Comic Review: GENIUS

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Review: Genius/ Author: Steven T. Seagle / Artist: Teddy Kristiansen / Publisher: First Second / Release Date: August 1st

Genius is a slow-burning, highly intelligent graphic novel that tells the tale of scientist Ted Marx, a hard working theoretical physicist who grows up knowing that he's very smart when it came to pondering the inner mechanisms of the cosmos, but less wise when it comes to emotions and maturity. Ted is married with children, and in addition to the usual worries and problems a middle aged man may have, he is also looking after his wife’s elderly father, who claims that Albert Einstein himself told him a big, world changing secret.

This is not the sort of book in which a genius scientist invents an exciting new machine or visits a strange new world; the only journey here is one of self-discovery and understanding. It’s an exploration into the nature of intelligence, the consequences and perils of hero worship and the importance of maintaining a balance between work and play. Though Genius is rather dry, it’s also very human and very compelling.

Kristiansen’s art is scrappy, abstract and piecemeal. This is not a book that you will pick up for the pictures, as it’s very rough and very ready. However, it also suits the piece perfectly. This is astounding storytelling presented by a brilliant team. It is a cerebral piece that demands the reader pause and consider the ideas presented in it. Grounded firmly in reality and the nature of the human heart, Genius will appeal to those who prefer story over style. If you liked movies like American Beauty and Donnie Darko, and enjoy strong narratives that require the reader to draw their own conclusions and revelations, then this is worth your consideration. If you’re after shocks and explosions however, look elsewhere.

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