by Nathan Edmondson, Alison Sampson, and Jason Wordie
Genesis is the kind of story where less is certainly more. In one issue, the creators establish a world, its characters, and its constructions. It touches on abstract concepts and gets imaginations firing and it ends. But it’ll stay with readers long after.
In Genesis, the narrator is a man named Adam and readers are introduced to him as a child. He reflects on life and his purpose, and what happens when a person misunderstands their own ability or impact. Adam attempts to take his own life, and in his failure and recovery he meets a man. Here is where Genesis really takes off. From the point Adam leaves the hospital, Edmondson and Sampson take readers on a journey that is far from conventional. Adam’s suicide attempt was predicated on the realization that individuals are incapable of enacting change. Suddenly, he has such ability and he sets out to change the world. Anything he imagines becomes so and his deeds change the face of the planet.
Unfortunately, not all thoughts are good thoughts, and not all changes are for the better. The creators of the book transition this gift of Adam’s into a perversion almost instantly. Suddenly fear takes over and becomes impossible to resist. As is pointed out in the story, the mind is always ahead of the individual and it is often unable to be controlled. Edmondson tackles desire, dark thoughts, and guilt. He moves from a slightly magical or fantastical premise to one of true abstraction as the lead character struggles to get control of himself and his ability.
The experience of reading through Genesis is quite unique. Readers are just as uninformed about what is possible as Adam. It becomes unclear what is real and not as Adam’s imagination seemingly changes reality. As the story comes to an end, readers are likely to each have their own varying interpretation. Many will find themselves rereading as they go or starting over as it finishes.
Story is only one of the ways that readers will be immersed into the tale of Genesis. Alison Sampson’s art and Jason Wordie’s colors create their own immersion. Edmondson provides a fantastic script of exploration, but its success relies heavily on how it is brought to life through the art team. Sampson’s designs are dizzying. Readers will find themselves pouring over the images repeatedly. Many of the pages feel like art that should be hanging in a gallery. The images tow a line between realistic and imaginative. Sampson never totally steps away from reality. Even as the world distorts around Adam, his body, the buildings, and other elements retain their form so as to not become excessive work for the reader to decipher.
Genesis is gorgeous and smart. It’s full of dreams and nightmares and wishes and fears. It’s the type of experience that only this medium could tackle and further proof that some of the best storytelling exists in comic books. Read it, re-read it, and let it invade your subconscious.
Editor’s Note: Make sure you pre-order this book, due out April 16! For more information, check out ImageComics.com.