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Aphrodite IX #4 [Top Cow Productions] Review

By
Posted on August 22, 2013 AT 06:29pm

The fourth issue of Top Cow’s relaunched Aphrodite IX just hit shelves, and with the end of the first arc of the series underway, it’s time to really start delving into this very special series. Aphrodite herself is the pinnacle of cybernetic design and genetic engineering, something well suited for the two warring factions, each carrying one of those two theologies. In previous issues, the bionic assassin has been seen being rescued, enslaved, killing, and generally being shown to be both a gift and a burden to the genetically engineered side of this war, and in this issue, the warning signs of her eventual fight for independence show themselves in a big way.

This is a very complex book, full of war, betrayal, incredible technologies and human advancement, and at the center of it all, an ageless being of both worlds that fulfill needs for both sides, in very different ways. As Aphrodite’s periods of blackout (in which she kills some very prominent members of the royal family of genetically engineered humans who recused her) continue, she begins to remember more and more, likely a result of her long stasis and something going wrong in the interim. Her feelings for the prince of these people, Marcus, slowly come into focus for her, despite his unattainable status and the deeds she has done, despite his lack of knowledge on the subject. This issue brings all of this to a head, and the next issue will likely close out this first major arc in a big way; with Aphrodite forced to live with the consequences of her actions, as well as deal with the man that’s been working against her the whole time, as her handler controls her from inside the borders of the opposing faction.

Matt Hawkins is a self-proclaimed “wordy” writer, and this is very true. In past issues it’s been more of a problem, but as he admitted in the post-issue sequence “Science Class – Aphrodite” (something he’s adapted from his other series, Think Tank), he cut much of the dialog out of this issue. Hawkins is skilled at writing a complicated and complex story focused on science, and has done well in making this character a more rounded being than her former eye-candy ways. It still winds up being incredibly complicated at points, making it a bit difficult to follow, but it really does work well in its setting, and with the content.

Artist Stjepan Sejic is brilliant as he always is, creating a breathtaking scene using his trademark painted style. It doesn’t quite work with the way the lettering is placed, but putting word balloons on a work of art doesn’t always translate. Sejic also deserves praise for not taking the easy way out and sexualizing Aphrodite at every turn, something this character has had done to her many, many times in the past. This is a gorgeous book, with nearly every page looking like it should belong in a gallery.

Summary: The return of Aphrodite IX was something to give pause about when it was initially announced, but it seems that all skepticism has been put to rest. With a grounded take on a major sci-fi/fantasy title, Aphrodite IX is a well, written and beautifully illustrated work that should last for a long time on this path, and given the creative team and their work ethic, there are no limits to it’s beauty.

Pros: Gorgeous artwork, complex but well-written story.

Cons: Too word-filled at points, complex narrative can be hard to follow.

Grade: A-

 

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for DigitalNoob.com. He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.


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