By G-Man Comments
With the next installment of Top Cow's Pilot Season, we get a character that is pretty much as far from being a superhero as possible. At first it may seem heavy on the stereotypes and not really offering something we haven't already seen in numerous movies, the story starts going in a new and interesting direction.
Pilot Season: Genius #1
(W) Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman
(A) Afua Richardson
(Cov) Afua Richardson
Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Patton. What if the greatest military mind of our generation was born in strife, surrounded by violence and combat since birth? When the gauntlet is dropped, the question isn’t “How did 17-year-old Destiny Ajaye unite the gangs of South Central into a killer army and declare war on the LAPD?” No, the question is, “Can anyone stop her?”
From the minds of writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman (The Highwaymen, Monster Attack Network) and innovative illustrator Afua Richardson (Half Dead), Genius is a book that will have readers talking for months to come.
Here's my review:
And now for something different...
I will admit when I first started reading Genius I didn't think I was going to care a bit for it. I haven't grown up on the streets of LA and don't have a lot of experience with "gangbangers." Yes you can find some in the areas close to were I live or have worked. But in all honestly, they're "wannabes." So with that, obviously I'm not going to relate to the characters in this book right off the bat. Look at the first page. A cop getting shot. I'm sure there are some people out there that would actually cheer for that. That just seems completely wrong. It was because of this that I felt I wasn't going to like this. I don't really want to see a dude trying to do his job and getting killed for some stupid reason. I also don't think we need any more stuff like this to give people...inspiration? I don't want the gang life to made to look like it's a glamorous lifestyle.
Genius is about seventeen-year-old Destiny Ajaye. She has somehow joined the gangs to wage war on the LAPD. It starts out as an "us against them" story but there is a slight twist. We don't have the complete story. We've come in at the middle. We don't see or know how Destiny has united the gangs. We don't really know why either. There is a reason. It's this lack of reason that will spark your interest. Your curiousity gets tweaked. If this issue doesn't "win" the Pilot Season, we may never know the whole story.
The writing feels "real." Be warned that the language has not been turned down. There are lots of F-bombs throughout. It just wouldn't work without them. I have to say that what starts out feeling like a typical gang-story begins to take a turn into something more elaborate. How many comics out there deal with those living in neighborhoods overrun with gangs? This comic is definitely something different.
The art by Afua Richardson is refreshing also. It has the right blend of being detailed but not overly superhero-type detail.
I'll be interested to see how far this comic will go in the Pilot Season competition.