Newcomer Radical Books, much like the much missed CrossGen comic book company, doesn't hang its hat on superdupers. No capes, no tights, no domino masks. Instead, Radical delves into genres steeped in hard sci-fi and in iconic fantasy literature. One example: ALADDIN: LEGACY OF THE LOST, written by Ian Edginton, lavishly painted by Patrick Reilly and Stjepan Sejic, avidly read by whoever the heck picks it up.
It's a bit of a disconcerting start, though. I think most of this generation are aware of the Disney animated version and so, at the start, Edginton's interpretation seems very familiar. But stay the course, brother, because Edginton does switch it up and the narrative soon takes on an edgier, more mature, less wholesome slant. In the dusty, sweltering city of Shambhalla, Aladdin - born in a brothel and raised by streetwalkers - survives by his wits and that bump of dishonesty. Except that his conniving ways often get him into scrapes, our orphaned knave barely staying one jump ahead. Aladdin's avarice doesn't allow him to refuse a sinister sorcerer's job offer to retrieve some old artifact. You know the story. Aladdin ends up master of a mighty Djinn caged in a magic oil lamp. Qassim the sorcerer will stop at nothing to possess the lamp. Meanwhile, Aladdin takes advantage of the Djinn's wish granting abilities. Boy, does he ever. Aladdin is exposed to a whole new world, shining, shimmering, splendid...
Thirty days after, an opulent new palace graces Shambhalla, having manifested from thin air, its primary resident universally hailed as the Golden Prince (maybe because he showers the peasants with gold each time he steps out of his ritzy crib). Shambhalla's king eyes the wondrous new structure with fascination. His daughter, the Princess Soraya, is more critical, condemning the Golden Prince as someone flighty and arrogant and horribly gauche. The Golden Prince himself visits but fails to impress the princess. And then Qassim the sorcerer reappears, and this is when Ian Edginton truly makes this story his own, when it stops being Disney and becomes an epic sword & sorcery fantasy.
Several things to savor. Edginton tweaks this classic tale enough that it seems fresh and new all over again. He populates his narrative with frightening mystical creatures - I like that the Djinn of the Lamp is properly menacing. This grim cat isn't about to serenade Aladdin with "You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me." The two artists wonderfully convey the mysticism and exotic draw of an ancient, fabled Arabian setting. I loved the connection between the two Djinns (if you know the original tale, there is a ring as well as a lamp). The writer lays down back stories that flesh out the characters. I love that he explores history that spools back to a vile and ancient community of sorcerers. But maybe my favorite thing that Edginton does is his unexpected (but very cool) pairing of Aladdin and Sinbad, two of the most famous characters out of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. In this equation, of course, Aladdin is the young scamp, with the older and more travel-worn Captain Sinbad - who himself is pretty roguish - acting as sort of his big brother and mentor. Ian Edginton writes these two as really appealing characters, ones I - and probably you - wouldn't mind at all seeing more of in a sequel. Along with the feisty Princess Soraya, naturally. And if Edginton can maintain this well-paced blending of exposition and swashbuckling action, why stop at just one sequel?
ALADDIN: LEGACY OF THE LOST collects issues #1-3. This trade's bonus material includes a foreword by artist Arthur Suydam, a 34-paged gallery of dazzling covers and concept art by various artists, and an interview with Ian Edginton.
on June 20, 2013
This is not just a great comic book. It is a great book... period! It features a great story with well developed and interesting characters. The world comes alive and is a character unto itself thanks to Sejic and Reilly. It proves capable of leaving a lasting impression and will ignite both your imagination and interest in the classic original source materials.
To all those who laugh at the idea of reading Aladdin Volume 1: Legacy of the Lost, don't judge this book by its cover. First, despite being Volume 1, this is a self-contained story. It will neatly tie up all the plot threads by the end. As you read you will wonder how that is possible, but it is accomplished and it is done without feeling rushed or forced. It is masterfully paced and its self-contained nature means it requires no prior knowledge or further investment. Second, this is not the way you remember Aladdin. Aladdin is a well written and well developed character. He is flawed. He is human in a way that seems impossible for a story of this length. And that means he is a far departure from what you will expect if you have Disney characters in mind. So do not dismiss this book at first glance. It is a great story for anyone over 10 years of age or so, depending on maturity. (There is some blood and some "suggestive" material. So it would probably be rated PG13 (movie scale) or TEEN (game scale).)
