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Over the past six months and five issues, Writer Saif Ahmed and artist Fabiana Mascolo have been telling one of the most emotionally impactful and socially important comics of the past decade. Now,this tale reaches its end with Yasmeen #6. This final chapter neatly wraps up all of its plot threads in an emotionally cathartic and sentimental manner that, while admittedly a little cheesy, is still an uplifting and satisfying end to this outstanding comic story.
“Past and present clash in the series finale as Yasmeen must find the courage to face her darkest memories during a police investigation into her history. Meanwhile, Wassan forces Khalid to listen as she tells him about what Yasmeen had been through in Iraq, prompting Khalid to reveal a dark part of Yasmeen’s survival story.”
Writing & Plot
Every issue of Yasmeen has been a heavy shot of devastating circumstance coupled with uplifting hope. This final issue gives us that same mix, with the story Yasmeen’s time in captivity coming to a close as well as resolving the recent issues in her current life. This chapter contains a surprising and effective action sequence from the perspective of Iraqi soldiers that (while obviously not the main focus of this book) is written so well it makes me want to see Ahmed take a stab at writing a war story. The focus of this point however is the unimaginable loss Yasmeen witnesses during this moment, and how that influences her perspective in her new life. The other end of this comic is about Yasmeen’s affect on the people who surround her, and every element of reality that this entails. From the encouragement she gives her friends to the thoughtless comments and racism she receives, there’s sharp commentary for every part of the story. The character highlight of this issue is the resolution of Yasmeen’s father’s story. He had been getting to the point where it was hard to sympathize with due to how he had been ignoring his own daughter, but this plot resolves in a believable manner that allows us into his perspective and basically grants him another chance as an audience. This issue is written in the usual form of flashbacks intercutting with the present day, and it’s used as cleanly and effectively as it has in every issue thus far. Like in the past couple of issues, the present-day moments involving Yasmeen and her high school friends can come off as a little corny and a little bit cliched, but there’s an emotional sincerity to the script that makes this elements easy to overlook. This issue also feels a bit breakneck in terms of pacing, as the final pages wrap up different subplots in a montage style. This is a fine way to end those plots, but it does feel like it robs certain stories of their emotional weight. Overall, this is still a satisfying and cathartic end to one of the best comic stories of the past year.
Artist Fabiana Mascolo once again delivers the gorgeous light tones and character focused visual direction this series has always used in Yasmeen #6. Her linework and focus on character’s facial animations gets us into the headspace of the cast with little effort, as all of her interpretations of emotion are visually spot-on. She also gets a chance to work with some explosive action on this issue, and she excels. The panels full of fire and men making tense tactical decisions, as well as the emotional devastation embedded in these scenes, are some of the most memorable moments of the entire series. Mascolo’s colors are yet again an array of light, as if every panel regardless of what time it takes place has this wave of sunlight being flashed upon it. As per usual, Mascolo’s panel direction is a well-crafted mix of character close-ups and intercutting between past and present. Her shots present the most emotional scenes in a manner that captures the emotional journeys of every affected person, and her structure for switching from flashback to present-day is neat and flawless. It has to be said however that the quality of the pencils seems more inconsistent than in prior issues. It isn’t a widespread issue, but there’s a noticable quality dip in a few select spots that I’ve never noticed in prior issues. This being said, Yasmeen #6 is still a stellar book in terms of visual creativity.
Yasmeen #6 is an emotionally satisfying end to this courageous and important comic series. Saif Ahmed’s script dedicates itself to delivering effective ends to every character’s arc. His handling of unimaginable trauma is sincere and respectful while also being optimistic and offering messages of hope. While the story here can be a bit corny and the pace is a bit rocky near the end, this is still a great issue that does this outstanding series justice. The visuals of Fabiana Mascolo, while inconsistent compared to prior issues, is still a gorgeous mixture of character studies and sharp panel direction. Be sure to grab the final chapter of Yasmeen when it hits shelves on 1-20!