It’s All About The Ideas, Man: Reviewing ‘Eight Billion Genies’ #5
by Scott Redmond
‘Eight Billion Genies’ perfectly walks that fine line between whimsical dangerous outlandishness and firm emotional relatable emotional human struggles. No matter how wild the wishes get, the humans still involved have their own desires and are very open with their hearts as the world continues to shift around them. A truly engaging and innovative comic built upon core tenants about humanity and our world.
Things have to get worse before they can get better is a sentiment that a lot of people seem to ascribe to within the world. In the particular case of the version of Earth in Eight Billion Genies, that seems to be quite a hard truth.
There is plenty to find enjoyable within this series from the solid characters to the concept to the fact that every issue is just jam-packed from start to finish. One thing I find greatly enjoyable is that without losing the premise or sacrificing the characters as we know them (so far at least) every issue just feels so different in the best ways possible. In this one, Charles Soule introduces us fully to Floyd Faughn, who we met at the conclusion of the previous issue, who used his wish in quite the intriguing way after living a life of his ideas being ignored.
Within the premise of everyone getting a genie and a wish, Soule has explored a variety of personalities and thinking processes. From those that were spur of the moment selfish, to those that were reactionary, or those that were destructive by nature. Floyd, of the “Idea Man” as some of the folks call him, presents a case that is more in the middle. Ignored all his life and ridiculed for his ideas, he’s now the man with the power as he wished for people to believe in him and in a way, has recreated a society full of those saved that works like current society in some of the good and bad ways.
Manipulating people with the new power and seemingly brokering in wishes doesn’t feel all that great of an action, but then we’re witness to his ideas and dedication paying off as he creates the perfectly worded wish to return the Earth to a prior healthy state (sans all the lost people and things) after it was scoured. Having a character like this where we’re not fully sure of his intentions adds to the eclectic cast of characters we already have.
Oh, speaking of which, there were some great and tense moments with our bar crew, and the fact that they break apart and leave the sanctuary of the bar was inevitable. Even if it’s sad to see, since with the still to come time jumps (next up being eight years) we’re going to likely not see some of them again by the time we jump centuries.
One of the great things about this series is how the overall situation borders on the absurd with what people wished for and what their wishes have done to the world, but there are also tons of deep relatable human emotions and elements on display. Ryan Browne is the perfect artist to showcase both of those on the page at the same time in a way that brings both sides even more weight.
We’ve seen how the Genies themselves are these cute cosmic looking beings that are hiding a bit of darkness behind that exterior, and that sort of thing continues with Floyd/Idea Man here. Browne nails all the facial expressions and emotional work, which is used as a mask by Floyd in his own way. He’s a man that went through life not being believed or treated well and you can sense that in the way he acts and his emotional state even if we didn’t have the flashbacks that kick off the issue. At the same time, he’s wrapped up in the same cosmic looking look as the genies, a contrast to how he’s acting or coming off at times.
There have been a lot of fantastic visuals here but the page with the wish and the return of life to the Earth was just so good. Bold bright colors and powerful imagery within the panels, constructed in the best way to maximize the wish making and the results. Such a gorgeous series that weaves between whimsical and deadly serious with such precise ease.
All that whimsical but stark energy follows into the lettering as well, as Chris Crank brings it all to life. Those lettering bits in the form of dialogue flow through the issue with ease, taking on the same energy as the person speaking. Like the way the bubbles and fonts change for the wish making or when Genies are speaking. Fun and powerful SFX dotting the pages an adding to every scene.
Eight Billion Genies #6 is now available from Image Comics.