Writer Saif Ahmed and artist Fabiana Mascolo return with another chapter of one of the most emotionally effective comics of the year with “Yasmeen” #4. While this issue utilizes more familiar (even a bit cheesy) cliches seen in many a high school movie, the weight of this story’s core still carries through every page and allows for some more brilliant writing within Yasmeen’s family. Guided by Mascolo’s stunning visuals and direction, this issue is yet another great chapter in one of the most important comics in recent memory.
“Yasmeen is starting to lose hope after her last attempt to escape has failed. While two years later in America, Yasmeen goes on a mission with her mother in a race against time to stop a nude photo of her friend from spreading online.”
Writing & Plot
Saif Ahmed’s script for “Yasmeen” #4 is probably the least remarkable in the series thus far, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first half of this mini-series has been largely about what had happened to Yasmeen in captivity, which created the devastating but important situations that have made this comic so jarring. What truly makes this comic special however is how empathetic and human it is while covering traumas and real-world socio-political situations that few have the talent and subtlety to cover appropriately. Ahmed takes the disheartening decision Yasmeen made in the last issue and moves forward with her attempts to “fit in” as an American high schooler. This leads to what is the weakest part of this comic so far, and that’s just the cliched plot that is used to develop Yasmeen’s character more. It isn’t necessarily bad, but the characterization is something that has been done so many times it’s sort of unexciting. This being said, what happens to Yasmeen’s friend is a very real problem that rarely gets addressed in a sincere manner. What Saif does with this arc from Yasmeen and her mother’s perspective is truly special and difficult not to enjoy. The dialogue and human moments feel real as always, and watching Yasmeen’s family try to find their way in this new land is enlightening and heartbreaking.
The visual work of Fabiana Mascolo combines expression-filled animations, airy colors, and focused direction to give “Yasmeen” #4 its flow. Mascolo puts considerable effort in creaitng the exact postures and complexities of expression to make the whole cast look like real people. Her use of colors bounces all over the place in terms of what tone she is conveying, but every panel looks as though it is filled with a light – some bright, some sinister. There’s an almost watercolor effect throughout this series that is almost unmistakable stylistically. Mascolo’s panel and page directions have an almost unnoticeable style that guides the reader along the story with a definite focus on character. “Yasmeen” continually stays a gorgeous comic in terms of art with nuanced and intelligent direction.
“Yasmeen” #4 is the most uneventful and safest chapter of this outstanding comic series thus far, and that is in no way a bad thing. While the high school characterization is forgettable and not exactly new, it’s presented with a weight and heart that is poignant and enjoyable. Saif Ahmed’s storytelling still feels like the accounts of real people rebuilding their lives after experiencing unknowable trauma but are still bolstered by hope. Fabiana Mascolo’s artistic touch is pristine and comes with a very natural sense of visual direction. This is still undoubtedly one of the best comics coming out this year, and as such it’s worth your time to go to your local comic shop and pick it up on 11/25!