Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review - Jasmine Crown of Kings #1 (@zenescope)


"It is here we find Jasmine."

The thing about myths and legends is that somewhere along the way some of the particular details are lost or changed. That fact alone only adds to their legendary status and it makes for fascinating storytelling. Jasmine Crown of Kings #1 from Zenescope Entertainment is the latest take on a legend that changes quite a few things about Jasmine and Ali Baba. The issue is written by Howard Mackie, illustrated by Deivis Goetten, colored by Ceci de la Cruz and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

When a fiery explosion erupts in the ancient city of Petra, Jasmine races against the terrorist group THE FORTY THIEVES to prevent the shattered pieces of the Crown of Kings, an object that haunts her past from being reunited and unleashing an unearthly power on the world and all that she holds dear.

Mackie attempts to modernize the classic characters of Princess Jasmine and Ali Baba by offering them in a relevant context. Jasmine is training as a Highborn with Shang while Ali Baba is a quick-talking leader of a terrorist group--it's inevitable that their two paths will cross. That being said, Mackie gets them to the same spot fairly logically and the story itself is pretty standard as far as fetch quests/save the world storylines go. Mackie's dialogue feels a little rigid at times though and doesn't necessarily fit the characters. For example, Jasmine monologues a lot and while Mackie does offer a very reasonable explanation as to why she does so, some of her monologuing really just feels like a shortcut for getting the reader up to speed. For Ali Baba, his nonchalant and cavalier approach to being the leader of a terrorist organization is a little strange and makes the Forty Thieves seem more bumbling than terrorist.

The artwork but Goetten is relatively simplistic in its approach. Jasmine fits in well with the other Zenescope leading ladies and her wardrobe resonates with the more militaristic garb of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The panels are arranged pretty frenetically and keep up well with the pacing of the issue, feeling more explosive in times of combat and calmer in times of conversation. Most of the pages seem to emphasize the characters above all else, with Goetten paying little attention to the backgrounds. The colors by de la Cruz are enough to finish out the artwork with the purple of Jasmine's outfit particularly popping.

Jasmine Crown of Kings #1 follows the Zenescope formula to a T. Jasmine is the latest character from legend to get the Highborn treatment and her team-up with Ali Baba could be interesting. Mackie's script is pretty straightforward, although the dialogue feels a little stilted at times. Goetten's artwork effectively conveys to the reader all the action happening. Jasmine Crown of Kings #1 will most likely appeal to fans pretty invested in the Zenescope universe as Jasmine will most likely be folded in at some point.

Jasmine Crown of Kings #1 is available May 2.

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