By Bo Stewart — Last month Mark Millar gave us this gem of a tweet, I’m calling it now: the actor who gets the part of Edison Crane in Prodigy will be the biggest star of the next decade. A combo of Sherlock, Bruce Wayne, Indy & Bond, this is THE BIG ONE. A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME role. Now, Millar is probably the biggest self-promoter in comics…but holy s#*%. Pretty brash. Biggest star of the next decade is obviously an impossibly high bar, but after reading Prodigy #1, I can kind of understand why Millar is drawing those comparisons.
With these new Netflix books, Millar has been aiming higher than ever before. If the Magic Order, the first of the titles, is supposed to be the new Harry Potter, Prodigy aims to be the new James Bond. Main protagonist, Edison Crane, takes Sherlock's mind, Bond's street savvy, Indy's sense of adventure and combines them into a single character. This is a book that takes the photographic memory trope and pushes it to an extreme I haven’t seen before. Edison is outrageously good at everything. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, an Olympic athlete, an accomplished diplomat, a successful business owner, a…you get the picture. And this first issue deftly shows several occasions where he uses his skills. It’s overkill, sure, but that’s kind of the point.
Edison is a guy who can do literally anything…so why does he feel empty? That’s the conflict at the heart of this title. Edison has nothing to prove to anyone, so why does he continually feel the need to prove things to himself? These will be the central questions of the series and really the main focus of the book. Will Edison go on globetrotting adventures? Yes. Will he liaison with the government about possible alien invasions? Of course. But that’s not really what this book is about. Millar is disguising an exploration of the emptiness of the human condition as a high-flying action comic. Frankly, I’m into it.
This first issue is mostly a scene setter. We know what Edison is capable of accomplishing, and we know what keeps him up at night. What we don’t know is the specific direction this series is going to go next. The premise offers an unlimited amount of storytelling opportunities, and while this could cause a lack of focus in many stories, for Prodigy it’s a strength. With a flawed character at its center, Prodigy can take the reader anywhere in the world and keep us invested in Edison’s journey as a person. This is the same reason we come back to characters like Bond and Sherlock over and over again.
The other major draw of these new Millar books is the unparalleled art. Olivier Coipel set the tone with the ridiculously gorgeous Magic Order, and Rafael Albuquerque ensures Prodigy maintains that high quality. This is blockbuster comic making, pure and simple.
Overall: Prodigy is another wildly ambitious book from Mark Millar. While all the action and intrigue are well executed, the book’s main draw of is the emptiness of main character Edison Crane. I can’t wait to see where this goes. 9.0/10
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Peter Doherty
Publisher: Image Comics
Bo grinds for the man by day so he can create comics by night. He is the lesser half of the Stewart Brothers writing team and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @stewart_bros