Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Ryan Browne
Letterer: Chris Crank
I’ve been enjoying Ryan Browne’s comics long enough to know that if I see that name on the cover, I should be expecting something absurd. I found myself surprised to see that most of Eight Billion Genies #1 by Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, and Chris Crank is rather tame. Well, at least until the last few pages.
Eight Billion Genies is the first book by Soule and Browne since Curse Words wrapped up. In this debut issue, readers are introduced to a group of characters in a bar. We have a few personalities in this bar: a wise bar owner, an amateur rock band experiencing a love triangle, a twelve year old and his wasted dad, and a lost couple. Soule spends plenty of time giving readers an at least superficial idea of everyone’s personalities and motivations. Soon though, one genie appears for every person on Earth, granting everyone just one wish.
After these genies appear, things escalate quickly. There is a page in this issue that compares the population of Earth with the population of genies. It’s such a simple page, but it’s also ominous, and readers will almost dread what follows. Unsurprisingly, the creative team lets loose after this.
Ryan Browne gets to draw tons of absurdities as our main characters witness the results of everyone’s wishes. Browne’s panels are all full of details in a way that you know that no corners were cut. Readers can spend tons of time picking out wishes in the backgrounds, which is almost as entertaining as the premise itself. The bar is full of detail as well, and there are very few bland backgrounds.
Browne has always drawn expressive characters, but the faces in this issue have significantly improved over what we saw in God Hates Astronauts and Curse Words. Some faces are silly reactions to people getting their wishes granted, while others are full of hurt and confusion. The genies themselves are also delightful to look at, with a starry sky filling their bodies.
Chris Crank’s letters are mostly solid and unremarkable, though I mean that as a compliment. There is nothing that seems out of place, and the right words are always in bold for emphasis. Once the genies appear though, there are some creative choices in lettering that immediately give the genies a voice. The colors and font choices go perfectly well with the genies. They are also practical since they allow the reader to understand who is talking, even if the genies themselves aren’t in the panel.
Everything about Eight Billion Genies #1 is endearing, making this a much better debut than expected. Soule and Browne are at their best, and this a must-pull for someone wanting a funny and sincere comic.
Eight Billion Genies #1
Eight Billion Genies #1 is a funny and sincere debut with a strong premise and some delightful characters.