By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 06/12/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: June 12, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
I truly enjoyed the first issue of Aphrodite IX, but that may have partially been because it was one of the many free first issues given out on Free Comic Book Day. The book caught my eye though, with its attention to detail and lifelike characters. Stjepan Sejic’s work is entrancing to the eyes. The scope of the world the book sets up is gripping as well. Although the story reads as traditional science fiction fluff, that can be a good thing when done well. Aphrodite IX begins with feeling like the same old tropes that are used so much in post-apocalyptic sci-fi, but it does most of them justice.
April/Aphrodite IX and Burch have an odd relationship. They were stuck together in tubes as the years passed, but now both are on opposite sides of a war between the genetically enhanced tribe and tech upgraded tribe who survived the end of civilization. This issue explains a lot about that relationship and catches the reader up on some important details about how Burch is able to control the main character, setting up the limitations and reasons why this main female lead is used as a murderous puppet and sexual tool. Aphrodite IX is an assassin who specializes in stealth infiltration and can change most of her appearance at will. April is particularly skilled in seduction; the words “seduction matrixes” and “pheromone mode” are actually used when describing this, which the art helps to reinforce. The pictures feel very showy and sexual, as many Top Cow comics do, but this book has an almost Greg Land feeling to some of the odd expressions.
That aside, the comic is still very engaging. It begins with the discussion of an off-scene murder that has just taken place, one that I would have liked to have actually seen, but the comic makes up for that later. There is action, but it doesn’t overshadow the book. Matt Hawkins manages to mix a drama that stems from Aphrodite IX being a potential threat to Marcus and Lina’s relationship into the story that doesn’t feel forced and remains somewhat interesting. This side plot could have been a huge detractor from the main points of the book, but leaves April looking like a bit of a home-wrecker. She does, however, get to explore her own personal theme of memory throughout the issue, as the pluses and negatives of being able to forget something are explored.
Issue #2 has a heavy ending and leaves Aphrodite IX in a bad position, which sees her holding a bloody murder weapon. I can’t help but read the next issue now, although I am eager to see some of these things that I consider faults cleared up in the future. I could certainly see this story touching on some very sexist themes if the writers aren’t careful with the material, but the potential for a great sci-fi drama is there as well. As a bonus, the issue also delves into some of the modern day science behind what we see in the comic, giving an avid reader even more to take in with the already infectious and attractive tale.