Girl Genius #1
[Studio Foglio $2.95 US B&W]
Written by Phil & Kaja Foglio / Penciled by Phil Foglio / Inked by Brian Snoddy
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Agatha Clay is just your average misunderstood, orphaned genius living in a “world where the Scientific Revolution turned into a full-scale war.” She makes her living as a lab assistant to Dr. Silas Merlot and Dr. Hugo Glassvitch at Transylvania Polygnostic University. Dr. Merlot is the more irascible of the two and views Agatha as an incompetent who has been foisted upon them by the head of the University, Dr. Beetle aka The Master. Dr. Glassvitch, on the other hand, encourages Agatha in her attempts to improve as a scientist and inventor.
More questions are posed than are answered in this new ongoing series from Phil Foglio. For example, the comic opens with Agatha getting her locket stolen by two shifty soldiers and getting hit by some strange electrical energy that zaps all the metal near Agatha including her glasses. Could it be the mysterious “spark” that seems to give some people a gift for inventing? Who exactly is Baron Wulfenbach and why does he have such pull with the University and why is The Master so afraid of him?
Phil Foglio’s cartooning skills are as good as ever and he imbues his characters with a zany expressiveness that works with the Foglio’s frenetic storytelling style. I loved the backgrounds in particular in this comic. Some panels are filled to the brim with strange mechanical devices and scientific miscellany. Phil Foglio’s robots are inspired and give the reader the impression they’ve stepped right into a Victorian steampunk world.
If I had to say one negative thing about this comic it would be more background from the get-go would have made it a tad more enjoyable for me. But I’m aware that I can be a curmudgeon about things like that. I do have faith in Phil and Kaja Foglio’s storytelling skills and am sure that more will be revealed as the series progresses.
Girl Genius #1 has an engaging main character in Agatha Clay and an equally interesting world for her to inhabit. The reader jumps right into the action in this issue but the confusion is kept to a minimum and the promise of future revelations make this a series to keep an eye on.
You should still be able to find this comic at your local shop but if not, write to Studio Foglio, 2400 N.W. 80th Street, #129, Seattle, WA 98117-4449 or visit their web site at www.studiofoglio.com.