Tag Archives: yasmeen

Review: Yasmeen #3

An absolutely amazing series has only gotten better with each issue. The story follows Yasmeen as she attempts to settle in her new country while dealing with the torture she experienced at the hands of ISIS. Yasmeen #3 delivers more about her escape and the impact on her family.

Story: Saif A. Ahmed
Art: Fabiana Mascolo
Letterer: Robin Jones

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Scout Comics

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Commanders in Crisis #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Commanders in Crisis #1 (Image Comics) – The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. Our review was a glowing one, you can check it out here.

Concrete Jungle #1 (Scout Comics) – A rogue telepath hijacks minds to commit crimes. The conept just sounds awesome.

Rorschach #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – If you’re a fan of crime/noir comics, this is a must. Forget the Watchmen tie-in, it’s just a solid start to a crime mystery.

Seven Secrets #3 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has a been a lot of fun so far. The first two issues were not what we were expecting so very interested in seeing where this all goes.

Strange Adventures #6 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – This issue is the best of the series so far. There’s some raw discussions here about being a parent as we learn more about the death of Adam Strange’s daughter and Mr. Terrific’s wife and unborn child.

Vain #1 (Oni Press) – Eliot Rahal is an amazing writer and we’re here for anything new from him. Add in Emily Pearson on art and we’re beyond excited for this new series about a robbery at a blood bank.

Villainous #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A new superhero is working with her idols but her dreams turn to nightmares and she has to make a choice about standing with heroes or becoming… villainous.

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #1 (Marvel) – The world of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 comes to Marvel. A solid start that’s good for long-time fans of the property and new readers.

We Live #1 (AfterShock) – If you’re not in tears by the end of the issue, you have no heart. Just a heart-wrenching sci-fi series.

Yasmeen #3 (Scout Comics) – One of the best comics out there, it explores a young woman dealing with the trauma of being tortured by ISIS as she attempts to get settled in the United States.

Review: Yasmeen #2

An absolutely amazing debut has only gotten better in Yasmeen #2. The story follows Yasmeen as she attempts to settle in her new country while dealing with the torture she experienced at the hands of ISIS.

Story: Saif A. Ahmed
Art: Fabiana Mascolo
Letterer: Robin Jones

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Scout Comics

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Yasmeen #2

Yasmeen #2
Yasmeen #2, Scout Comics

Saif Ahmed’s and Fabiana Mascolo’s Yasmeen is in many respects a story about the painful process behind coming of age. Focusing on a girl (the titular Yasmeen) living during the ISIS invasion of Mosul, Iraq first and then years later as a refugee in America, the comic is nothing short of a visceral exploration of how unfair and even profoundly violent change can be.

This is made clear in the first issue of the six-part series. The second entry of the story dives deeper into these ideas, but it takes the opportunity to say something different about coming-of-age stories: they’re not universal.

A staple of YA literature, the coming-of-age story deals in transformation, maturity, and acceptance, all brought upon by a particular set of internal and external challenges. It’s such a flexible narrative template that it’s easy to apply to different types of characters going through a variety of self-identity trials. The emphasis is on seeing how characters grow up and how they accept themselves for who they are, imperfections and all.

Yasmeen’s take on this puts the focus on context and the uniqueness of its circumstances. Growing up during an invasion only to migrate to another country and face the stereotypes and misconceptions of one’s own culture from other groups of people is quite simply on a level all of its own. It’s unique and hard to relate to if the reader does not share in the same experience, or has at very least experienced something similar to it. And yet, what makes this story special is that it wants to help readers understand it, regardless of difficulty.

Yasmeen #2 is where the series hits its stride with its simultaneous approach to storytelling. Yasmeen looks to settle into a normal in her new American life in the present timeline while trying to survive in her new role as wife to a man that acquired her after being separated from the family in the past timeline. The exchange between both timelines is relentless, but it is serves a purpose. In Yasmeen coming of age is a constant, never a phase one can conquer and then move on. It leaves scars.

Yasmeen #2, Scout Comics

For Yasmeen, the memories of the past compromise her ability to adapt to the present. But the present brings challenges of its own. She is surrounded by kids of her same age going through their own coming-of-age woes, but their experiences are worlds apart and reconciling those differences is proving quite the challenge. The book’s art captures this with uncomfortable clarity and inventiveness.

Fabiana Mascolo again does an excellent job of dealing with traumatic imagery without being explicit. The lead up to violence or images of abuse is tense and uncomfortable but knows precisely when to change gears into other sequences. It’s also worth mentioning that Mascolo’s facial expressions tell stories of their own. They invite close study to get the most out every character.

