Genius is a meditative piece. The central focus of this “day in the life” graphic does not lead to an ultimate resolve, but instead allows the reader to walk away from this compelling work with the tools to place what’s happening in the readers life, at present, in perspective. Or at least that’s what it did for me. Writer Steven Seagle (Ben 10, The Amazing Spiderman) has put together quite a melancholy and dream-like scenario with Genius due in no small part to Teddy Kristiansen‘s use of bleak water colors, lightly speckled with brilliant hues to emphasis moments of epiphany on the part of our protagonist.
Ted Marx works hard at his career as a quantum physicist. But lately the demands of his job have begun to overwhelm him. Then Ted makes a startling discovery: his wife’s father once knew Einstein and claims that Einstein entrusted to him a final, devastating secret—a secret even more profound and shattering than the work that led to the first atom bombs. If Ted can convince his father-in-law to tell him what Einstein had to say, his job will be safe. But does he dare reveal Einstein’s most dangerous secret to those who might exploit it?
Look, we’re all searching for the “awe” (a term I kinda stole from the movie The Fountain), but it works perfectly in this setting. Death is and has always been a great motivator for thought. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s, there’s no denying it’s propensity for speculation especially when it comes to our role in this universe. Steven tries to do that with Ted as he’s faced with all the uncertainties that life has to offer. His need to know his father-in-laws dying secret and how it relates to the old man’s surprise relationship with one of Ted’s idols Albert Einstein, drives him almost to the point of madness. Ted believes strongly that the knowledge contained in his father-in-laws senile mind holds the key to a ground breaking discovery, a discovery that could help him keep his job at a physics lab and help continue providing healthcare benefits for his wife whose just been diagnosed with cancer.
When Ted learns what that secret is, the next few pages are awash in colors, emphasizing Ted’s break through. A brilliant move by Steven and Teddy cause trying to write these moments out would be an exercise in futility. We never find out right away what it is he learns from his father-in-law, but towards the end we find out and as much as I would’ve hoped that it was proof of life other planets or a time machine, it came like a thief in the night. Like Sudattah near the river as he heard a father telling the son about the string on the guitar, I basked in the simplicity of the secrets benevolent and irreverent reveal. I won’t tell you, cause it seriously needs to be read by you, especially if life is handing you lemons.
Genius is a humble project and carries with it an egoless message that transcends space and time. Perhaps that was what they were getting at with all the references to quantum. There’s only one constant in this life and it’s up to every one of us to find out what that is.