Written by Charles Soule
Art, colours, design & cover A by Ryan Browne
Letters by Chris Crank
Cover B by Andrew Maclean
Colour assists by Kevin Knipstein
Production design by Erika Schnatz
The first issue of Eight Billion Genies covered the first eight minutes. Now we see what the first eight hours hold. The earth is already changed as we can see by the first page which shows the earth as an ice cream showing just how ridiculous the situation is currently. We also see the genie population has decreased quite a bit. The human population has also decreased, though not quite as much, yet.
What I like is that we open with Buenos Aires, Argentina, as we see the impact of giving children wishes and the parents’ panic at what their offspring might wish for. Although our focus is the bar this is an event affecting the whole world, so it’s good to have glimpses of the chaos elsewhere. It was quite a humorous little family scene to see a father wish for parental approval for wishes. Cleary there are people using their wishes for sensible reasons, even if their kids don’t appreciate it!
Meanwhile the bar is currently being attacked by a carasaurus (it’s a mech dinosaur that is part car. I love the design of it and I’ve got to admit that’s a very tempting wish). Not to worry though our heroes are safe inside as Mr. Williams wished it that way. We’re about to find out that Mr. Williams is not just prepared for the appearance of eight billion genies for in the back of this bar is basically a well stocked fallout shelter. I love the art which has so many little details from the cans on shelves to the guns on the wall you can spot all kinds of objects. It’s a really interesting expansion to the bar, both in terms of plot and art.
The plot is also providing a driving force behind the various human relationships of the characters hanging out in the bar. Daisy is still regretting her wish about making Brian love her which of course failed as Brian was in the bar and wishes from outside can’t do anything to affect things inside. Alex has not been very sympathetic to Daisy’s plight and the tension continues. Robbie’s father spends time thinking about the gravity of his wish and when he actually does it it’s going to have consequences for himself and Robbie. Meanwhile, Wang ponders how best to protect his wife Lifeng and his wish really takes him to another level of character.
Not everyone thinks of the possible effects of their wishes as we hear that a wish for a lightsaber (a nice nod to Charles Soule’s popular recent Star Wars work) causes a fire because the young woman who wished for it didn’t know how to use it. Wishes can turn out differently to how you hoped. The genies are a lot more talkative and the exposition they give is both witty and interesting (Alex’s genie explains their name is Genie). They are not going to give away all the answers, like the reason they have appeared but they do extrapolate on the impact wishes have and that not everyone uses them wisely.
We get to see what happens when countries wish for supremacy as the genies tell the story of the President of the USA getting a general to wish for the supremacy of the USA. It makes perfect sense that leaders of governments would do that, wish for their country to be above all others. So of course the genies can’t make it possible for every country to be on top (New Zealand apparently wasn’t bothered) so they cancelled them all out, suggesting that they have a bit more control than they are letting on. Basically they want to enjoy the wishes people make and have fun doing it for as long as possible. Which is good because I’m enjoying seeing all these wishes and with several main characters yet to even use theirs that suggests there’s a lot of potential to come.
The art of the panels where the genies are giving their exposition is really fun in self, the way they are flitting about the panels and their gestures. The genies are both adorable and a little bit weird. The art generally is great. There’s this mix of crazy outside glimpses (someone riding a unicorn) with the down to earth nature of the bar and the people in it.
The end of this issue brings something new into the mix as some new people appear at the bar. Are they friend or foe? Have they made their wishes? There’s some intriguing possibilities with their introduction and what will happen over the next eight days. I’ve enjoyed getting to know these genies a bit better and this is a very solid character issue for the humans too. Also I must resist the urge to wish for a carasaurs should I ever end up with a genie.