Josh Deeds is a pretty good friend of mine. I'm proud of getting him in to the Hampton Institution and am very happy that he is willing to write for Radical Second Things. Josh is a big comic nerd and I hope this will be one of many like this.
"Genius" is a comic that touches upon a very real problem in America's urban communities today. Violence and economic apartheid is visited upon minority communities in America. Violence disproportionately used against minorities due to internalized and blatant racism in America's police culture. Mike Brown was a recent victim of this culture.
In the beginning we see our main character Destiny as one of the prominent gang leaders girlfriends, she is wise as she takes advantage of this relationship and learns the business of running a gang. She uses her sexuality to take control in order to learn from her boyfriend. When he dies, she takes over and puts the gang into radical territory.
In what would have been a Police department's worst nightmare, she launches the first salvo with a public relations campaign which wins the hearts and minds of America. This a major factor in the comic book, she fights a war on two fronts. While the PR campaign is full-frontal so is the pitched battle between the police and Destiny.
Destiny comes off as unique in this aspect because unlike warring with other gangs for territory, she unites them and directs them towards, which realistically many could consider the enemy. In many instances racial bias has caused harm upon many black males for as little as carrying tea and skittles, to holding his hands up which both ended in death.
I was quite happy to see the situation in Ferguson being addressed in this form of storytelling, whether unintentional or not. That being said, Destiny has developed into a character that you could easily like and understand where she's coming from, with the book illustrating her radicalization.
As the pitched battle progresses things get more serious and it seems Destiny bites off more than she can chew. It would seem all the radical ideas were thrown away in an effort to keep itself grounded in the comic book world of reality, which isn't so real at all.
The excitement I had was interrupted by a secret agency which recruits people with the tactical mindset of legendary generals such as Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar. So I was a little disappointed that the comic had a lot of poential that it threw away in order to remain separate from reality. While not a complete disappointment, I still think any radical should pick it up whether in the single issues where available or in trade when it is released.
"Genius" was released by Top Cow and Image Comics. For a sample of the comic, check out Bleeding Cool.