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Comic Book: The 99
(Arabic: الـ 99 al 99
), also written as The Ninety-Nine (Arabic: التسعة وتسعون al-tisa'a wa tisaun
), is a comic book published by Teshkeel Comics, featuring a team of superheroes
themed around concepts from Islam and its culture, specifically the ninety-nine aspects of God.
The series is a creation of Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, founder and C.E.O. of Teshkeel Media Group. The creative team for The 99
is composed of comic book industry veterans such as Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore, June Brigman, Dan Panosian, John McCrea, Ron Wagner, Sean Parsons and Monica Kubina – all of whom have worked at both Marvel
and DC Comics
Although the series is based on Islamic concepts, it is promoted as appealing to universal virtues, and the religion of each character is not made explicit.
A free introductory comic is available here: http://www.the99.org/include/contn/X1ZkxhXHSPO.pdf
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Catarina Barbosa, aka Mumita the Destroyer.
- Bad Powers, Good People: John Weller, aka "Darr The Afflicter", who's capable of causing other people pain. At least he can un-afflict as well.
- Banned in China: Due to wanting to reach the maximum number of Muslim countries, it tries desperately to avert this, sending copies over for review (Amusingly, one edit had a female character given a more realistic figure!).
- It was temporarily banned in Saudi Arabia, though, because one editor thought if it mentioned it was based on the 99 attributes of Allah, it would be accepted. Unfortunately, the reviewer thought it was blasphemous and didn't allow it in Saudi Arabia. Luckily, that changed.
- And then it changed again - two months after the last episode of the animated series aired, a fatwa was issue against it.
- Big Eater
- Care Bear Stare: Noora has this as one of her powers.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Mumita the Destroyer.
- Expy: Big Bad Rughal looks, acts, and ages a lot like Vandal Savage.
- Gentle Giant: Nawaf Al-Bilali, aka Jabbar the Powerful. Despite being a massive, nearly-invulnerable powerhouse with super strength, he's one of the kindest members of the team (just like Colossus). Which is a nice change, given that most people look at people from Saudi Arabia as jerks full of themselves.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Averted for religious reasons. Word of
God Author says that the series will not show all 99 powers, as that would count as a depiction of Allah, which is forbidden in Islam.
- The Hero
- Immortality Immorality: Long ago, the Big Bad of the series tried to harness the power of all 99 stones, but only wound up with the never-dying.
- Intercontinuity Cross Over: with the Justice League of America.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Potentially, 98 heroes. Can't ever be 99, not because the Big Bad has one of the gems — but because depicting the 99 Attributes of Allah would amount to a depiction of Allah, and, in Islam, That Would Be Wrong.
- Moral Guardians: There's an animated series of the comic, that was supposed to air on The Hub... until the New York Post stuck their nose in. The show is on "hiatus". (Rough translation: Until someone at the Hub grows a set, don't expect to see the series in the US anytime soon.)
- Fortunately, it shouldn't be that hard to find it in English (or at least with subtitles) when it comes out in 2012. The series also airs every Sunday afternoon in Australia - English-dubbed copies ripped from ABC3 will be floating around the Internet.
- It's also available on Netflix instant.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the animated series, after touching Blair Davis' "Raqib the Watcher" stone, Alex Higgins gained a portion of his powers. When Blair was sent on a mission, Alex worried that he'd have less power, so he blackmailed Toro into teleporting after him in order to warn him about the potential power loss. And this screwed up Blair's efforts to avoid detection and got him killed by Thiab. And thus, Alex ended up taking the Raqib stone. Nice job, kid.
- Only Six Faces: The animated series appears to rely heavily on Poser 4 standard figures. And the animators make very little effort to make the faces different, preferring to use things like clothing and hair to differentiate between characters.
- Power Crystal: The focus of the heroes' abilities.
- Red Right Hand: Played with in the animated series. Zoran, Ramzi's right-hand man, has a fearsome-looking prosthetic hand, and thus when he first shows up, it seems obvious that he's an evil henchman. But he turns out to be a perfectly nice guy.
- Super Power Lottery: Noora, the Light. Can create light, can see the light or goodness in other people (moralistic telepathy?), can make herself and allies invisible, can cast illusions (such as masks), and can do a Care Bear Stare. This in a story where everyone is supposed to have just one power.