8 Billion Genies #1 is written by Charles Soule, illustrated and colored by Ryan Browne, and lettered by Chris Crank. It’s published by Image Comics. One day, a genie appears to every person on Earth and offers them a single wish. Whatever the wish, it will be granted — though the genies warn that the user’s intention will be reflected in the wish’s result. The world promptly erupts in chaos, save for one location: The Lampwick Bar & Grill in Michigan. That’s due to its owner and bartender Will Williams immediately using his wish to make sure any wish made outside the Lampwick cannot affect it or its customers.
This comic marks a reunion for Soule and Browne following their previous work on Curse Words for Image. Much like Curse Words, 8 Billion Genies deals with the world of magic and how it would work in the real world. We’ve all seen movies like Aladdin and heard stories about genies, so having one to grant your wishes would be a godsend right? Soule and Browne turn that on its head by showcasing how people’s wishes come true and not necessarily how they want. One woman wishes for more money than she knows what to do with, and her entire house is full of cash. A man wishes for the kind of love “he’s always dreamed about” and is surrounded by female characters from a video game.
What helps ground the more mystical elements are the Lampwick’s inhabitants. Soule makes each and every one of the bar’s patrons feel like real people with their hopes and dreams. One customer, Ed, spends most of the issue drunk despite his 12-year-old son Robbie’s attempts to get him home. And the band known as the Bada-Bangs form a makeshift love triangle of sorts: guitarist Daisy immediately tries to use her wish to make lead singer Brian fall in love with her, despite drummer Alex’s feelings for her. Factor in Williams’ wish of essentially making the Lampwick a no-magic zone, and you have a situation ripe with conflict. It continues to prove that Soule is one of the most creative writers on comics, whether he’s working with established properties like Star Wars or original comics like Undiscovered Country.
The concept of the issue lets Browne really rip loose with his art. Giant robots, floating castles, and dragons inhabit the pages— at one point, the Earth literally turns into a cube in a massive splash page. The most creative aspect of the book remains the genies. They’re squiggly, cute little buggers with a color scheme that recalls the Aurora Borealis, which is also reflected in Crank’s word balloons. Whenever they grant a wish, Browne shows them fading away into the air in wisps of cosmic dust, and Crank adds a massive “WISH!” sound effect in large white letters. It’s a sight that has to be seen to be believed.
8 Billion Genies #1 brings forth a new world of magic and mayhem and reunites the creative team of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne in the process. Between the story and the art, this is one of the most inventive comic books I’ve read in a while, and the end of the issue shows that.
8 Billion Genies #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
8 Billion Genies #1
8 Billion Genies #1Â brings forth a new world of magic and mayhem and reunites the creative team of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne in the process. Between the story and the art, this is one of the most inventive comic books I’ve read in a while, and the end of the issue shows that.
Born and raised in Texas, Collier “CJ” Jennings was introduced to geekdom at an early age by his father, who showed him Ultraman and Star Trek: The Next Generation. On his thirteenth birthday, he received a copy of Giant Size X-Men #1 and dove head first into the realm of pop culture, never looking back. His hobbies include: writing screenplays and essays, watching movies and television, card games/RPG’s, and cooking. He currently resides in Seattle.