Eight Billion Genies gets all of the answers to the age-old question, “What would you wish for if you only had one wish?”
Anytime genies are involved you can expect chaos. But even knowing to expect the unexpected, Eight Billion Genies left me happily surprised. Because we all know what happens when one person is granted three wishes. But did you ever stop to ask yourself, what would happen if every human was granted 1 wish?
Debuting this month from Image Comics, Eight Billion Genies #1 is now available for $3.99. Written by Charles Soule, with artwork by Ryan Browne, and letters by Chris Crank, this unusual twist to a popular story arc is mesmerizing. In this first issue, readers will get glimpses into the chaos that is waiting to be unleashed as the story progresses.
Be careful there might be some spoilers in this review.
The Twists and Turns of Eight Billion Genies Granting Everyone’s Wish
Life seems pretty bleak, but common, as readers are introduced to a variety of characters getting situated in a small, run-down bar. There is a band of three setting up for their night performance as a lost couple takes a seat with a few beers. In the back of the bar, the owner/ bartender is helping a young boy trying to get his drunk father up. Just small slices of life filing the comic pages until random hello’s start popping up all around.
In a split second 8 Billion people are granted one genie and with that one wish. As genie after genie starts showing up, they make sure to point out the warning we all know well. “Be careful when you make your wish. For your intention will be reflected in how it is fulfilled.”
The writing and flow in Eight Billion Genies are beautifully crafted. Starting off with the everyday bustle of a bar. Introducing characters as they come into the scene naturally sets a calm baseline for readers. As well as allows readers a basic understanding of the characters personalities before everything changes. This set up is perfect with the twists and turns that Charles Soule adds throughout the arc. Making the sprinkling of chaos throughout the story exciting surprises for readers.
For example at the very beginning two of the band members head outside, where one proceeds to gather enough courage to ask the other out. As the genies pop up in the middle of this conversation, Daisy (the recently asked out bandmember), wishes for the OTHER band mate to fall in love with her. Leaving the crushed bandmate to storm inside the bar for a drink, while she rushes inside to the arms of her supposed new lover.
But even that wasn’t as easy as one would think. Because the problem with everyone being granted one wish is EVERYONE is being granted one wish. While Daisy was making her wish for love, the bartender, Mr. Williams was making a wish to save the bar. That one wish helps transcend the bar as a safe haven as the craziness unfolds around them.
Genies Steal the Show
The best part of Eight Billion Genies is the art. Especially the genies. There is something so nice about the blending of the realistic, shading, dim lighted style that we are introduced to with the cartoon, spirit style of the genies. In that first introduction scene at the bar, it’s hard not to think of the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Instead of saying “mine”, they are saying “I am yours.”
This clash of the patrons at the bar looking freaked out, while the genies all look excited and happy is a great way to capture the shifting of focus. That is probably one of the reasons the artwork stood out as much as it did. As Eight Billion Genies progressed the artwork continued to expand the chaos, while the writing focuses more on the individual impact characters are facing. All the while keeping it rather simple and easy to follow.
For example, there are two images that left me staring, lost in my own thoughts and questions. The story progresses in increments of time once the genies arrive. In the first eight seconds, we see a picture of Earth looking pretty normal, with a lot of blue. At the bottom of the page reads, “Human Population: 8,000,000,000. Genie Population: 8,000,000,000.” Within 2 images, we are introduced to Earth at the first eight minutes.
Why is it cubed? Who died?! How did they die? Did someone wish for it to be cubed? Like I said, a lot of questions.
The point is that even without the backstory and the much desired information, the artwork is so strong that it speaks for itself. That is also why on the two pages we see snapshots of what the world has become during those eight minutes, is mind-blowing. There is so many small things happening, that you will spend minutes looking at the beautiful collage of chaos that Ryan Browne crafted. It’s beautiful bewildering.
Wishing for More Issues
Overall, Eight Billion Genies #1 is a genius twist and a fresh look at the genie troupe. With the whole concept revolving around everyone trying to wish for something, this comic series is forged to be utterly and positively chaotic. With so much going on, it’s easy for plot or characters to get lost. But the beautiful blend of writing and art allows the first issue to flow effortlessly as everything is set up. Making sure that nothing is too overpowering or dilutes the overall concept.
The wonderful balance between both sides, also allows for a steady flow of the future seven issues. The last page ends with, “come back next month to experience….The First Eight Hours.” Which is definitely something we all must-see. Even with as much as there was going on, due to the time increments it allows readers to take everything in small dosages. These small moments then can build on top of themselves to build even more situations to life.
Because the one thing about the genie troupe is that while there is always chaos to be found, there is also usually a life lesson not far behind. And while Eight Billion Genies #1 ends off with fun and silliness ensuing, we can’t forget how it began on the bleaker side. Pick up the first issue now through Image Comics or where comics are sold.
Will we see more of this rollercoaster in the following issues? Will it just be like a Pandora’s box of non-stop chaos? Will the characters we met at the start be changed forever by the end? Or is the concept too overplayed or is this a perspective you enjoy? Let us know what you think in the comments below and share your thoughts with us on Twitter!