Maya Zach ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Just about everything you need to know about Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman‘s new series Genius is spelled out for you on the first page. A 17-year-old girl, Destiny, has united every gang in Los Angeles to take down their enemy, the LAPD. Detective Reginald Grey is the only cop who knows what to expect from Destiny, as he has been building a case against “Suspect Zero” for five years. The rest of the view him as a joke, which comes back to haunt them.
Though Destiny doesn’t have superpowers, she happens to be the world’s greatest tactician. Born into a life of crime in South Central, Los Angeles, Destiny was always surrounded by death and gangs. She couldn’t help but use her brilliance to band together all of the neighborhood gangs into one power under her command. Though the bangers were not pleased to be working with one another, Destiny brought them together under one common goal that put their feuds on hold.
The story is narrated by Reginald, the one police officer who believes that Suspect Zero will strike. Though he has a solid, and fairly accurate, profile of the suspect, he has one very important fact wrong: Destiny is a “she.” No one would expect such a prominent gang leader to be a woman and Detective Grey is no different. The fact that Bernardin and Freeman decided to make such a tough and intelligent character a woman is such a positive statement towards what women are capable of and might widen their audience.
Afua Richardson views the idea of paneling as a very, very loose guideline. There is not a single page in the first issue that follows the “rules” of the typical panel style. People, objects, and explosions don’t stay within their panels, panels are crooked and tilted, and they overlay one another. This is very effective for the story; it matches the tone and subject and it makes the series rather unique. Along with the interesting use of panel layout, Richardson has an incredibly expressive use of coloring. It differentiates characters, make important figures stand out, and makes the series pop.
Genius is worth a read just because it is one of the few (if not the only) comic books about gangsters. It’s worth a read because it is a refreshing new takeon gangsters. It is worth a read because of its positive commentary on strong female characters. And it is most definitely worth the read for Afua Richardson’s stellar artwork.
Image Comics will be releasing the five-part series, Genius, weekly starting August 6th. So hit your local comic book store and give it a read!
Emertainment Monthly gives this issue an 8/10.