Edison Rex #1
Firstly i have to say that this book has a rather amazing name, or rather its protagonist does. Edison Rex is a title that sums up the character quite perfectly: he is one part inventor and one part dark tragedy (or prehistoric destruction, both work) Edison seems a true evil genius. The thing is though, the more time that we spend with him the more that first half of trope seems to fall off; he’s a genius sure, but evil? That is kept nicely ambiguous while it is Edison’s extreme intelligence that sets the story of this book in motion, one that asks and answers a question we all should have pondered by now: If Lex is indeed the smartest man in the world then why is he so often wrong? Superman is not known for his bravery not his book-smarts so why hasn’t Lex ever really been able to best him? But more importantly what would happen if he ever did?
You may wonder why I am talking about characters that clearly aren’t a part of this comic, know though that there is good reason for this. Monkeybrain may have been started so that creators could write and illustrate issues that the big two publishers would never sign off on but that doesn’t mean that these are stories stem from entirely different seeds. Like Irredeemable, Incorruptible and others this comic is a clear Superman analogy, but it is able to break all the rules and barriers that bar writers of the actual big name title from true creative freedom. Writer Roberson certainly doesn’t take too much time to make use of this fact either, this short first issue doing something with Valiant (the alterna-Supes) that DC would certainly never allow, at least not without months of press promoting it beforehand!
This twist, which I won’t spoil here even though the issue synopsis does, seems to set the true story of the book in motion and so it is too early to truly tell just what the long term plan for Edison Rex will be, but at this stage the premise seems a very potent one and the execution of it just left of center enough to compell the indie crowds while still being palette-able to the pulp market. What Roberson has done is very smart, he’s created a gateway comic, something to suck both sides of the audience in to the Monkeybrain label in the hopes that they will sample some other stories while they’re here. If that is all Edison does then it would have been a success, but it stands to reason that the book could well become something quite fun by its own right or a deeper deconstruction of the good and evil inside every man; it simply depends on where the writer wants to take it and nothing else, which is as it should be.