Last month I reviewed a brand new title from Aspen Comics. Jinri #1 was an amazing debut issue that had me hooked from the very beginning and I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up with the sophomore issue. This is the first time I have reviewed it under the new scoring system though, so how does it stand up under closer scrutiny?

Picking up from last moth’s issue, “Shadow of a Doubt” follows Ara and Nylese through the forest where Ara killed a horde of Orcs. Along the way, we are given a bit more back story on what happened to Ara, her mother, and her city. Eventually, the pair emerge into a small village where they meet a seer that has lost her powers of foresight. Ara travels into the depths of the town’s well to retrieve the seer’s daughter, only to find that the “little girl” is actually an monstrous abomination. After an exhilarating battle, Ara emerges from the well carrying the child’s head. The seer then points the two women in the direction they should travel. But they may soon be met by their most powerful foe yet.

J.T. Krul’s “love letter to all things fantasy” is exactly that. Well written and engaging, he creates a story that draws the reader into this magic world. His dialog is smooth and without melodramatic hiccups. His captions are used to convey location and time frame or deliver voice over from a previous panel rather than tell the story. Nor does he rush the story. Instead, he lets the story flow naturally and the suspense build up to bring readers back for another issue.

If the story were not enough, the title also delivers great artwork by Paolo Pantalena. His women are sleek and sexy while still imparting strength, his men are bold and muscular, his monsters are wicked and menacing, and the facial expressions clearly show the emotions behind the characters. Each panel is packed with so much detail that I could spend hours looking at any one of them.

And if Paolo Pantalena’s amazing art wasn’t enough, the colors by Brett Smith throw this title over the top. Brilliant splashes of color make every image pop off of the page. And when it comes to shading, he doesn’t just slap some black on the page to create shadows. Instead, he blends colors together, creating smooth gradients more like one would see in real life.

This is a title every comic book fan should be reading the world over. Please see the breakdown of our score below to find out why:

Originality: 5/5 – Despite being a love letter to all things fantasy, Jirni makes its own distinct mark in the realm of fantasy and comic books.
Story & Dialog: 5/5 – Krul, in my opinion, is one of the best writers in the business and Jinri is a shining gem of his talent.
Art: 5/5 – Above standard even for big name publishers. I would buy his prints, especially if…
Colors: 5/5 – …they were colored by Brett Smith. This guys work is gold.
Repeat Reading: 5/5 – I could read this series over and over again for so many different reasons. You should read it too and have it added to your pull list immediately.

Score: 