Top Cow‘s second season of Pilot Season has been going, letting the readers take a crack at one-shots and voting online for their favorites to continue in series form. Personally I liked The Core but I’m a sci-fi nerd who likes space and aliens and shit. Anyway, one of this year’s contestants is Genius, written by Marc Bernardin.
Genius focuses on a tactical prodigy Destiny Ajaye, gifted from a young age with always knowing how to see things so that she’s two steps ahead, always planning. Destiny is uniting the gangs of Los Angeles into a single army, to fight the LAPD in a bloody, no-holds-barred real war on the streets of her neighborhood. She’s described as a leader in the vein of Napoleon, Alexander The Great, and Patton (yes, the “Rommel, you magnificent bastard!” Patton), with a wider-arching plan than she’s letting on initially. You can actually read the whole thing online for free if you don’t feel like tracking it down in shops, thanks to Newsarama.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty fucking violent. Like, “this is in no way a book for anyone under the age of 16” violent. Like “blood everywhere and maybe some nudity too” violent. Like “this takes place in LA, not on some other planet” violent. The other entrants in Pilot Season have been all over the board, from the really lame Lady Pendragon to the really fun Urban Myths, but this is arguably the one that seems to be drawing a lot of attention online.
Some folks on certain “pirate” comic book websites/communities have a few problems with it. Particularly the themes and concepts, particularly the “realism” of the main character and her plan, not to mention the fact that they’re declaring war on the LAPD and shooting and killing police officers.
Honestly I don’t care. Anyone who knows me knows for the most part I don’t like cops, though that’s tempered with the acknowledgment that there are good police officers there…I just really haven’t met them yet. So I don’t really have any sort of hero worship inbred in me…even weirder for a New Yorker post-September 11th 2001. AND I have an ex-cop in the family.
Somehow the Punisher’s black-and-white psychotic take on his crusade is rendered OK, or Wolverine recently eviscerating Colossus in Ultimate X-Men is fine, because of the history of the character and the fact that it’s told from his side of the story, or because the heart and organs that spill out from Colossus’s chest cavity are bloodless and organic metal?
No matter how much we’re meant to sympathize with Frank Castle he still takes absolutist views on crime that are met with deadly force, and no matter how much we want to repackage him for TV Wolverine’s still a brutal character with lethal powers.
I don’t care for Genius because I just don’t like the writing that much and I think the art’s not that fantastic. Like I said, I think the action-oriented science fiction of The Core is the best so far that I’ve read out of this year’s Pilot Season, followed by Urban Myths. Alibi‘s ok, Lady Pendragon is just really lame and reads like a shitty fictionpress.com story, Twilight Guardian‘s not really that good, and this is just “meh” as well.
Personally, my cracked-the-fuck-out sense of humor just has me chuckling at all the insanity and twisted panties people on the internet are having over a comic book’s violence (and oh, it’s very violent). Is it subconsicous racism (by the way, our protagonist in Genius is black)? Is it a natural uncomfortable-ness with violence portrayed in any sort of real-world setting? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. Because A) I’m kind of crazy, and B) I don’t think anyone who reads comics or plays video games or reads literature with ANY moderately adult violent content is in any position to speak. Yeah, this isn’t a comic for everyone, most certainly not young kids.
But that’s the case for a lot of comics (almost anything by Mark Millar comes to mind). If you’ve ever read Watchmen and sympathized with any of the characters in that (and let’s face it, someone like Rorschach is totally fucked up), then how is that any different from being a fan of Genius?
It’s comics people…I used to read The Savage Sword of Conan ferchristsakes. To quote a favorite band of mine…you gotta lighten up.