Saturday, August 5, 2017

Genius TPB Review

Genius Trade Paperback from Image Comics -

     Alexander The Great. Hannibal of Carthage. Napoleon Bonaparte. Genghis Khan. George S. Patton - the greatest military geniuses of their times. What if the greatest military genius of our time was born into a life of poverty, crime, discrimination and overt and covert oppression? What if that mind was honed in the flawed social services system, and through a hard-knock life on the mean streets of one of our country's most violent cities? Meet Destiny Ajaye, a 17-year-old super-genius. Her loving mother was wrongly slain by the LAPD in a botched drug bust when she a young girl, so Destiny was raised in the system and on the streets. She watched, she saw the corruption of both worlds and she learned to manipulate it to her advantage. She's dreamt it, plotted it, and now she'll realize it: the most shocking rebellion to take place on American soil since the Civil War. The minority gangs - the Chinese, the Latinos, the Blacks - she has united them, trained them, and set before them a common goal: freedom and safety to live their lives as they see fit. But they'll have to fight. And some will die. Welcome to all-out war; NO freedom, NO peace.

    Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman pen this explosive tale of corruption, injustice, and revolution. The winner of Top Cow's 2008, Pilot Season, and printed years before the Ferguson riots, Genius follows the life of complex protagonist, Destiny Ajaye, a brilliant teenage tactician, who has decided to unite the most oppressed elements of society against a common, corrupt foe: the state. From the death of her mother to the deaths of innocent minority children, to the extortion of drug-dealers - all done by those hired to protect and serve the community. Destiny has watched and experienced these injustices first-hand, and she has decided that the time has come to stand up for the rights of those like her to enjoy the same freedoms that all Americans do. It's time to make a statement. What's most brilliant about Genius is that Bernardin and Freeman do an amazing job of weaving complexity and contradictions into their story. Is it a heroic rebellion, or a revenge story? Are the cops trying to keep order, or keep disenfranchised people underfoot? What's the difference between Destiny and her troops, and George Washington and his? Place, time, power and race? Is Destiny really a hero if one of the motivating factors for her armed rebellion is her need for an outlet, a proving-ground for her tactical brilliance? What about the blood on her own hands? From time to time, I found myself conflicted, asking myself hard questions, and feeling more than a tinge of fear. This is an American horror story - there was a time in which our Founding Fathers found their situation untenable and so chose the route of armed rebellion. We proudly speak of our rights as Americans to do the same, if our government put us in the same position of oppression. What would happen if all the marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed people in our nation did the same? I feel the icy fingers of fear creep down my spine, and any story that can do that to me, that can make me ask so many questions, and tap into a fear I didn't even know I had, deserves to be called MAGNIFICENT. Genius also describes Afua Richardson's gritty, urban artwork - from faces that gush with emotion, to the sensual female form, to gory battle scenes - Richardson's art truly makes Genius pop. Love it, or hate it, agree with it, or disagree with it, Genius will make you ponder some things about our society, and it definitely will make you feel some type of way. And that, to me, qualifies it as high art. 

RATING: 10 out of 10. This book is a sleeper-hit in the making. I'd be surprised if Genius didn't eventually make it to the big or small screen. 

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