I saw the cover of Jirni, written by J.T. Krul and featuring the art of Paolo Pantalena, and though it to be bit of mystery, intrigue and confusion. Jirni is part of Aspen comic’s ten for ten initiative and will be this month’s new series. The cover sports a large breasted purple woman holding a sword. I worried a bit, fearing this book to be simply fan service but the opening panel establishes the world as brutal, colorful, and different from most other Aspen books I’ve seen before.
Not to spoil anything but the opening starts off with a man being carved up to be put on a fire, along with decapitations. This isn’t an all ages book by any definition and it’s nice to see Aspen expanding its horizons a bit with this book. Jirni is more fantasy than I’ve ever seen in an Aspen book. The world is creative and off the normal path we’ve seen comic books take lately. It is this sort of Skyrim/World of Warcraft world but more lively.
The writing is hit and miss for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening few pages of this book. Krul establishes the main character from the beginning, giving her a distinct voice and personality. Other segments feel forced. The dialog moves the story forward but feels mechanical and stilted at points. The world is still being introduced and I think after a few issues Krul will settle into a niche, allowing everything to flow much smoother.
Usually my biggest problem with first issues is they try to cram too much information about the world into the first issue, not giving enough attention to introduction of characters and not allowing the reader to establish a connection. Krul skates the line at a few points but does this task fairly well. I know who the main character is and they seem unique and individual to me. My only issue is with the villain established in this book. He feels somewhat generic and run of the mill. Honestly though, all the other characters flow well with each other, finding grooves.
The art in this book is average. Most of the minion villains blend together but, again, they are minions. The central characters the reader sees in this first issue are all distinct. The majority of the story feels told through the dialog with the art as support but not, itself, moving the story forward.
Jirni has a sort of Arabian Nights feel, filled with genies, magic, and sand (lots and lots of sand). In the end, this book is fun, violent, but a bit predictable at points. It’s an introductory issue so I feel the need to cut it a little slack. This book has the potential to be original, exciting, and unlike everything else Aspen has coming out. I have usually enjoyed Krul’s work in the past such as Teen Titans and his original work with Minefield. I have my concerns with this title but over all I find the world easy to comprehend while still accomplishing the task of capturing my attention.
If you enjoy the sort of fantasy medieval middle earth sort of stories, then you’ll enjoy Jirni. Like all the other ten for ten books, the first issue will be only $1.