In Review: Jirni #3

Sign up for this Jirni while you can. You won't regret doing so.

The covers: There are three covers for you to find on your travels to collect this series. The A cover is by V. Ken Marion and Juan Fernandez. This features a lovely, large image of Ara; she’s focused on the reader and looks as though she’s going to take him or her down. However, below her face is a smaller image of her “normal” self, without her violet skin. This version of her shows an incredible amount of white energy whipping about her, coming from her right arm guard. All of these images foreshadow parts of the story that are within this issue. Jonathan Marks is responsible for the B cover. This is a disturbing cover! A walking female corpse has her arms spread open in a greeting and a smile on her face, standing between two monstrous mummies sporting pikes, while behind them is an enormous door that barely reveals decrepit figures. This scene is nowhere in this issue, but it certainly got my attention for not focusing on Ara’s attributes. The final cover, the C, by Marion and Peter Steigerwald, is a brightly colored cover looking up at Ara as she swings her sword down at the reader. I’m having difficulty trying to figure out how her body is contorting into this position; she looks fine until her long legs are followed. The coloring is sweet, with the glaring and shine from certain objects spectacular, but that pose leaves me puzzled. Overall grades: A A, B B, and C B-

The story: Last issue’s tale by J.T. Krul focused on Captain Boro’s origin, so it seems only fair that this issue begins with the four page origin of Ara. The protagonist begins her tale narrating, “I always knew my mother was special, but never realized it was for being more than simply the Queen of Janna…She was also a D’jinn.” With these words, Ara’s abilities suddenly become a little clearer. The royal woman loved her child, but her vessel fell under the control of the wizard Torinthal. From that day, Ara wanted to save her mother from that man. As her daughter, she was endowed with certain abilities. She realizes she’s not a D’jinn, nor is she human, but she has power she will use to free her mother. She tried and failed…”Misterably. But I haven’t given up.” Her armor on and, after touching her arm guard, her skin changes to the violet all assume she wears naturally, Boro enters her cabin to show her the entrance to Montessa. It is here that some things are encountered that causes conflict between the pair. The first is a vehicle and the second a cargo. Such things push all the wrong buttons on Ara, which have her embark on a side trip, taking her from her quest to find her mother. This was an unexpected detour, but a welcome one. The relationship she has with Boro seems played out and injecting some conflict between these allies will show different sides of themselves to readers and each other. This is a good choice by Krul. I’m eager to see where this is going next. Overall grade: A

The art: Aspen Comics have gorgeous visuals, and this book is a prime example of that. The details in this book could keep a reader busy for hours and they create a spectacularly lush universe for Ara. V. Ken Marion begins the book with sensational visuals coming from Ara’s mother when she’s hovering using her D’Jinn abilities. When she’s pulled from her loved ones by Torinthal it’s an epic moment. But this is only Page 1 and Marion has much, much more to show readers. The next two pages are a terrific montage of Ara using her abilities to find and battle for her mother, only to lose her. The details in the sheets on her bed when she rises on Page 4 are great. The double-paged spread of 8 and 9 is a jaw-dropper. The architecture is a mixture of the classic, the fantastic, and the futuristic. This is art nouveau inspired awesomeness. As the two progress through the city the sites are fantastic. Better still is what’s on the roof that Boro wants to see. I would pay big money to have a model of the vehicle that they see. However, the cargo on 14 is both beautiful and revolting. I found myself mirroring Ara’s reaction in the last panel. The anger in her face explodes off the page, ending with her in an unlikely location. This is beautiful work that is the envy of other companies. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Wes Hartman receives the largest font for his contributions to this issue, but he’s followed by three other colorists, whose font shrinks with each new name. Assisting him are Stephan Lemineur, Peter Steigerwald (Everyone should be reading his book The ZooHunters — the third issue is out now!), and Federico Blee. With this many contributors, who look to have been helping at the last minute, it would make sense to assume that this element of the book would be poor. The opposite is actually the truth — this book is amazing with colors. The first page is glorious when Ara’s mother shows her abilities. The choice of violet to color Ara makes her a stand out character whenever she graces a page or panel. Even her “normal” shade, shown on 4 – 6 is beautifully done; and there’s a terrific lighting effect on the fourth page. The double-paged spread of 8 and 9 is like a dream brought to life because of the heavenly colors. The final page also has some spectacular lighting effects. Too many cooks do not spoil this pot at all. Overall grade: A+

The letters: A fantastic narrative font for Ara opens the book, followed by sounds and dialogue. All are created by Josh Reed and they look great. The font used for Ara’s narration gives this book an instant epic and classic feel with its fancy script. The dialogue, and there’s lots of it, is placed so that Marion’s art remains intact, keeping the reader within this fantasy world. Next issue looks to have more action, so more sound effects seem to be in Reed’s future. Overall grade: A 

The final line: High adventure with breathtaking visuals. Sign up for this Jirni while you can. You won’t regret doing so. 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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