The script deftly raises the intensity between the two timelines in this issue, making for a harder-hitting issue than the first one. Things move faster and the terrors of the past face stronger competition from the struggles of student life in America. The change in environments are skillfully managed and always manage to keep each time period in conversation with one another. There’s a sequence in which Yasmeen is surrounded by ghostly images of the ISIS takeover while walking down her school’s cafeteria that is something to behold. It’s deeply haunting and it captures the spirit of the book perfectly.

The second issue of Yasmeen braves unsettling and rough terrains, full of terrible things. But as is the case with the first issue, hope still manages to carve out some space for itself. There’s a lot of darkness still, but the promise of light at the end of the tunnel is there. I don’t expect that light to be all-powerful or all-healing, but I’m intrigued as to what it offers to Yasmeen.

Story: Saif Ahmed Art: Fabiana Mascolo
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and then read Graphic Policy’s interview with the writer.

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Scout Comics Store

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A Man Among Ye #2 (Image Comics) – The semi-factual story about pirates has been interesting in that it includes a lot of little known facts about the subject and delivers an entertaining tale. The first issue was solid so we’re hoping the second continues.

Dead Day #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue wasn’t what we were expecting. The dead come back for one evening and this is the story of a family impacted by a love thought dead.

Decorum #4 (Image Comics) – Stunning art really highlights this sci-fi series.

G.I. Joe #7 (IDW Publishing) – This issue made the news because its exploration of trauma and the military. We’re expecting a possible run on the issue which is flying under the radar.

Maestro #1 (Marvel) – It’s not that we needed to see the origin of the character but we kind of want to see the origin of the character.

Once & Future #10 (BOOM! Studios) – An update to Arthurian legend. The series has been amazing with every issue.

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The Ranger Slayer is now in control and this miniseries will likely have a big impact on whatever is coming for the Power Rangers down the line.

The Shadow Service #1 (Vault Comics) – It’s spy craft meets black magic with Private Investigator Gina Meyers. The concept sounds like a lot of fun to us.

Voyage to the Stars #1 (IDW Publishing) – The comedy podcast comes to comics.

Yasmeen #2 (Scout Comics) – An emotional story of a young girl tortured by ISIS who’s trying to make a new life in the United States.

Interview: Saif Ahmed on how his comic YASMEEN explores living with the scars of extremist violence

Saif A. Ahmed
Saif Ahmed, writer of Yasmeen

Saif A. Ahmed is a writer that understands the human mind is more than capable of crafting its own horrors even when provided with as little information as possible. This is evident in his approach to violence and trauma in his comic Yasmeen, a story about an Iraqi family’s experience with violent extremism in Mosul, Iraq, and how its memory follows them when they relocate to the United States.

It’s a brutal comic, but the truly terrifying aspects of it lie in what Ahmed leaves up to the reader’s imagination. In this regard, it’s one of the most educational comics on recent Iraqi history available today and I can’t recommend it enough.

Horror is a powerful educational tool. It goes beyond fact to take a proper stab at understanding an event or an experience. In other words, it’s intimate. Yasmeen deeply subscribes to this idea, but it does so by largely concerning itself with the conflictive act of remembering that characterizes trauma.

Yasmeen centers on the titular character, a 16-year-old girl who is captured by ISIS and is then thrust into slavery at the hands of a man that takes complete control of her life, in all aspects of it. It is revealed that Yasmeen and her family manage to leave Iraq to become refugees in America years later. The comic alternates between the two time periods to capture the horrors of the past and the struggles of the present.

Ahmed’s scripts are unafraid to venture into the violence and abuse Yasmeen lived through in the past, but it rarely indulges in gratuity or graphic imagery. The reader is informed on the things that happen to her and the story moves on.

Yasmeen #1
From Yasmeen #1, by Saif Ahmed and Fabiana Mascolo

Artist Fabiana Mascolo perfectly captures the implicit nature of the storytelling and knows how much should or shouldn’t be shown for the narrative to work. It’s a strategy often employed in the best horror stories, the kind that prioritize dread and tension over explicit shots of gore and death to keep the audience’s attention.

Whatever human horrors Yasmeen conjures up in its story, however, are met with a refreshingly humble and realistic sense of hope. There’s something to be said about the will to survive as presented in this comic and it’s important readers experience it. It’s where the story gathers its teachings and invites true understanding.

Graphic Policy sat down with writer Saif Ahmed (via email) to discuss the comic and the various elements that went into the creation of such a harrowing but hopeful story about memory and survival.

Ricardo Serrano: Yasmeen is a book with a lot to say and a lot to teach. It’s curious that despite the recent history of Iraq and the Middle East we still seem to know very little about the actual dynamics behind the events that have taken place there. What are you hoping Yasmeen can bring to the conversation in terms of understanding the things that have happened in Mosul through an Iraqi family’s experience of them? 

