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Comic Book / Djinn

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Cover of the second volume "The 30 Bells" note 

Djinn is a Franco-Belgian adult-adventure thriller comic written by Jean Dufaux and drawn by Ana Mirallès.

The story follows Kim Nelson, a young British woman in search of information of her grandmother's shadowy past. She discovers that she is descended from a harem girl from the Ottoman Empire known as Jade, who used to be the Sultan's favorite during the empire's twilight years and was said to be the incarnation of a djinn. Kim's quest takes her globetrotting to other countries as she searches for what ultimately became of Jade and meets an unusual cast of allies and enemies. Eventually, she discovers that she may have inherited some of her grandmother's djinn traits. The comic ran from 2001 to 2016 and it's split into 13 volumes, the first four taking place in the Ottoman Empire, the following five in Africa and the four final ones in India. These arcs were respectively referred to as the "Ottoman Cycle", the "African Cycle" and the "Indian Cycle".

This comic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: It's specified that Jade's daughter — Kim's mother — was born just before or during World War I. In the last volume a character notes that Kim Nelson's recorded date of birth would mean that her mother would have been about 75 years old when Kim was born. The person noting this brushes it aside as either nonsense or something else was going on there.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Kim is British, but has an olive complexion due to her Turkish/Middle-Eastern ancestry.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The Ottoman Sultan is named Murati instead of Mehmed V, who was the reigning sultan in 1912, the time the comic takes place. He is also deposed by Enver Pasha before World War I even begins, whereas his real-life counterpart died a powerless figurehead less than four months before the Ottoman Empire's capitulation at the Armistice of Mudros. His brother and successor Mehmed VI would be the final imperial ruler.
    • It's a plot point that Great Britain wants to secure peace with the Ottomans and prevent them from siding with the Germans in the future conflict. In real life, the Ottomans wanted to remain neutral during the war and tried an alliance with Great Britain, but the latter was uninterested.
  • Asshole Victim: Kemal is left to be lynched by numerous prostitutes after having abused one of them in revenge for Kim attacking him. Not even his own boss cares about him, stating that he was supposed to "use" the girl, not beat her up.
  • Closet Key: Jade becomes this to Lord Nelson's wife.
  • Darkest Africa: The comic's setting from volumes 5 to 9, where Lord and Lady Nelson died and the trail for Jade goes cold.
  • Disappeared Dad: Nothing whatsoever is shown or mentioned about Kim's father. Kim having her grandfather's surname Nelson suggests her mother didn't marry Kim's father.
  • Driven to Suicide: Youssouf Sarki drives a sword in his guts, seemingly broken between his loyalties to the Sultan and Jade, and the grief of not being able to love Jade.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In her very first scene, Jade is instructed by the Sultan to seduce a British diplomat to serve their own ends. He also orders her to get rid of his previous favorite because he grew tired of her. Not only does Jade oblige, but she also kills the concubine's little daughter too...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Black Sultan is clearly disturbed when Jade murders a little girl whose mother was a concubine he ordered her to execute. He also tells the British diplomats who were scandalized by Lady Nelson joining his harem that he "is no brute" and that she is free to leave whenever she wants.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Lady Nelson falls in love with Jade so madly that she willingly becomes a harem girl in the Ottoman seraglio just to be with her.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The bespectacled Kemal is a violent and misogynistic brute who derives pleasure from abusing women. His master Amin threatens Kim by handing her over to Kemal so that he can do anything he wants with her.
  • Genetic Memory: Kim is the granddaughter of Jade, the Sultan's favorite woman in the harem and who knew where his treasure was kept. Thanks to that blood connection, she is able to recall memories of Jade which makes her a target for those who want the treasure.
  • Historical Domain Character: The Three Pashas of the Young Turks revolution show up to relieve the Sultan of his power. In reality, while the Three Pashas did effectively seize dictatorial control over the Ottoman Empire with the Ottoman Coup D'etat of 1913, they allowed Sultan Mehmed V (the real-life sultan at the time) to keep his throne. Even before this event, the sultan had been little more than a figurehead as a result of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • Kim is threatened to be handed over to Kemal so he can do whatever he wants with her. Amin later threatens another woman with the same fate if she doesn't cooperate.
    • Defied when Lady Nelson enters the Sultan's harem. He assures the outraged British diplomat that she joined of her own free will and she is allowed to leave whenever she wants. Played straight when Jade forces her to "service" a German official.
