Written by Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin
Art by Afua Richardson
Published by Image Comics
I like this comic book less and less the more that I read it. With each issue, Genius scales back in quality and realism. Part of that is due to the current political backdrop in the United States,and how the comic tries to comment on a current events, but fails. More importantly, this critic is just having trouble believing in the story since the motivations within feel thin.
Reginald Grey is piecing together who exactly Destiny Ajaye is and why she is declaring war on the city. The governor, unable to tap the National Guard to deal with Destiny, orders the police to hold off and avoid any direct confrontation for the time being. Meanwhile, Destiny’s men hang back, while the journalist we saw before goes to Destiny in search of answers. Events show that this truce is going to be a fragile one.
Are there any real characters in this comic? Arguably, Destiny is one, and so is Reginald, but even Reginald, riddled as he is with insecurity, is a device for the narrator to be voice opinions, concerns and facts. Sadly, everybody else is two-dimensional, from the tough-and-overconfident macho cops to the stereotypical street thugs. We’ve seen all of these people, in dozens of shows, movies, and books, and the series has yet to offer a truly inspiring and original character.
Destiny’s speech is the definition of underwhelming, riddled with clichés about more people needing to die for a cause and making the world “their world.” Is anyone realistically expected to buy into these monologues? Would anybody without their own army backing them up be willing to duel with the National Guard? If there is one missed opportunity in this series, it is some from of discussion surrounding the militarization of the police force. A smarter book would see Destiny luring them into a position of applying overwhelming strength against the neighborhood in order to show the moral bankruptcy of their position. In this position, the cops would do better by applying less or no force at all; a lesson that could apply in the real world.
A comic like Genius isn’t doing much to elevate the discussion around what’s going on in the world, specifically in Ferguson, Missouri. The situations here are totally different, and if anything, this comic propagates a sort of hysterical view of minorities. Here, America’s marginalized minorities are waiting to settle the score on the field of battle, when in real life the vast majority of people are demonstrating peacefully in search of answers and some accountability.