Yasmeen #3, by Saif Ahmed and Fabiana Mascolo

Saif A. Ahmed: As a storyteller, my first concern was to tell the best engaging story possible. On top of that I aimed to draw attention to the victims who are still affected by the war. These are people who were living normal peaceful lives, then suddenly they were faced with a pure evil force that subjected them to unimaginable horrors. And while ISIS is almost defeated now and the world has moved on, the survivors still carry emotional and physical scars that will stay with them for rest of their lives. Now I am in no way trying to preach or make the reader feel bad, I myself avoid listening to the depressing news of the world but I do wish to help change how Arabs and immigrants are perceived by simply telling the story of a teenage Iraqi girl and her family from their own prospective. 

Serrano: One of the things I found interesting about the book as that it doesn’t hold the reader’s hand throughout the story. Not everything is explained in a clear cut manner, as is the case with the conflict’s factions and the ideas they uphold. Yet, it still gets its point across. What was the thought process behind this approach? 

Ahmed: Well, the first rule of storytelling is “show don’t tell!” I didn’t want to feed the readers a ton of information (this is the best way to lose them). I rather show glimpses of the long and deadly conflict through the characters’ interactions as if the readers are witnessing engaging high-stakes debates. The fake checkpoint (that’s what we call the infamous terrorist checkpoints in Iraq) sequence for instance was an important scene for me because I once was stopped by a terrorist group that were looking for people from my sect of Islam. I was lucky that I didn’t get caught but if I had, I wish to think that I would’ve been brave enough to say to them what Yasmeen‘s uncle says in the sequence. 

Serrano: Despite the horrors Yasmeen guides readers through, actual instances of violence are treated with restraint and inventiveness. It leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. What led to the decision to keep things implicit and not graphic? 

Ahmed: I wasn’t interested in the violence itself but rather its influence on the victims. The whole point of the story is that violent acts stay with us long after they take place. Violence is not glamorous in real life. It’s horrifying. The best artists in the world won’t be able to convey that as good as the human imagination. 

Serrano: I’m curious as to the books, movies, experiences, games, etc. that inspired you in the process of scripting Yasmeen. Was there anything you looked that you definitely wanted to be present in the story? Any other things you were consciously aware of that you didn’t want in the story?

Yasmeen #2
Yasmeen #2, by Saif Ahmed and Fabiana Mascolo

Ahmed: I based the story off my life in Iraq/US and the horrible real-life events that the people in Mosul lived through. But as a writer I learned a lot of storytelling techniques like the use of subtext and themes from great TV shows like Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Mad Men. As for the second part of your question, I definitely didn’t want my story to be told through the eyes of the usual western outsider protagonist. A lot of them like to turn Arab characters into clichés. I aimed to demonstrate that, even though we might have different traditions, most of us wish to live peacefully just like any other person in the world. 

Serrano: While the book deals with trauma head-on and without restraint, to its success, there’s something interesting in how the story alternates between past (Mosul, Iraq) and present (America). Why was it important to show Yasmeen’s experience and interactions in America via these time jumps? 

Ahmed: That’s how Yasmeen is living. She’s in two places at the same time. Her body is in the US but her mind is still living in the past. Telling the story within two time periods progressing alongside each other combined with Fabiana’s amazing art put the reader right in Yasmeen‘s mind without the need of thought bubbles or unnecessary exposition.

Serrano: What’s coming up after Yasmeen? You looking to expand on the story or are you moving on to different projects? 

Ahmed: It took me more than two years to make Yasmeen. I had the idea for it four years ago. These six issues will come to a satisfying end for Yasmeen‘s arc. And while I have few ideas to take the characters into a new arc, I will probably let it marinate for now and move on to one of the many other ideas that I have. I actually just shared my “vault of ideas” with Fabiana the other day in the hopes that we can work together again.

Comics Deserve Better Episode 2: The Old Guard by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernandez, Daniela Miwa, Jodi Wynne

In the second episode of Comics Deserve Better, Brian, Darci, and Logan react to the 2020 Eisners and discuss the 2017 Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez comic, The Old Guard. Or what Logan likes to call “Blackwater, but queer”.

Other books talked about on the show include the webcomics Fangs by Sarah Andersen, Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell, and Clover and Nugget by Phil Sheldon as well as Scout ComicsYasmeen #1 and Tales from the Pandemic by Mario Candelaria and a bunch of awesome artists.

Follow Brian: https://twitter.com/Braijin2814 Follow Darci: https://twitter.com/books_serial Follow Logan: https://twitter.com/MidnighterBae (Episode art by Michael Lark)

Review: Yasmeen #1

Yasmeen #1

In 2014, things were going well for 16 year-old Yasmeen and her family. They bought a new house and were excited for what lay ahead. Then ISIS invaded Mosul leaving Yasmeen and her family to run and escape to their freedom. Yasmeen #1 tells the story of the title character as she experiences the trauma of ISIS and facing her new life in the United States years later.

