The term “prodigy” is an open blue sky when it arrives but in the instances when excellence has an expiration date the word is more like a clinging black cloud. That’s one of the themes in Genius, the new graphic novel from First Second Books and the tandem of writer Steven T. Seagle and artist Teddy Kristiansen, the same duo that delivered the Eisner-winning It’s a Bird back in 2004.
Genius introduces physicist Ted Marx a one-time wunderkind whose career is now more mass than energy, which is confounded by his inability to solve the emotional equations of being a husband and father. Marx finds a possible reprieve when he sees a chance to steal a secret discovery made by Albert Einstein. That opens the story up to the arrival of Einstein as a voice and with that Genius becomes a clear contender for the title of year’s most inventive graphic novel.