The third and final issue of Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost was just released this Wednesday by Radical Comics. It’s a retelling of the familiar tale of Aladdin in comic-book form, and it’s definitely not the Disney version. (Want proof? How about the cover of issue #2 above.) Aladdin, while still the protagonist of the tale, is not necessarily as likable as the one your kids may be familiar with. From the time you meet him, he’s gambling (and cheating), fighting, and hanging out in the brothel where he was raised. Qassim, the sorcerer who’s after the lamp, is still just as evil as ever, though, taking what he wants and killing off anyone in his way.
The first issue mostly sets the stage, and other than some visual embellishments is largely the same story: Qassim needs Aladdin to fetch the lamp, tries to betray him, and Aladdin gets away with the lamp and discovers the djinn imprisoned within. His first act is to make himself a prince, creating an enormous palace just outside the city of Shamballah and trying to win the princess over with his fabulous riches. And here the story makes its own path to the end: Captain Sinbad enters the story and becomes a significant character in the tale, as does a Mantis Queen and the djinn of the ring. The conclusion (with the expected showdown with Qassim) throws in some backstory about what Qassim wanted with the lamp and an ancient race of sorcerers, something a bit different from most versions of Aladdin that I’ve read before, but the point is still the same. Aladdin needs to fight Qassim and rescue the princess (who, as you can tell from the third cover, is no damsel in distress either).
I did enjoy this version of the tale, scripted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Patrick Reilly and Stjepan Sejic. As with the other titles by Radical Comics, the illustrations are not your typical comic-book style and the covers give you a pretty good idea of what the rest of the book looks like. However, I did feel that the consistency of the artwork left a little to be desired. Sometimes a lot of the female characters looked very similar; at other times, a character’s face might change too much from one panel to another. I did like the djinns and the various beasts and mystical creatures throughout—that’s where the artists really shine. The dialogue is serviceable but not fantastic; I can appreciate the difficulty of writing conversations in English that are supposed to sound like they take place in ancient Arabia but there are some passages that just come out clunky.
If you’re a fan of the tale of Aladdin and you’d like to see a PG-13 version of it, you might want to check out this three-issue arc. It’s a bit reminiscent of the current incarnations of the Prince of Persia. You should be able to pick up the set at your local comics shop, or directly from Radical Comics. (I’m sure they’ll show up on Amazon as well but as of this writing only Book One was available.) Each of the three issues has three different covers as well, so take a look at the options before you buy.
Wired: Two words: land sharks. Arresting imagery and some variations on the story make this a fresh take on Aladdin.
Tired: While the artwork in each individual panel is terrific, sometimes the character’s faces are a little inconsistent from panel to panel.
Note: Radical Comics provided a review copies of the comic.