Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More 'Genius' Love

From The Quarter Bin. And, let me say, I'm encouraged that people are receiving this book with an open mind.

Genius is a far cry from the futuristic fantasy of Lady Pendragon. The latest Pilot Season book takes place in a modern-day South Central L.A. neighborhood, a place where violence and animosity have long ruled the streets. However, things have changed as of late, with different gangs and rivals coming together and working as one, despite their differences. The reason? Destiny, a short, skinny young woman with the mind of a military genius. Under her tutelage, the residents of the neighborhood have been training for war with their one common enemy: the cops. This war, she believes, is the only way to take back her neighborhood.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of this book the first time through. It took a second read for me to really get into it. It’s not that it’s not a good, well-written story, because it is. Bernardin and Freeman have carefully crafted each line of dialogue and every move in this war for South Central. I just wasn’t sure about Destiny’s message, that the only way for her to makes the streets safe was to kill every police officer who dared come into the area. Sure, the residents are no longer fighting each other, but with the streets still running red with blood, were things really any better?

Of course, that’s the point–like the neighborhood men and women who have been instructed in the ways of military tactics by Destiny, the reader needs to trust her instincts. She’s a girl with a mind like Bobby Fischer and absolutely no formal training. However, she sees how everything is going to play out before it actually happens. That is who she is, and everyone else needs to get on board or get out. By the time I finished reading Genius the second time, I was anxious to find out what was going to happen next.

Richardson’s artwork really stands out as well, largely because of the different perspectives he gives the reader. Different points of view, like through a sniper rifle, from the ground, from a rooftop, make every frame seem unique. Without fantasy elements like magic and dragons, it can be a little harder to make your artwork stand out. Richardson gets the job done, however.

Genius #1 will be on sale tomorrow, June 18, so be sure to check out your local comic shop if you want to see more of Destiny’s war to take back her neighborhood. Man, if the rest of Pilot Season continues like this, it’s going to be really hard to pick favorites!

(I wonder why people think Afua's a he? Needless to say, they wouldn't if they saw her.)

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