“The pacing is very solid and the art takes the premise and runs with it. It’s a really solid first issue introducing a fun premise and interesting characters. I am very much looking forward to the next eight hours, days, weeks….Really I am looking forward to more Eight Billion Genies.”
Publisher: Image Written by Charles Soule Art, colours, design & covers A,D,E & F by Ryan Browne Letters by Chris Crank Cover B by Jnny Frison & Steve Seeley Cover C by Declan Shalvey Colour assists by Kevin Knipstein Production design by Erika Schnatz
Welcome to a belated review covering the first issue of Eight Billion Genies.
Eight Billion Genies takes the brilliant concept of what if, suddenly, every person on earth got a genie? Each genie gives them one wish that’s it. That’s the whole thrust of this book as it cover the first eight minutes of the chaos that ensues from eight billion people having eight billion genies and as a result eight billion wishes.
What works really well is that we spend a significant part of this first issue setting up the bar and the people within it, our main characters and main setting. We get an idea of who they are before the genies show up which helps as we’re not just thrown in with the concept, we have a connection to actually people who will be affected by the event. They are a varied group from Mr. Williams the bar owner (who is either the most sensible person on earth or the most paranoid), to young Robbie and his drunken Dad to Daisy, Alex and Brian who are the band Bada-Bangs (who are playing a gig at the bar) and two lost lost Chinese tourists – Wang and Lifeng.
Mr. Williams uses his wish so quickly, choosing to prevent any wish made outside the bar affecting the inside, in effect creating a safe space away from the craziness that ensues outside. A wise move when we get pages where we see the chaos outside from dinosaurs in the streets (I do love a random well drawn dinosaur) to flying cars, mech suits and more. You’d want to stay safe against that lot and Mr. Williams comes off as very sensible. It also sets up a nice little safe space for the characters. This does mean Daisy’s wish made outside the bar becomes useless once she goes back inside. Given the nature of her the wish too, well that seems like it will have repercussions later.
Although plenty of people outside are using their wishes. The genies vanish once the wish is used so there are two pages to indicate the human population and the genie population. The first count is eight billion but by the end of the issue the human population and the genie population count both decrease (the latter more than the former). I also like that the illustration of Earth used on those pages changes from normal to a cube with explosions a nice way of showing the chaos.
The design of the genies is also fun. They are blue ghost-like beings that float and seem to have a bit of sparkles like they are covered with tiny stars. They also have the classic genie wispy heads. They are small and pretty cute and also reflect the features of the person they are assigned to. So, for example, if the character has a beard then the matching genie will have a white line to represent a beard on their face. This makes each genie as individual as the people and gives them all their individual character.
I also enjoyed how we switch to France and the birth of a baby for the reveal of genies which segues nicely into the reveal of the genies at the bar. It’s good to see a completely different place this is a world event and though keeping the centre of the story focus on the bar is a great idea having aspects of the wider world in there helps flesh out that this is a global event.
Only a short period of time is covered – the first eight minutes – but a lot happens in that time. The pacing is very solid and the art takes the premise and runs with it. It’s a really solid first issue introducing a fun premise and interesting characters. I am very much looking forward to the next eight hours, days, weeks….Really I am looking forward to more Eight Billion Genies.
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