Review: Genius #1

It has been a long time since I last read Genius. So long in fact that I was fairly certain that the series would never come out. For those of you that are new to the series, Genius was one of the winner’s from Top Cow’s Pilot Season. They no longer do Pilot Season or at least haven’t in a few years because they were having the difficult time of getting the books published. In fact Genius won in 2008 and it may have even tied with another series if I remember correctly. Here we are six years later and the series is finally being printed. The problem? I don’t remember a damn thing that happened in that Pilot Season issue and yet the story picks up after the events in that issue. Now that doesn’t mean it 100% begins without you and there is even a recap, but even with all that I still felt like I was coming in on a story that began without me.

To set the stage for you the story is about Destiny, a girl who was raised in the hood of L.A. and is a master strategist. Her ability is so rare that it only comes around every thousand years or so. She’s waged a war on the L.A. Police Department after successfully organizing all the different gangs in L.A.

Our story picks up right after the first battle has been fought and the first declaration of war has been sent. We also meet a pencil pusher from the police department that wants to prove his theory about “Subject Zero” who is the exact person that Destiny is, i.e. a master strategist.

The story is okay. The overall pacing is really tight and has a nice flow. What didn’t work for me was using the officer’s notes on “Subject Zero” to describe Destiny. The officer doesn’t know he has the gender wrong and so everything that’s show has the hint of being right and wrong which works, but it goes on for far too long. This officer is a master profiler apparently, which tells me he wouldn’t be working for the LAPD. His theory is to spot on even if the gender is wrong.

Genius01_CoverAdditionally I didn’t find the overall dialogue to be that strong. It’s not unreadable, but none of the characters have a voice that’s distinct to them. At times Destiny speaks very gangsta and at other time she speaks very military. I would have believed a mixture of the two, but they’re kept separately which makes her overall character feel inconsistent. The few other characters we deal with on a regular base also come across inconsistent as well.

The art is good and actually very consistent. It doesn’t drive the story, but it is a nice complement to it. There is a lot of variety of character designs which is impressive and the different versions of Destiny growing up were all very convincing. The coloring was solid, but when it would flash back and forth from past and present there would be this contrast between night and day that just didn’t quite work. It would end up leaving the night panels almost too dark to make out details. It’s minor, but noticeable.

Overall it was entertaining. I think it would have been nice to re-release the Pilot Season issue as a zero issue leading into this issue, but hey it’s too late for that now. I’m curious to see where it goes from here, but I don’t know if I need to know where it goes from here. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m as interested in this series as I was six years ago and it’s honestly because the market has changed, the storytelling has changed and as a reader my personal tastes have changed. But maybe I’ll give the second issue a shot. Maybe.

Score: 3/5

Writers: Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman Artist: Afua Richardson Publisher: Minotaur/Top Cow Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/6/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital