Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Artwork: Rafael Albuquerque
Colours: Marcelo Maiolo
Lettering: Peter Doherty
Release Date: 5th December 2018
On sale next Week, PRODIGY is the latest offering from Mark Millar’s “Millarworld”, and introduces us to Edison Crane, a man who – for reasons thus far unexplained – seems to be amazing at absolutely everything.
While it’s certainly a solid enough premise to build a new series around, the problem with this first issue is that it doesn’t actually build anything. Like, at all. The first 17 pages (count ‘em) are filled with a seemingly unconnected series of scenes featuring Edison being great at stuff, with a clunky and rushed attempt at adding some sort of vaguely defined intergalactic (or possibly multiversal?) invasion threat right at the end.
It also really doesn’t help things when the leading man himself comes across as an arrogant, detestable human being with absolutely no redeeming features. He feels a little bit like Damian Wayne, albeit without the baked-in charm and dry sense of humour, and the aloof smugness as he effortlessly excels at everything makes you wonder why Millar expects us to care about him at all. It’s possible there’s some sort of redemption arc brewing, but honestly after this first issue it’s safe to say that I have absolutely zero investment in either Edison Crane or his story as a whole.
The one thing that PRODIGY does have going for it is the typically stellar artwork of Rafael Albuquerque, whose sweeping pencils and dynamic layouts give Edison’s “montage of awesomeness” a heck of a lot more appeal than it probably deserves. While none of it hangs together in anything remotely resembling an actual narrative, Albuquerque admittedly does get to draw some pretty cool stuff here, and the muted, orange-hued colours of Marcelo Maiolo help to give the book a distinctive and striking aesthetic.
Unfortunately, as great as it undoubtedly looks there’s pretty much zero reason to care about anything that’s happening, and almost no reason that I can see for a reader to want to go out and pick up issue two. The leading character seems like a total dick, and the supporting cast (such as it is) all seem to be cardboard cut-outs designed to facilitate or emphasise Edison’s greatness.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a supremely talented, intelligent and physically skilled leading man isn’t the worst idea in the world (*cough*Batman*cough*), but there really needs to be an actual story built around them, rather than a self-indulgent montage and a “the world is in danger, can you help us?” attempt at a cliffhanger.
A major missed opportunity then, and while this first issue is potentially worth considering for Albaquerque’s artwork alone, the lack of story, characterisation or any semblance of emotional investment make it a really tough sell.