Think Of The World That Is: Reviewing ‘Eight Billion Genies’ #3
by Scott Redmond
‘Eight Billion Genies’ dances that fine line between whimsical fantasy and the true horrors that stem from the human condition, showcasing how even the simplest of things can and likely will be corrupted instantly once given to humanity at large. Centering this story on a small group of people mostly unaffected by the wishes helps ground the story amidst all the chaos that can be found throughout the rest of the pages.
With every single issue, Eight Billion Genies becomes a wilder and wilder ride as human beings continue to use their wishes in a variety of selfish or outlandish, or even dangerous ways. Something that seems fantastically whimsical when one thinks about it, is used to perfectly show the horror that always lurks behind the mask when it comes to humanity and our propensity for destruction.
One of the elements that I really like so far about each issue is how they open by showcasing people that use the wishes in more practical ways, only to show that it might not matter since the rest of the world is crumbling apart thanks to the less practical. Following those with the full-page shots of the ever-changing Earth serves to give us the stark reminder that the population of the world continues to plummet and in this third issue stands at a point where almost two billion human lives have been lost while the genie population is close to having been cut down by half.
Almost five billion genies still out there, with their holders still seemingly not having wished, probably doesn’t bode well for the rest of the humans left on the planet. Especially with how radically the world/universe has now already been altered.
I also like that Charles Soule set up the Lampwick Bar as our focal place for the story where we have humans that are for the moment protected from the world outside the building. Not only does it give us ‘normal’ point of view characters, but it also allows for the intricate building of the situation (we learn more about the genies as well as what happens to things wished for once the wisher is gone) and educating the reader without bombarding us with information.
Following Wang through his journey, watching the reasons why he very much needed to get to that other bar was another interesting angle. Through Wang and then through Robbie we get two different instances of what people are willing to do in order to protect those they love.
There is a wild unpredictability to the world as it stands right now, and Ryan Browne makes it all work. Vampires, superheroes, sentient blobs, a hungry vicious moon/road, and so much more can be found here and are so different but actually work and retain their power thanks to his artwork. The normal and the fantastical are very much the norm in this world now, and there is fun but dangerous energy crackling through every panel and page. What was once a bit whimsical, even the genies, is still fantastical but is utterly truly terrifying as the real horror begins to showcase itself with every new moment of the story.
Outside the bar, there are so many bright splashy colors, but just like inside the bar and other places, these colors are toned down in a sense. They are part of the stuff that is beyond our current conceptualization of our world, yet reigning those colors back makes it so that while they are not of this reality they very much now are. They fit within our concepts of what our world looks like color or appearance wise, even though they are in many cases things our rational mind might try to reject were we to see them before us.
Lettering also walks that fine line between the normal and the out there, as Chris Crank infuses that same energy into every bit he adds to these pages. The dialogue in many cases is more normal in appearance with the fonts and bubbles, only to have the more cosmic colored bubbles of the genies or the shifted fonts/bubbles for the more supernatural beings encountered outside the bar. Even the SFX are fantastical in quality, making sure they are colorful and big but also look like they belong outside of what is considered reality.
Eight Billion Genies #3 is now available now from Image Comics