In Review: Jasmine: Crown of Kings #5

This will leave readers satisfied and hungry for more.

The covers: Your wish has come true — there are eight covers to collect for this final issue. The A cover is by Geebo Vigonte and Ivan Nunes and this is stunning! Hunched down on a familiar looking staircase, Jasmine waves two flaming daggers, while flaming arrows that surround her smolder. Outstanding artwork by Vigonte and the colors from Nunes killer, with the flames outstanding. The same setting is on the B by Allan Quah and Kamikaki Studio featuring Sean Lee. Jasmine is in the foreground, on one knee, holding the same flaming daggers. She is about to turn around to see a Chinese dragon beginning to spew fire in her direction. Riding the beast is Cerule. In the background the sky is also aflame, showing a demonic looking male jinn. Oranges and yellows dominate this cover, which, sadly, takes the focus off the title character. The “Good Girl” cover, the C, is by Josh Burns and spotlights Cerule. She’s sitting on the ground, one arm held on her head. Her hair is blowing to the right, though her dress is billowing to the left. The background is difficult to make out. The figure looks fine, though it has some odd elements. The final regular cover is the D by Ian Richardson and Hedwin Zaldivar and is the cover I chose to accompany this review. This is a cover that’s staggeringly detailed. Jasmine is wearing the Crown of Kings and commanding water to drown four guards. She look strong, the water is incredible, and the soon-to-be dead men look great. The colors are also praise worthy, with the many shades of blue wonderful and the sky drop dead gorgeous. This is perfection. The first Variant cover is the Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 150 copies) by Keith Garvey. I couldn’t find an image of this anywhere, so good luck, collectors! I was able to find the VP Event Webstore Exclusive (limited to 250) by Elias Chatzoudis. This is faux magazine cover for GRIMM featuring Liesel Van Helsing in a corset and stockings holding a stake. She’s on a frosty blue background that has an odd shadow behind her. There are five headlines for articles contained in this issue, with the best being “SHANG’s Do’s and Don’ts to healthy facial grooming.” This is fun, but there’s not a lot of art on it. Next up is the Keystone Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 250) by Mike Krome and Ula Mos. This features a buxom raven haired woman wearing a Philadelphia Phillies top that can barely contain her chest. She has on green wrap shorts and orange tube socks. She’s leaning over, into the reader, putting her weight on a baseball bat she has upside down into the ground. On her head is an orange version of the Phillie Phanatic’s head. Behind her is a baseball stadium at dusk. The girl looks good, but the background is blasé. But let’s be honest, you really won’t be looking at the background on this. The final cover is the Subscription Exclusive (limited to 75) by Igor Vitorino, but, like the Zenescope Exclusive, I couldn’t find an image of this either. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A+, B C+, C B, D A+, VP Event Webstore Exclusive B, and Keystone Comic Con Exclusive B+

The story: Jasmine is hurtling to the earth holding tightly to Ali. He’s urging her to let him go so he can create a portal so they can avoid death. She says she can’t trust him to do so, has never been able to trust him. Besides, if they were to survive they would have to battle jinn Cerule. Ali begs as they fall that he can help, but she doubts they can defeat Cerule and destroy the crown. That’s when Jasmine adds, “Any time now.” When Ali asks what she means by this she answers, “Not talking to you.” That’s when something very cool occurs. Crafted by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Howard Mackie, with Mackie writing the story. This is an extremely clever conclusion to this series. There’s also a great amount of action. In addition to the opening thrills of the hero and the villain plunging to certain doom, Jasmine confronts Cerule in epic fashion. Before the climax begins there’s a change of location that’s ushered in with an equally groan-worthy/cheer-worthy line atop Page 7. The revelation of how and why Cerule is involved is slick, with the flashbacks on 10 and 11 excellent. The revelation on 14 and 15 is epic, with it being telegraphed back on Page 6 if the reader has been paying attention. The dialogue on 18 is fantastic. I was surprised by the action on 19. I was happy for what Jasmine gets to keep on 21 and am looking forward to seeing this character’s next appearance and what develops from the final page. Fun conclusion that leaves me wanting more. Overall grade: A

The art: Deivis Goetten does a solid job with the book’s visuals. Ali and Jasmine’s fall on the opening pages is good. I’m not a fan of comics that use a computer blur to create speed. It’s employed on these opening pages and it actually looks fine. Several panels in this book are partial double-paged spreads, the first one occurring on 2 and 3, introducing jinn villain Cerule to the reader. The angle of this character, with the reader looking up to her, makes her look like a god. I really like Jasmine’s stance that ends Page 5; she looks awesome. The location revealed on 6 and 7 is instantly recognizable, though it lacks much of its details, as does the flora that surrounds it, with the colors defining it more so than the art. Cerule looks sensational in every panel she appears, starting soft and then going full on evil. The flashback pages are sensational, resembling an ancient painting. I love every panel. The WOW! moment of the visuals is the true double-paged splash of 14 and 15. This is an outstanding payoff. The energy unleashed on 17 and 18 is excellent. During these scenes it’s fairly obvious that photos are being inserted to fill the sky. They look okay, but do stick out as photographs. I would have preferred a hand drawn background. The individual on the penultimate page is recognizable, but is the thinnest I’ve seen him. The last item focused on in the final panel on the final page is awesome — that’s a visual to leave the readers screaming for a sequel. Overall grade: B

The colors: The colors on this book by Ceci de la Cruz are magnificently bright. The eye is always drawn to Jasmine due to her bright violet clothes. Cerule also gathers great attention due to her vivid blue skin. The character that saves the tumbling twosome on Page 4 stands out for its dark oranges. The greens on 6 and 7 are striking. The aged colors on 10 and 11 make the illustrations authentic. The colors of the surprise on 14 and 15 has exceptionally brilliant colors. I also have to say how much I like seeing Cerule’s dialogue having its own unique colors. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Yells, dialogue, scene settings, Cerule speech, and a sound total Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studio’s work. The yells definitely command power, with the one screamed on 14 outstanding. Cerule’s unique dialogue separates her beautifully from other characters. Overall grade: A

The final line: Fun, exciting, smart, and an excellent conclusion. This will leave readers satisfied and hungry for more. Zenescope, more please! 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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