This is a good issue, but it kind of plays it safe at the same time. It’s okay though because it must be a little safe in order for the next issue to succeed. It’s basically setting the stage for the next issue in a lot of ways, but that makes this issue important at the same time. Sure it really only has a two cool scenes, but with Sejic’s art that makes it more than worth it. Aphrodite’s narration changes in this issue. She’s much more aware of the programing running through her mind and so the narrative interchanges between her thoughts and what her mind is telling her. For instance while she’s holding a knife, her programming tells her the best way to kill someone with it. It also alerts her to Marcus’ approach to her room and activates her attraction matrix… and she’s aware of this. Marcus let’s her know that his mother has been killed and that their prisoner is responsible and has escaped. Of course if you read the last issue then you know that Aphrodite is actually responsible for both things.
Even still, she joins Marcus and other dragon riders to hunt down Helen the escapee. It’s kind of sad because even though Marcus is in mourning her Matrix is messing with him. The man we meet in the beginning that mourned the death of his dragon has basically moved on about his parent’s death in her presence. They catch up with Helen and the riders run distraction while Aphrodite goes in for the kill and it’s pretty damn glorious.
The narrative is superb in this issue. The battle that Aphrodite is having with herself is great and develops her character a lot since the series began. How she describes her mind as “a never-ending cycle of confusion and clarity” is poetic. Hawkins has recreated this character from her humble beginnings. He’s taken a character that began as nothing more than eye candy and turned her into a character and even more has turned her appearance into her deadliest weapon. This issue is worth the purchase just for the narrative.
If you’re a fan of Sejic’s art then you’re in luck because he’s still the artist on the book. There are a few panels of awkward faces, mostly on Marcus, but otherwise his art is a good as ever. I absolutely love his dragons and was glad to see so many pages with them this time around. There are two fantastic pages/scenes and the first involves Helen and the other one is at the end. It’s intense and sets the stage for the next issue perfectly.
This is the issue in which everyone looks up and sees the shit heading towards the fan. There’s nothing you can do about it since it’s events that are already in play, but that doesn’t make you anticipate it any less. I have no idea how long this series can go on for with its current heading, but I’ll be there for it. If you’re not checking out this series then you should, it’s one of Top Cow’s best titles.
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Publisher: Image and Top Cow Comics
Release Date: 7/17/13