Bernardin and Freeman bring you into the world of Genius quite comfortably and with a pretty high body count. They introduce the lead character, Destiny Ajaye, with a mix of flashbacks and narrative from the officer who has been searching for his “Suspect Zero,” effectively giving you a look at where she currently is in her life and the circumstances that led to this. There were two events early on that seemed to really define Destiny’s younger years, and that was one of violence, and later when she met Gerald who taught her the game of chess. Bernardin and Freeman hint at her talents earlier, but they really expand on how Destiny’s mind works from that point on. She’s several steps ahead of everyone, and they make her rise to power an engaging and eye opening experience. Whether she’s using the bravado/ignorance of men to her advantage or establishing herself as the Alpha, they make sure to show off her tactical mind.
There also isn’t a clear cut “good vs. evil” battle going on since both the police and Destiny are operating in various shades of grey here. Destiny is using extreme violence to control and take back her neighborhood from the police that have done nothing but terrorize her and her people her whole life. I’m not going to debate the morality of the story based on this first issue, but this adds another interesting layer to the story which I’m hoping the writers expand on.
Afua Richardson’s visual storytelling heightens the narrative and moves everything along quite nicely. Not only is it what’s inside the panels and her choice of angles, but the actual panel layouts as well. It’s always nice when an artist takes advantage of the full page, because it keeps the eye from getting bored. Though there is one sequence that takes place at the basketball court that doesn’t seem to hold up to how good the rest of the issue looks. However, the most stunning image is the cover which gives you a peek at how dangerous Destiny is. If you’re too focused on her beauty and the “shock” of it all then you’re overlooking that very dangerous gun pointed directly at you. She’s also wearing caution tape, so that should be warning enough. If you focus on the wrong thing you’ll miss what you really need to be looking at.
For many of those in the know the arrival of Genius on comic store shelves has been a long time coming. Ever since winning Top Cow’s Pilot Season back in 2008 there’s been questions regarding when the series is coming out. Well, it’s finally here and that’s pretty much all that matters now. So if you’re one of the people who were impressed by the Pilot Season issue the question you’re asking yourself now is if Genius was worth the wait. Well, to this reader, it most definitely was. Top Cow will also be releasing this series weekly this month so we won’t have to wait long to see what this creative team is bringing in Genius!
Till next time!