Did you miss last week’s debut of Aspen Comics’ newest title, Jirni? We almost did, but luckily did not. Wanting you to read this book, we will not go into a highly detailed recap that would spoil it for you. However, we will give you the lowdown on the title’s entertainment values.

Jinri was created and written by J.T. Krul as a love letter to the fantasy genre and we can only image that the fantasy genre was quite smitten with it. He utilizes a classic fantasy plot element as the premise for this sweeping epic fantasy, a woman named Ara on a quest to rescue a loved one from the clutches of an evil sorcerer. Krul creates a tightly knit story that incorporates themes from high fantasy, swords and sorcery, and Mideastern mythology. The dialog, though it wouldn’t win an Oscar for best screenplay, moves the story along at a very nice pace and when he utilizes captions, it is for the purpose of either giving us time frame, locations, or as Ara’s inner monolog. We could read Krul’s writing all day is what we are trying to say.

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And what about the art? Paolo Pantalena provides the pencils for this issue and he does a completely amazing job. From the expressions of anger and pain to the lively action sequences, everything is richly detailed. He brings a fierceness to the monstrous creatures that makes us hope we never run into them and his depictions of Ara and her new companion, Nylese, are enough to make a guy sweat. Then there his drawings of the djinn (that’s a genie for those of you not versed in Mideastern mythology) that makes Disney’s Genie look like a puny, girly, wish-granter.

On the other end of the art is Brett Smith who provides the issue with color. Now, we don’t usually go into too much detail about color here at Geeking Cool when we review comics, but something has to be said here. It would seem that, among the major publishers, there is a trend of using more or less flat colors when bringing a book to life. To us, this often detracts from the book’s story and comes as a result of major publishers operating as comic book mills, churning out quantity over quality. That is not the case with this or any of Aspen’s titles. The colors themselves move from bright to dark hues in smooth gradients that give Pantalena’s art their third dimension. And the color palette is quite pleasing to the eye.

In conclusion, if you are a fan of epic fantasy, excellently illustrated action, writing that keeps an interesting plot moving, and better than average comic book coloring, this is the book for you. What’s more, you can get in on the ground floor still since the title and character is brand-spanking-new. In our opinion, Jirni #1 is a definite must read and we can’t wait for #2. 

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