REVIEW: 'Genius: Cartel' #2 by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, Rosi Kampe, and Brad Simpson
Destiny Ajaye is in the field for the first time on a mission against the Mexican cartel. 'Genius: Cartel' #2 transitions from psychological warfare at the Madrasa Institute between Destiny and her handlers to covert warfare on the ground in one of the most dangerous missions imaginable. Prepare to catch your breath as Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, and Rosi Kampe ramp up the action and tension.
GENIUS CARTEL #2
Writer: Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman
Artist: Rosi Kampe, Brad Simpson
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics/ Top Cow
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
After the mysterious death of her friend, Destiny feels compelled to play the Institute's game and join their crusade. Having a tactical mastermind in Destiny has proven to be a confrontational mind game to the Institute's leaders, Stanton and Jameson. They think they're playing her but who's really playing who here? It's what's made the 'Genius' series so compelling. Bernardin and Freeman take well-worn action thriller tropes and blow them up with a black teenage prodigy at the center. Destiny is driving the action with her own purpose and motivation, it's clearly at odds with the Institute. It's a great cat-and-mouse game that leads to some surprising twists and turns.
Seeing Destiny in charge of her own platoon in the thick of cartel country is quite the sight to see. Here's a young girl with the military mind above no one else leading a bunch of skeptical men who begin to question her decisions. What she does to manipulate them is pretty impressive. She's a good soldier but not the puppet the Institute was hoping for.
Rosi Kampe and Brad Simpson provide a balance of fluid layouts and rich colors. Kampe's designs and pacing are perfectly concise and easy to follow. Most of all, it's the expressions and body language of Destiny that tell the story. Her frustration, her contemplation, and her fear are all told through her eyes and face. Kampe captures the tone and emotion of each scene that's succinctly in tune with the script.
'Genius: Cartel' doesn't disappoint and continues to unfold in dramatic and exciting ways. Destiny is one of the best protagonists in comics and one worth keeping an eye on. With so many compelling turns in a psychological game of wills, this series is just getting started.