By Matt Hawkins & Stjepan Sejic
Holiest of (top) cows, my friends! If you’ve been following the new run of Aphrodite IX – and I’ve been saying you should be since issue #1! – then you’re definitely in for a treat this week. The latest installment was one of the top issues in the series thus far.
Seriously, Matt Hawkins, how do you do it?! This book had everything including action and espionage, lots of mystery and serious plot development, and excellent character interaction. First off, the creativity throughout this series has been phenomenal, and the latest issue continues this trend. We recently had a chat with Hawkins about this series, and he hinted that one of the transhuman subspecies would be nearly annihilated in the near future; it’s looking more and more like the cyborgs will be the ones to go. This book has been full of excellent twists though, so who can really tell at this stage? However, it is very interesting to see the character of an entire population (the Gen) develop into an aggressive and brutal group of people so filled with hate. As always, the narration is wonderfully deep and intelligent and serves to highlight the more prominent themes within the issue.
Aphrodite IX #8 was particularly emotional and carried a lot of weight for the overall plot as a whole. There was also a lot of panel time dedicated to Aphrodite IX and XV infiltrating Speros City which was incredibly engaging, well-paced and cleverly organized. The action and excitement throughout these moments was very intense and really helped to further develop the Aphrodites’ personalities. Their ruthlessness and cold calculation was both shocking and impressive. The subtle humor that sporadically appears throughout the book was also executed with perfect precision and timing.
The artwork by Stjepan Sejic is somehow becoming even more cohesive as the series progresses. Having recently swapped to a relatively less photo-realistic style, the visuals remain phenomenal in Aphrodite IX, and issue #8 is the best overall execution of this new style so far. There is a greater blend of the hyper-realistic and newer art in this book that works very well as a whole. The environments look fantastic, the character designs are interesting and well-detailed, and the facial expressions are wonderful as always. Sejic’s color work is also revolutionary, adding a ton of life and realism to each image. Even the minor details like the energy trails following Aphrodite’s arm-blades look terrific. Furthermore, the designs for all of the different creatures and technologies look awesome and really help to enhance the unique feel of this series.
Aphrodite IX has been an astonishingly deep read from the beginning with a very fresh story. Excitement was rampant in many respects through the latest installment making this one of the best books in the series so far. There were some heavy revelations for the story that should make readers even more intrigued to see how the plot will develop over time. This is a book that definitely deserves more attention, and issue #8 is a prime example of this.