By Matt Hawkins and Stjepan Sejic
“So, hey, let’s take some of the most iconic characters and creations that have ever come out of Top Cow and put it all together in one story”, said writer Matt Hawkins. Everybody else, or at least those with any kind of knowledge of The Darkness, Witchblade, Aphrodite IX, etc, turned to Matt and suddenly he was bombarded with wallets. Shortly after that, and announcing that Stjepan Sejic would be doing the art, he had to go into hiding for his own safety.*
*Note: Actual events probably not even close to how it really happened. Maybe.
Really, though, as soon as things started to click in this first issue of IXth Generation, the possibilities really started to become clear and holy crap how could you not be excited for something like this? The Witchblade on Aphrodite IX against The Darkness couldn’t sound like a cooler concept all by itself, add to that the eight other badass Cyborgs (Androids?) and one issue in you’ve already got a winner. It really feels like this has some depth to it. Maybe due to the history of all the key players involved, maybe, and most likely, Matt Hawkins is just that good. He’s blended it all seamlessly and nothing felt forced. He didn’t just cram the Witchblade in the story willy-nilly, there’s a sense of something bigger at work and a sense that Hawkins really has had this planned out extensively for a long time.
Hell, even if you put all of that aside, this book has Stjepan f’n Sejic on art, man. Come on. STJEPAN SEJIC! This guy had a killer 2014 and no doubt he’s going to really explode in 2015. His art is just absolutely stellar; it’s unique and all-his-own with fantastic character designs and spot on expressions. It’s not quite a realistic look, but it’s close and certainly spectacularly stylized. You match that with his color skills and, yeah, just like you’ve heard in our Death Vigil reviews—by the way, go read THAT series. Holy crap. It’s 100% Sejic—you’ve got one of the best looking books on the shelf. It’s different in such a unique and interesting way you can’t help but fall in love with it, especially if you’ve had a little too much New 52 or All-New books lately.
IXth Generation totally wins or, rather, the fans totally win here. You probably don’t need any prior knowledge of these stories, Hawkins has done and undoubtedly will do a great job filling you in, but you also shouldn’t deprive yourself of some of those stories. Particularly the most recent Aphrodite IX and the current Witchblade run with Ron Marz and Laura Braga (don’t let the high numbers scare you off). Hawkins and Sejic are cooking up something special from an Image imprint that does some amazing work month in and month out. If you’re unfamiliar with the Top Cow Universe or you’re just behind, now is as good of a time as any to get into it.