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God of Comics – Genius Cartel #5

God of Comics – Genius Cartel #5

Genius Cartel #5 (Image Comics)

All that build and that’s where you end it? The hell, guys? How long do I gotta wait for the next part? Why would you do this?

Genius was a mini-series that came out years ago and was built around the idea that once a generation someone is born with an incredible and intuitive strategic mind – a gift for warfare on every possible scale. The mind in question here is Destiny, a young African-American girl born in the ghettos of LA, where she gets to watch her people be killed for no real reason and the murderers of those people walk free all over America. Given the brutality of her reality and her gifts, she decides to do something about it.

The first mini-series had her unite the gangs in LA under her banner while playing just enough skirmishes among her forces to keep the police from noticing anything until she was ready – and when she was, she kicked the police out of her ghettos and started building something better. Because this is America, though, people didn’t want to admit she might have a point. The National Guard were called in to create another Greenwood, another West Philadelphia.

Destiny was ready for them.

She made them look like idiots before sneaking behind enemy lines and turning herself in. Her thinking was simple – this was what she could do without training, with only the poorest scraps of education left to her after the private sector gutted all public school funding. She wanted an education, and she knew the cost of getting it: making enough of a scene to get noticed, turning herself in so America could fake her death and shuffle her to a black site for training.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Genius: Cartel had our young African-American girl on a black site learning about military history. She made exactly one friend because she knew who her real enemies were: the same people that were training her. When those people killed her friend and turned her loose on a Mexican drug cartel, presumably for not paying their rent to the American Drug War that makes them possible, Destiny decided to put a new plan into motion.

She co-opted her black-ops team and ditched them, rescued a bunch of girls from Mexico, America, and Canada that were being drugged into the sex trade, and decided it was time to get some forces of her own. Her American black site handlers were furious because America is not in the habit of saving the victims of the wars they start, America is in the business of making as much money as it can for the one percent of the one percent and leaving the rest of us to burn.

So.

Here we are.

The black ops site had their own Destiny expert meant to help them control and guide her mind and talent, but she was never as smart as she thought she was. Destiny, even in absentia, played her like a fiddle – she brought in the actual Destiny expert, the LA detective turned retiree with a talent for pattern recognition, but by the time she had it was already too late: Destiny is making her move against the cartels, massacring them all by herself so that she can dominate what’s left and turn them into her own personal army.

And that’s what she’s done.

Destiny’s hands are not clean: she killed dogs, children, families – exactly like she was trained to do. She’s a monster who has set her sights on the biggest and most dangerous monster in the world. She is tragic and heroic in equal measure, her world cast in shades of gray that mirror the political realities in our world. Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman have woven a story that feels less like wish-fulfillment than a blueprint for change, and Rosi Kampe and Brad Simpson have brought that blueprint to life.

This comic is a screed, a tract, a last gasping effort; it feels like a warning. Did anyone think that she was ever going to play by anyone’s rules but her own? Especially when the rule makers have shown that they have no respect for the rules at all?

I need the next part of this series, guys, the same way I need oxygen. I know it’s coming.

My question is one that the elite monsters that run Destiny’s world have to be asking: when?



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