Written by Saif A. Ahmed, Yasmeen #1 is a fascinating start of to the series. It bounces around between its two eras and peppering us with the horrors the family faces. It also delivers hints there’s far more to come as far as trauma. The comic is one that’s educational putting the reader into the horrors of Mosul’s fall and what it meant to the people there. It doesn’t mince words and also doesn’t spend too much time explaining the factions. Through the dialogue it provides what you need to know in an effortless education of the conflict. It also doesn’t pull punches. There’s horrors and scars by physical and emotional the characters are left with.

Iraq, 2014. Life couldn’t be better for 16 year-old Yasmeen as her family is able to buy a big new house. Then ISIS invades Mosul.  Yasmeen’s Shia family barely escapes, while Yasmeen us captured by terrorists and sees her uncle executed. Yasmeen is sold to an ISIS fighter as a slave and must relinquish her innocence in order to save her three new Yazidi friends who are punished with starvation. Two years later, Yasmeen is reunited with her family in the United States. Her parents are so happy to be reunited with Yasmeen that they fail to see the state of depression that she has fallen into after two years of slavery and torments. Now faced with a new life, Yasmeen must learn to survive in a society that both fears and hates her and must overcome the horrors of the past in an attempt to find herself again.

Fabiana Mascolo provides the art which doesn’t go overboard in the horror. Instead, we witness the act and the aftermath with just enough detail for our mind to fill in the blanks. It’s a very interesting artistic direction that allows us to focus on the trauma and horror of the actions instead of being distracted by the gore. There’s also a peacefulness to Mascalo’s style which belies the death and destruction that’s to come as ISIS gains ground and attacks. There’s a juxtaposition in the beauty of the art and the lack of humanity that invades it.

Yasmeen #1 is a hell of a start. It brings a relatable narrative to an inhumane situation. It dips it toes in as a start to show us the horror that is yet to come and put a human face to those who suffered from it. It’s a perfect example of using comics to capture the real world around us and attempt to have us never forget the worst of our actions.

Story: Saif A. Ahmed Art: Fabiana Mascolo
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Yasmeen

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Backfired #1 (Source Point Press) – The concept of this series sounds interesting. It’s about a writer who needs to perfect the pitch for his comic while balancing his life.

Bad Reception #5 (AfterShock) – The finale of this series that’s been fantastic every issue. Who will survive this slasher series? We can’t wait to find out!

Batman #95 (DC Comics) – The Joker War is ramping up and with Wayne Enterprise siezed by the Joker, it leaves Batman and Bruce Wayne in a difficult spot.

Billionaire Island #3 (AHOY Comics) – It’s an attempt to escape the island in this perfectly timed satire.
Canopus #4 (Scout Comics) – All of the mysteries are revealed in this final issue of the series. Expect this one to be on quite a few “best of” lists for the year.

Hellions #2 (Marvel) – A Suicide Squad like series with troubled Mutants. The first issue was really solid and it’ll be interesting to see how justice is handled in Krakoa with this group.

No Heroine #1 (Source Point Press) – It’s a “hot” comic already going for well over cover on the secondary market. Drugs. Vampires. Punk rock. Clawing her way to her 90th day sober, Kayla sets out to find her missing friend, Sid – the one person she knows can keep her on the straight-and narrow.

Unrig (:01 First Second) – Elections and the political process are pretty broken. Find out whay that’s the case and what can be done in this educational graphic novel.

Vlad Dracul #1 (Scout Comics) – The story of the man behind the myth. It’ll be interesting to see how historically accurate this is and what new things we might learn.

Xira #1 (Red 5 Comics) – A story of a chimpanzee who has been experimented on her whole life and when she has a baby, she does what she can to get herself and child to freedom.

Yasmeen #1 (Scout Comics) – A refugee from ISIS, Yasmeen must learn to survive in a new country and society who fears and hates her while dealing with the horrors of her past.

Coming this June, The Powerful Story of Yasmeen From Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, Robin Jones, Travis Czap, and Scout Comics!

Split between two times in her life, Yasmeen tells the story of an Iraqi girl who survives slavery in the ISIS terrorist regime in Mosul. Yasmeen was a happy 16-year-old until she was captured by ISIS invading forces.  After surviving long two years of slavery, she is freed, but has become a different person. Unable to connect to the things that she loved before, she must go through a different kind of struggle, as she tries to adjust to the normal life with her family as refugees in a foreign country, America.

Out in June, Yasmeen is created and written by Saif A. Ahmed , art by Fabiana Mascolo, lettering by Robin Jones, script editor Travis Czap, and published by Scout Comics.

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