No one wants to read a book review that is longer than the book itself, so I will get right to the main categories and try to keep it short. Art, story, dialogue, characters. The art is fantastic. Nothing more needs to be said. I bought this book because I am a fan of Stjepan Sejic's other works, and I was not disappointed. The art design is very imaginative and detailed. After reading a page, you will go back to look at the panels because there is so much to see and take in. The world really comes alive to bring a sense of awe and wonder that the story is intended to invoke. The story itself is an original tale that is masterfully written. It manages to have laser focus concerning its plot and themes, but at the same time it is epic in scope because it is always pushing forward and moving along. The reader never knows what will happen next or where the story will take you, but once something has happened it always makes perfect sense and seems organic given the events that lead up to it. It truly shows that Ian Edginton is a master of his craft, and I will be looking for more of his works. The dialogue, like the story, is organic. It is not realistic to the period, but not much is in literature, and that choice makes it much easier to read. The dialogue does what is most important and gives personality to the characters. Even those characters who have brief cameos, like the two "brothel employees" who meet Aladdin while he is drinking, are given personality and motivations with just a few word bubbles. With just a few lines of dialogue you clearly understand the deep loyalty being eroded by a strained relationship between the characters. Very focused and effective. Lastly, the characters thrive because of the well written story and dialogue. They are well developed, they evolve, and they have true personality. There are no archetypes in this book.
So if you have read this far you obviously have some interest. Just buy the book. You will find it well worth the time and money. I certainly intend to read it again, and I may even buy it again. I bought it used, and I am regretting the minor damage because I intend to keep this book for a very long time. It is that good. No joke.
on September 9, 2014
I BOUGHT THIS ON AN AMAZON RECOMDATION .I am so glad that I did and can't wait to read it I have paged thru the book it is wonderfully drawn and colored. The amount of pages for the price is unbelievable.
on May 31, 2014
I can’t quite remember how I first came across this, but I’m sure it was based on something else I had looked at on Amazon and then came up as a recommendation. Once I saw the cover, I was drawn to it immediately, even though I know that sometimes the cover art for graphic novels is so much better than what is actually inside. But anyway, I started looking at it. It was sort of furtive in the beginning. Basically, if you tell me it’s dark, you’re going to get my attention, so that’s what happened here. Also it’s fairytale related, so yay. In the end, I couldn’t say no, and I’m glad that I didn’t.
Like you might expect, Aladdin is a young thief who attracts the interest of a man needing to get his hands on a lamp. Qassim’s interest in Aladdin does not stop there, however. There is something else about the youth that is important. His blood, to be more specific, but the story is told in a way that the secrets unfold slowly, leaving you to wonder exactly what is in store around the corner. Anyway, of course Aladdin fetches the lamp and manages to avoid death while keeping the lamp to himself, accidentally rubs it, summons a djinn and uses wishes to make himself a prince. He uses his power to do what he wants, also caters to the poor, and later attempts to impress the princess.
Okay so here’s where things take a turn, Aladdin is exposed by Qassim, who the youth didn’t know was associated with the sultan (isn’t that how it always goes). He is said to be a thief, and after a flurry of events, finds himself on the run after the king winds up dead.
Aladdin then meets up with Sinbad, who had previously been observing him, and they set off together to save the world and whatnot. Or at least rescue the princess. The story becomes somewhat of it’s own after that (or perhaps not, since I don’t exactly know the story of Sinbad), but I also couldn’t help thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean. There is a Krakken-type monster and also the idea of jilted lovers with great powers. Instead of one Djinn, there are 2, and they are married, but circumstances find them opposed. But things are woven well and there are many forces at work, making for a richer storyline.
The art is absolutely gorgeous!! Full color and really beautiful. The coloring job is excellent, each image looking like a painting all to itself. The pictures are worth looking at, even without following the storyline. The artists did get a bit lazy at times, and that’s always disappointing, but for the most part, very well done and consistent throughout.
Gorgeous to look at, this story is a bit dark, bloody and excellent. There is originality here, though not all the ideas are entirely fresh, the story wove through nicely, the dialogue was mostly good, and once again the art was freaking awesome. I was very impressed.