    • Lord Nelson responds to his wife serving in the harem by kidnapping Jade from the Sultan's palace. Defied more significantly as the time spent with Nelson leads Jade to plan to leave the Sultan and remain with the couple.
  • Karmic Death: Presumably happens to Kemal when Madame Fazila demands that he pays back for abusing one of her girls to vent his frustration, followed by all the other prostitutes lynching him using sticks like the one he used on the girl. Kim lampshades it in her inner thoughts about how karmic this situation is, and she doesn't know whether or not he survived, though it doesn't matter because nobody even cares.
  • Loss of Identity: It happens to Amin when he is bitten by a magical snake when he finds the Sultan's treasure room, losing his memory, his past and all the ambitions he held.
  • Love Martyr: Despite Jade manipulating and using both Lord and Lady Nelson over the years, the Nelsons both remain obsessively in love with her. This would cost them their lives, with both killed in Africa, though Jade would avenge their deaths.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: To be expected from a European comic, it's very equal opportunity when it comes to male and female nudity.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Kim's mother, Wanda — Jade's daughter — whose recent death started Kim on her journey, is only glimpsed as a baby, and once as The Faceless in one of Kim's reminiscences, with only a few details of her life described through the series.
    • Jade herself was this with her daughter, leaving all of her upbringing to a nanny and governess in England while Jade and the Nelsons traveled until the Nelsons both died and Jade disappeared.
  • Miss Kitty: Madame Fazila, who assists Kim in her journey, runs a brothel at an old bathhouse.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jade and Kim. Not only do both spend lots of time nude in the comic, but most covers feature them in this way. While Jade is a harem girl and was actually groomed to seduce and please, Kim gets repeatedly forced into it as a requirement to learn of Jade's history. Kim later does it and practices seduction of her own volition to experience Jade's mindset.
  • Our Genies Are Different: Rather than wish-granting spirits, they are something like Middle-Eastern Succubi and Incubi that can enthrall people with their beauty, but are completely devoid of feeling and compassion themselves.
  • Polygamy: Besides the Ottoman harem, this is what happens to Jade when she lives together with Lord Nelson (Kim's grandfather) and his wife.
  • Royal Harem: The Sultan had one, but the harem itself doesn't play much of a role except to show Jade's status as The Vamp because she's the best of the harem.
  • Sequel Nonentity: Ibram Malek is Kim's guide, protector, and then lover all through the Ottoman Cycle arc. Though both declare they love each other, Kim permanently departs from Malek after concluding her search in that cycle, as legend claims her djinn heritage makes her deadly to be in love with and curses her to be forever alone. Malek doesn’t appear and goes unmentioned all through the following cycles.
  • Sex–Face Turn: Jade has sex with Nelson and for the first time experiences pleasure. She is troubled by the experience, which marks a shift in her behaviour and she decides to help the Nelsons escape, contrasting her earlier, much more ruthless attitude.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jade finds Nelson to be the rare man she's experienced who's a giver of pleasure instead of only a taker. That, and his bravery, impresses her.
  • Slave Liberation: In Volume 4, the Sultan disbands his entire harem after Jade's disappearance and before his inevitable overthrow by Enver Pasha.
  • The Stoic: The Sultan. Once it's apparent that his overthrow is imminent, he merely settles his affairs (including disbanding the whole harem and giving Youssouf Sarki one last order: to terminate Jade) and goes to the palace mosque to pray and await for Enver Pasha and his troops. Once they arrive, he tells them, without turning, to put their guns away, as they will not be of use to them in the mosque. This is followed by him calmly giving a few words of advice to Enver Pasha, after which he walks off to an unknown fate.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Kim and Jade look eerily similar; the key difference is that the former has straight hair while the latter has curly hair.
  • Treasure Room: The Sultan's treasure is locked safely in one, which is nearly lost to history.
  • Three-Way Sex: The Nelsons and Jade, who seemingly lived a quite happy life together after their first threesome and after Jade left the Sultan.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: After being knocked out by Amin's henchman Kemal, Kim wakes up in a blue dress with a Impossibly-Low Neckline. While relatively modest, she is annoyed that Amin saw her naked and dressed her while she was unconscious.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Murati orders Jade to get rid of his former favorite concubine Djoua, since "her embrace doesn't hold anymore mysteries" to him. However, he is disturbed when Jade also orders Djoua's daughter Chaali killed too.
    • Karmically done to Kemal when Amin hands him over to Fazila's girls to be punished for beating up one of their friends.