When I saw that issue two hit this week I scratched my head and wondered why I hadn’t read issue one yet. Then I remembered that it was a FCBD issue and instantly downloaded it from Comixology’s store. It was a good issue and really reset the world of Aphrodite IX. I know she’s had some involvement in the Top Cow universe over the past few years, but none that I was particularly fond of. I enjoyed the futuristic setting of the first volume as it was a key element in what made it special and charming. This second volume returns the story to the future, but now it’s surpassed the original time line. It’s very cool and works perfectly with the universe. The story actually jumps ahead some from the first issue which was nice. Aphrodite has already been given her first kill and they went straight to the top of the genetically enhanced tribe with Marcus’ father being the target. While Aphrodite’s handler Mr. Burch talks with Helen the second in command of the cybernetic enhanced tribe about finding the tracking module, Aphrodite actually walks right by. She’s there to free the dead dragon that Marcus was forced to leave. It’s a funny sequence as Burch finds the module and just as he realizes she’s there a bomb goes off.
During all of the hub-bub she points a gun at Burch only to discover that her programming won’t allow her to shoot him. This is yet another mystery for her to solve as she also wants to discover the twenty-minute gap in her memory from the night before. The twenty minutes that we know were used to kill Marcus’ father.
This was a good issue and the shit has definitely hit the fan for Aphrodite. Really I’m not even sure how long this story can last with the way it’s structured. The world has basically been reduced to just an island with the two warring factions and now it seems that only one of them will survive. Aphrodite has betrayed the genetically enhanced tribe that she sided with and will likely have nowhere to go after all is said and done. The pacing of the story was decent, but I find that the story always moves strangely with Sejic on the art. At times the story is fast paced like the opening, but then when there’s a conversation it slows down almost too much. It doesn’t make it bad by any means, but it does draw attention to the conversation which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing when some are just there to set up the plot for later.
Aphrodite is like a brand new character this time around and doesn’t come across as having a ton of baggage from the previous series. She’s fresh to the world so in a lot of ways, she is the reader. We experience everything for the first time the same way she does. Personally, I like this Aphrodite a lot more than previously. She’s more approachable and comes across as cutesy rather than a sex addict on a murdering spree.
Sejic’s art is of course beautiful and though I don’t feel that it’s at its strongest for the conversations, there is no denying that it’s fantastic for the massive battles and beautiful landscapes. His style has improved since working on Witchblade and Artifacts. His design for Aphrodite is gorgeous plain and simple. He was the perfect choice for the art as both sides of the story fit his style.
I dug the issue and I’m definitely enjoying the new series. Top Cow has slowly but surely begun to show that they are no longer the company they were a few years back. They’re shipping books on time and consistently and taking chances on new directions like this. Aphrodite may work in the Witchblade and Darkness universe, but she’s always worked better outside of it. This is a great return for her and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns the series has in store for us.
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: Top Cow and Image Comics
Release Date: 6/12/13