There were a few things that didn’t quite impress me though, one of which was the pacing. But I know that it’s different with graphic novels. Also since the beginning was basically as you’d expect Aladdin to be, it wasn’t all that exciting, because of course events are going to lead us to the lamp and while there seemed to be a lot of effort to get there, I mean, we knew it would happen. There wasn’t much originality added to that part.
The attempt at a love connection also annoyed me.There was no reason at all for Aladdin to pursue the princess other than the fact that she was the princess and very beautiful, which is fine and makes sense in a way. Why do men go after women anyway? But there was never much growing of that, other than the fact that she’s the best girl around. On the other side of things, it makes more sense to me to see the princess’s return interest in him. She had merit as a character, but their connection seemed weak.
Anyway, I recommend this one! It was a gem.
on October 21, 2013
This is the best retelling of the classic story of Aladdin. Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost is way more mature than the version created by the Walt Disney Animation Studios back in the early 1990s. Not that the Disney version was bad or horrible, but this one, created by Radical Comics, could apply to a more adult audience. The Radical Comics group has done a spectacular job on adapting the story of Aladdin into a graphic novel (or comic book) format. It's an epic sword & sorcery tale filled with fantasy and adventure.
on September 8, 2013
This was a beautifully done graphic novel retelling of Aladdin. Definitely more of an adult take on the tale. I enjoyed reading it a lot.
Aladdin is a thief who grabs the attention of the sorcerer Qassim. Qassim wants Aladdin to help him steal the Jewel of Dreaming because Aladdin has a secret power. Little does Aladdin know he will be drawn into a battle between two genies and two kingdoms.
The thing that will immediately grab your attention is the absolutely stunning artwork. It is full color, epic, and absolutely breathtaking. I love graphic novels filled with beautiful artwork, so I really enjoyed this one.
The book isn't all about the art though, there is a very good story here as well. If you are familiar with the tale of Aladdin you will recognize many parts of it here. However there are some additions and embellishments.
In addition to Aladdin trying to outsmart Qassim and win the heart of a princess, there is the story of two Genie woven in as well. The two Genie are imprisoned in separate prisons, but were once a couple. It was an interesting dynamic to have intertwined with Aladdin's story.
The battle scenes are absolutely awesome and incredibly well illustrated. There are some scantily dressed women and bloody scenes, so I would personally recommend for adult and older; although young adults would probably be fine reading this too.
Overall I really enjoyed this graphic novel. The illustration is a work of high art and absolutely breathtaking. The story is very well done, with more depth and dimension than many other Aladdin tales I have read. The story really has an epic feel to it and I enjoyed it alot. Highly recommended to fans of fantasy graphic novels.
on July 31, 2012
Let's get this out of the way: You can't help but compare the Disney version to this. Mostly that's because Disney's version is so well known, at this point in history even moreso, maybe, than the original story. Rest assure however, a few nods to the animated classic here and there aside, this is not Disney.
The basic premise is pretty much what you would expect. Aladdin gets the lamp, tries to impress the princess, princess gets kidnapped, Aladdin saves the day. The end. Oh but there is so much more. Midway through the second issue Disney is long forgotten and the book really stands on it's own. The characterizations are really well done. From Aladdin to the rougish Sinbad - every character is well thought out and plays on the page perfectly. There are twists and turns all through the book with events that are pretty unexpected even if you are well acquainted with the original story.
The art is stunning. This is probably due to the book being painted but even with that it's painted very well. You can actually feel the elements as you move through the story with Aladdin. The creatures are imposing and scary. I really enjoyed the design of the djinn. All aspects of Robin Williams are ripped out of the character and instead we are given a brooding dark character who can be pretty frightening at times.
This is a really great book and I honestly think anyone who reads it will find it a treat. Still you can't help but compare. Even the writers couldn't with a final nod to the Disney cartoon on the very last page.
on April 7, 2012
I bought this comic after seeing a preview on it on another website. The art is AMAZING! If you are a sucker for awesome art, then this book will blow your mind away. I love it!
This comic book is not so much of the Disney Version that we are all familiar with, but it somehow relates. It has it's twists and more dark and revealing side.
Definitely a good buy!
on March 29, 2015
I loved this graphic novel. The artwork is awesome and the story was dark and intriguing. Highly recommended for fans of Alladin.