cover image Genius, Vol. 1

Genius, Vol. 1

Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson. Image, $14.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63215-223-7

In this long-gestating story (begun in 2008), teen Destiny Ajaye grew up on the streets of South Central Los Angeles, hardened at an early age by bloody gang warfare. But Destiny possesses an advantage that sets her apart from the other heavily armed youths of her community, specifically a razor-sharp military genius and the will to unite disparate gang factions into an organized, disciplined force that wages devastating war on the corrupt local police. As Destiny’s soldiers fatally devastate waves of cops and highly skilled SWAT teams, the authorities struggle to discover just who is leading these street troops and what the eventual goal might be. Taking what could have been just another “in the hood” narrative and turning the genre on its head with the introduction of a unique protagonist, Bernadin and Freeman (Highwayman) craft a taut, visceral thriller that’s driven home by newcomer Richardson’s realistic yet stylized artwork. This volume serves as something of an origin story for Destiny, and it’s superb from start to finish. (June)