Musical madness

Publisher: Image
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

When this issue opens we re-join our heroes as the genie population has nearly halved and the human population has also been reduced but not as much (usual we get a nice page showing the state of the world with the stats of the human and genie population. The earth now has legs and arms). The last two issues covered relatively quick time periods – eight minutes and then eight hours. This issue takes on a meatier period of tine – eight whole days. The longer period means we see more wishes, get more exposition, and get more character insight.

As is becoming usual this issue opens with another insight into someone else’s wishes. In the Whalley-Kilmer research station in the Antarctic (I see what you did there) a scientist wishes for a solution to climate change. It makes sense that someone would wish for it (as I read this during a UK heatwave). The genie who grants it agrees it’s a good one. Unfortunately, his elation wears off as he watches Santa’s sleigh destroyed and eaten by a moon with a tentacle tongue. It’s an image that both amazes and shocks. The look on Nigel Pennington’s face very much mirrors the audience reaction.

Back at the bar we find out who those strange folk who turned up at the end of last issue were – Ernest Hemmingway, Dorothy Parker and Jim Morrison. These are remnants. They were wished into existence but the people who wished for them have now died so they are left wandering until they disappear, for there is a time limit. The genies of course give this exposition but it’s done so naturally and well. The remnants adds a new twist to things. Especially as Robbie’s Dad wished Robbie’s mother back into existence. That revelation sets up some more good story.

We also get to see what Wang is up to and what his important mission is. The art gets a chance to expand and show the reality of the crazy world outside the bar. It’s creatively done and it’s the background details that really make it work so well. There’s a lot of mileage to be had out of trying to spot what’s going on, from castles and loop de loops to monsters and tanks there’s a real sense of the madness that the wishes have caused.

This issue also takes place over eight days. The longer period of time covered means we get snapshots each day at the bar and with Wang. I thought the pacing really worked. I was wondering if the time period covered this issue would mean it felt differently paced to the previous issues which covered just minutes and hours but honestly it didn’t feel like there was any change in the pacing. The story was really nicely balanced too between the bar and Wang’s quest.

As time passes we get to see changes in the bar too. The addition of beds, the way the characters are camping out. It does feel like time is passing. It also means that the exposition hasn’t come all at once but is drip fed day by day. The conversations flow as this mismatched group continue on safe in the bar from the world outside. They even have the internet. There are still a lot of wishes to be made by the people in the bar and by the end of the issue another one has been made with presumably big consequences.

This issue really expands out the world in both terms of story and art. We find out more about what happens to wishes, what happens to genies when people die. We get to see Ernest Hemmingway drinking and complaining and the wit of Dorothy Parker whilst Jim Morrison jams a bit with the band and Wang battles a vampire. It’s pretty action packed and full of interest. Those eight days had a lot going on. The next issue will cover the first eight weeks and will introduce the superhero age. That could create some even crazier scenarios and I look forward to it.

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