Comics, Reviews

Eight Billion Genies Review: A Wish Come True

Discover the madness of what happens when each person in the world is given one wish from a magical genie.

Eight Billion Genies Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

Eight Billion Genies

Eight Billion Genies Full Cover

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Ryan Browne

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: July 25, 2023

Page Count: 240

Format: Comic

From the bombastic art to the poignant storytelling, "Eight Billion Genies" is a graphic novel where creativity runs wild across every page.

The comic “Eight Billion Genies” asks a simple question: if you were given one wish, what would you wish for? Ask that question to every person on the planet, and you’re sure to get some creative, strange, heartfelt, and insane answers. Creators Charles Soule and Ryan Browne take that idea and brilliantly weave together a story that explores the deepest desires of humanity and the journey to discovering what’s most important in the world.

Welcoming into the barImage: Image Comics

Part 1: A Rainbow-colored Apocalypse

Judging from its cover and title alone, I did not expect  “Eight Billion Genies” to be a post-apocalyptic story. Instead of a cataclysm caused by a virus outbreak or natural disaster, the comic shows the world getting destroyed by the abundance of wish fulfillment. With millions of wishes being granted at once, it doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose. Amidst the chaos is where the different faces of man start to reveal themselves. After all, when presented with the ultimate power of a magical wish, there will be people who will want to use it for good and evil. Then there are those people who just want their own giant mecha to pilot.

With such an outlandish premise, the early parts of the series perfectly capture what the world would be like if we all got one wish. You’ll have people making the strangest, most impulsive wishes imaginable. It’s rare to see a comic with superheroes fighting on one page and then Santa Claus getting eaten by the man-eating moon on another. While it may seem like the comic is just about letting creativity run wild, the story is unafraid of showing the darkness of a world collapsing.

At the heart of the story is a modest bar called The Lampwick. Not only is this where we meet the story’s diverse cast of main characters, but it’s also one of the few safe havens left standing after “G-Day.” Much of the early issues introduce us to the survivors in the bar. From the budding rock band consisting of three close friends to the young boy accompanying his drunkard father, these characters bring unique perspectives to a world turned upside down.

The genies arriveImage: Image Comics

Part 2: When Reality Sets In

The series wastes no time telling its engrossing story across its eight uniquely paced issues. Each issue follows a specific time frame post “G-Day.” Starting with the first eight hours, it shows the world quickly falling into chaos. Then as the series progresses, it explores the next eight days, weeks, years, and, eventually, centuries. But even as years go by in a blink of an eye, Soule and Browne masterfully tell one great and cohesive story. Now, how does one story last for centuries long? Remember, this is a story about making the craziest wishes come true.

It’s at the midpoint of the series when things get interesting. While the early issues have people asking for crazy wishes out of impulse, a wish’s value becomes more weighted and nuanced as the story progresses. It shows reality setting in within a world where the definition of what’s real is constantly in flux. You’ll see characters treat wishes and genies as currency or status symbols, making them a means of control. For a story filled with silly, over-the-top moments, it explores how society can fall back to its worst tendencies even in the face of such a bombastic apocalypse.

The wishes created a fantasy worldImage: Image Comics

Part 3: The Power of Time

Among the most brilliant parts of the book are the “status updates” that show the current state of the world throughout different points in time. These single pages show how the Earth sometimes is shaped like a cube or has hundreds of spaceships around its orbit. But as silly as that sounds, these pages tell a more morbid story. These pages show the number of wishes and people left in the world. And as time goes on, the numbers just keep dwindling fast. The perfect balance of comedy and dread in each of these pages encapsulates the creative beauty that’s expressed throughout the entire series.

By having centuries pass by in the final issue, you get a sense of how much humanity has changed since the arrival of the genies. After a story filled with so much spectacle, it felt refreshing to have everything tied together through a heartfelt examination of humanity’s greatness and imperfections. It makes for a satisfyingly poignant finale with the last wish being made.

Centuries after G DayImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts 

“Eight Billion Genies” is a story that truly has it all. What starts as a comic brimming with the most insane visuals imaginable unfolds into a heartfelt exploration of humanity’s inspiring ups and tragic downs. It’s rare to read a comic that is so seamlessly hilarious and emotionally terrifying in its storytelling. Charles Soule and Ryan Browne pulled off a masterpiece that’s so creative in all its aspects, it almost feels like it was wished into existence. If I were to make one wish, it would be for you to read this incredible graphic novel right now.

Why You Should Read Eight Billion Genies

  • It has a very unique take on a post-apocalyptic story
  • The story can flip from funny to horrifying and heartfelt in an instant
  • The art by Ryan Browne creates a bombastic world unlike anything else in comics
TAGGED: Image Comics