If we were to believe the hype of Mark Millar, then we are to believe that his new comic book, Prodigy, debuting this week, is the second coming. But, it’s a far cry from that, or his usual efforts in taking a well worn genre and poking at it to create something different, something new, and something that’s usually accompanied by extreme violence. In fact, I found Prodigy #1 to be rather too pedestrian and far too quick a read for me to sink my teeth into it satisfactorily.
Now, while I have every faith in Millar to still do something special with this series, this first issue ain’t it. As a statement of intent, it’s a far cry from being his next big thing, although there are enough Mark Millar fans out there to keep this book boiling, I imagine. In some ways it’s as generic as the kind of comics he savagely, but reverently, parodies in series such as Starlight, or Kick-Ass. There’s nothing more redundant in establishing a character as a genius than showing him or her beating multiple opponents at chess while multitasking, yet Millar does exactly that in an issue mainly containing such scenes from our prodigy, Edison Crane, who must surely be the dictionary definition of ‘fast learner’.
And, while Rafael Albuquerque’s art is as amazing as you’d expect, with a frantic, frenetic kinaesthetic vibe to it, I felt with his overlarge panels – not all of which are totally necessary – that this seemed like an issue with a lot of padding. Although, I dare say Albuquerque draws what he is given in the script.
But, its not all doom and gloom. There are those moments that bring out Millar’s darker humour, such as an incident involving the young Edison Crane and a playdate, in which his parents, a well as the playdate’s parents (and a dad who just happens to be the next Secretary of State) come across Edison and his new pal playing a very unorthodox game of ‘Doctors and Nurses’. But is it enough for me to come back for a second issue? Unfortunately, Millar – a 21st century P T Barnum when it comes to self-promotion – used to be able to back up on such hyperbole. And, in this instance, I feel he hasn’t.
But, on this occasion, I think I’ve already seen enough to make me happily wait for the trade. Or the Netflix show it’s sure to spawn.
Prodigy #1 is out this Wednesday, the 5th of December from Image Comics.