. The A cover is by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes. This is a beautiful image of Jasmine standing before some ruins with her sword out and aflame. The attitude she’s throwing at the reader is terrific! She looks fantastic, the flames on her sword superb, the ruins behind her excellent, and the colors are outstanding. I’m impressed with how artist Bong Dazo was able to stay away from aping Man-Thing or Swamp Thing for the B cover that’s colored by Hedwin Zaldivar. Jasmine is up to just below her knees in a stinky swamp, as evidenced by the green mist swirling just above the waters. She has a sword in her left hand and her magical flaming sword in her right. Her visage is fierce, as though she knows she’s about to be attacked. If only she would look behind her! A monstrous creature composed of greenery has risen up to destroy her. Great use by Dazo of vines and roots to give the thing muscles and creepy veins. The face is set off by some huge choppers. The colors are also good, with the creature being lit by the flames from the title character’s sword. Very well done! The “Good Girl” cover is the C by Ruiz Burgos. This features a nude Jasmine covering her private areas with her hands and flames that are wrapping around her body and consuming the background. Yes, she looks gorgeous, but Burgos should also be congratulated for the pillars around her to create the setting. This is excellent in every possible way. Teasing the villain of this issue is the D cover by Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune. A human raises a hand high as he holds a tree limb in his other as a staff. He wears an animal’s skull for a mask. He has feathers around his neck and on one of the bags attached to his belt. He looks as though he’s standing among a structure that resembles Stonehenge. In the sky is a red moon that casts its crimson light on the entire scene. Nice, but not enough of the character is clearly shown. The San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 75) is by Paul Green with colors by Ula Mos. I could not find this online, though I’m willing to bet it’s just a disrobed version of the final cover. The San Diego Comic Con Webstore Exclusive (limited to 350) is also by Green and Mos and features a thin beautiful woman dressed in a costume that’s close to Ant-Man’s, but has enough differences so as not to get her sued. She holds her helmet under her right arm as she turns to the reader, her violet and red hair blowing in a breeze. This is fantastic! Overall grades: A A, B A-, C A+, D C+, and San Diego Comic Con Webstore Exclusive A+

The story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Howard Mackie created this story, with Mackie ultimately writing the issue. Jasmine holds the two pieces of the crown that she and Ali have recovered and she’s holding it so she can get answers from the thief. “What did you do to the water spirit? Why did you need me to acquire the Crown of Kings?” Instead of addressing her questions, Ali uses his magic to take the crown from her and attack with a violet blast. While she’s stunned, he summons a portal for him and his surviving forty thieves to escape. Before he leaves he says, “And you are no longer an all-powerful jinn of the desert. You are just a girl…with a flaming sword.” Alone, Jasmine takes out her flying carpet. “He forgets I have more than just a sword.” Standing atop the magical conveyance, a portal opens and she follows. She arrives in Iceland and leaps onto unsuspecting Ali. There’s a long battle with a very surprising conclusion on 11. My hat is off to all who contributed to this issue because I did not expect that to happen in this series. What follows are new threats and a quick journey into Ali’s past, giving the villain some needed backstory. I really like how his story is teased and not completely revealed, leaving this for a future issue or a different series. 16 has got a really good shock from Ali’s early life. A new character appears on 18 that causes some trouble before this individual has something surprising occur. I really enjoyed how the identity of a big villain isn’t revealed until the last page, leaving the reader as shocked as the pair of survivors. Lots of action in this issue, some solid character building, and a surprising twist in the search for the crown’s pieces. Very enjoyable! Overall grade: A

The art: This issue’s art is by Deivis Goetten and I’m liking it. Goetten starts with a full-paged splash of Jasmine holding her crown and sword in the foreground, Ali and his men before her, and the castle in the background with a full moon behind it. Wow! What hasn’t Goetten put in this first page? A turn of the page has seven panels that flow from Page 2 onto 3 involving magic, explosions, and an hasty escape. The close-up of Ali at the bottom of 3 is necessary so the reader could have a good image of him before moving on. I like the consideration that Jasmine gives the carpet on the next page before using it and her exit through the portal is spectacular. After this Jasmine has a powerful entrance onto 5 with Ali bearing the brunt of her arrival. There’s a really cool background behind the characters’ meeting that’s beautiful. Pages 6 and 7 follow the same lay out as 2 and 3, but with many more panels which gives the characters more space to battle. The full-pages splash on 10 is a little awkward in how the characters are posed, with it difficult to make out how each can be in those positions. Better is the page that follows with the Jasmine and Ali getting some neat dramatic moments. The creatures that first appear on 12 look great: I could have had much more of them in this issue. The flashback sequences from Ali look good, with the two new characters looking excellent. The arrival at the top of 18 is like something from a dark opera and this leads into a very violent confrontation that made the story become very serious. The final page is another full-paged splash that brings a familiar face from the clouds. Great image and great cliffhanger. Goetten is great! Overall grade: A-

The colors: Ceci de la Cruz does an exceptional job with this issue. Jasmine’s violet clothes are stunning every time they appear, looking real with a metallic shine and being an instant eye catcher for the reader. There’s also quite a bit of flame in this issue and it pops off the page constantly. I like that Ali’s magic is given light violets, a color not often seen in magic (unless your name is Skye Mathers). The many greens used to color the forests and its inhabitants are superior, looking almost three dimensional. The two pages of Ali’s past are given rusty colors to age them wonderfully. During this flashback the narration boxes are given a vivid violet that’s outstanding. The blues on the final page are beautiful, which would obviously disarm those unfortunate enough to cross that character’s path. This book has amazing colors. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This book’s text by the talented Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios includes dialogue, yells, sounds, weak speech, narration, the final character’s unique speech, and the final three words that tease the next issue. The sounds in this issue punctuate all the action well, with Jasmine’s arrival in Iceland being my favorite. I also like the weakened speech uttered by one character which is an additional visual in the panels to show that one person is fading fast. It’s the final character’s unique speech that really stands out. It really separates this individuals from normal humans and it looks great. Praise should also be given for the final three words of the issue that end this issue in epic style. Overall grade: A

The final line: There’s plenty of action to be found this issue as Jasmine seeks the next piece of the crown. I enjoyed the brief trip into Ali’s past and the amount of thrills in this issue. The visuals matched the epic scale of the story well, with the colors being particularly impressive. This book is a winner from all its contributors. 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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