It’s easy to dismiss comics that purport to reimagine yet another classical tale into a hip, accessible, sexy story with pictures. We get a few more flaccid reinterpretations of folk tales and popular literature every month, and they usually blur into a mess of comics that just aren’t worth picking up. But ALADDIN: LEGACY OF THE LOST manages to elevate itself above these other regurgitations.
ALADDIN is a classic adventure tale in all senses. It includes all of the generic fantasy characters and situations that we love: pretty girls, bloody battle scenes, monsters, adversity, wish fulfillment, betrayal, secrets, and an epic conclusion. None of it is too unexpected, but there’s a very specific part of reading action-adventure comics that doesn’t demand any kind of intellectual surprise. Here, this visceral need for good action is completely satisfied.
As satisfying as this collection is, it has moments of inconsistency that are only evident because of how excellently produced the rest of the comic is.
All of the artwork is digital, like all of Radical’s titles. It couldn’t possibly be more divorced from classic comic artwork, but somehow, this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. While many other comics tend to congratulate themselves on their high-tech digital-ness instead of the actual skill of their artists, ALADDIN’s team consists of genuinely talented artists who don’t skimp on effort or fundamental art ability. They take a very interesting impressionistic approach to details, as opposed to the usual hyper-detailed nature of digital comic artwork. It’s actually refreshing --- so it’s mildly off-putting when they use cheap digital patterns to add fine details to odd objects and characters. A weirdly shaped head here and there isn’t enough to deter from the fast-paced, interesting action, however.
The dialogue isn’t exceptionally breathtaking either, switching between elegant magic-speak and gutter slang without much explanation, but it fits so well with the bombastic nature of the comic that it’s almost charming. Again, we’re not here to think --- we’re here for the beasts and swordplay.
It’s pleasing to note that the book doesn’t include any explicit sex or profanity. While there are scantily clad women who are obviously prostitutes and a few bloody eviscerations spread throughout the book, it’s certainly no more intense than your average prime-time television show --- which makes the effectiveness of the adventure even more impressive.
I didn’t expect to enjoy ALADDIN, but I was pleasantly surprised at its simplicity and power. It’s not revelatory in any way, but it’s an enjoyable and easy read, and an attractive introduction to Arabic folk tales.
Reviewed by Collin David on April 12, 2011
Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost, Volume 1