By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 08/23/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: August 21, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Aphrodite IX is back, and the attack on Genesis is gearing up. The cybernetically-enhanced residents of Speros are ready to take back what rightfully belongs to them, and thanks to Aphrodite’s unwilling assassination work, the home city of the Gen is ready for the taking. Under Burch’s control, April has unknowingly killed most of the royal family over the first three issues, and as fun as that was, it’s time for something bigger to happen, which Aphrodite IX #4 sets up adequately.
The beginning of the issue shows off Aphrodite’s stalking and stealth skills as she avoids her newfound friends, seeing as they have finally figured out that she was responsible for all of the murders. April gets a slight bit of character development as she discusses her feelings for Marcus, but the real surprise, for readers and the characters, is when one of the telepathic dragons comes to her defense. The problem with this is that, once again, it is hard to have any sympathy for the main character or root for her.
“Saved by a dragon, a fitting epitaph for my grave.” – Aphrodite IX
Possibly the best parts of this issue are the interactions in Speros. Not only is Chronos reminded of what is at stake by those who backed him, but the series finally gives something I have been asking for from the beginning—more character moments for Burch. It is not hard for readers to get a feeling for a character who manipulates someone else into committing murders, but that doesn’t mean more character beats weren’t needed. A beautiful scene where a woman shows interest in a relationship with Burch but is turned off when she realizes his complicated, and kind of creepy, emotions for April is not only well done, but says a lot.
Burch is a real pervert and a little smarmier than he has shown blatantly up until now. Scenes like this make me want the eventual confrontation between April and Burch even more, because it should be quite epic and slightly cathartic. No matter how good it looks for Burch currently, Aphrodite is owed some payback and the series would feel incomplete if it didn’t eventually come. Though, even with the talk of love earlier in the issue, Matt Hawkins has done a stellar job per usual of setting this defeated and dark tone for the comic.
The other success of Aphrodite IX is its art. Stjepan Sejic is an amazing artist, and though his work can be overly sexual, it fits the title and company. The covers for the series are downright amazing, eye-catching visuals that bring life to a world with an image that fits the setting but is not actually present or pertains to the book itself. I also have a new respect for Sejic’s abilities with facial expressions. This issue in particular shows off some character design elements for the Gen that did not stand out as well in previous issues.
The big ending for this issue will come as no surprise to those who have kept up with the series, but the last panel certainly amps up the excitement for the next issue. I can only hope it isn’t a letdown. I would say that all around, this was a better issue than number three, but part of that may just be the building anticipation. For those readers who have enjoyed previous issues, this one will excite and satisfy, even with the series’ flaws still evident throughout.