Review: Edison Rex Volume 1
Edison Rex is the smartest man in the world, a criminal genius, and the arch-nemesis of the world’s greatest protector, Valiant. Having dedicated his life to defeating Valiant and proving once and for all that he is a menace to humanity and not a hero, what will Edison do once he finally succeeds? And with Valiant out of the way, who will be left to protect the Earth?
IDW is releasing the first volume of Edison Rex today. The collection includes the six issues already out (#7 just hit today) along with author notes and some great character files. The story is written by Chris Roberson with art from Dennis Culver. Stephen Downer provides colors, John J. Hill tackles lettering and book design, and Allison Baker serves as editor. So is Edison Rex a stroke of genius or should it go back to the drawing board?
The story opens with the last encounter between the dashing hero Valiant and his arch nemesis Edison Rex. The two have been battling each other for years and years. Valiant is ready to take Edison Rex to jail yet again when the villain takes Valiant on a quick tour of his place. His lair serves as a museum of all the things he’s done trying to show the world Valiant isn’t the hero he claims to be. The two men run through some of their historic encounters, and then Edison takes the hero to his observatory to tell him he’s found out the secret to his powers. Edison reveals that Valiant’s origin is related to an alien race who sends out a signal that when decoded is a RNA sequence. Scientists decoded it and years ago a woman was infected with it. She gave birth to Valiant. The alien race’s true motives were to create a powerful being who could gain the world’s trust then take it over. Edison convinces Valiant that the cycle is about complete and the only way to save earth is for him to die. So Edison kills the hero in the first issue. What is he going to do next? Edison Rex realizes that he’s going to have to be the hero that keeps everyone safe. He always thought he could have been a hero to people if Valiant was never around, and now he gets to see if he can actually do it. He sets about rebranding his image, but things get complicated when alternate dimension versions of Edison Rex comes knocking at his door.
Roberson writes an absolutely fantastic story. He writes a love letter to comic books and the superhero/villain tropes that go along with it. He takes superhero stories and dissects them to see what makes them work then spins that on its head. Yes, you start out feeling this is a story about Lex Luthor killing Superman but it quickly evolves into something completely different. It’s a story about a villain trying to be something different, but at its core it’s an old school science based hero who only has his mind as a weapon. The art is extraordinary. Culver’s art and Downer’s colors have a cartoony vibe. You just look at it and think this is how comics are supposed to look. Edison Rex is a great character. You can imagine him exercising his mind and body once Valiant first came on the scene. He’s a muscular character who, much like in life, doesn’t quite match up to the hero.
Bottom Line: Edison Rex is a story of big ideas packaged in a beautiful and fun box. Roberson makes something completely fresh by crafting a story out of very familiar ideas and character types. Issue 7 comes out today, so pick up the trade so you can hop on board. 4.5/5
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