Aphrodite IX #5 by Matt Hawkins (Comics Review)

Reading Top Cow comics always gives me a thrill. Whether its the characters or the story or the art, everything is always spot on and entertaining. Having read a wide variety of their books in the last year or so, I’ve enjoyed almost all of them, whether monthlies or trades, and the experience has been very positive for me. Reading Matt Hawkins’ futuristic reboot of the Aphrodite property has been one of the highlights of that experience, and for good reasons too.

Characters like Aphrodite, in all her different incarnations, are very few and far in between in comics. In the Top Cow Universe, she occupies a very specific and niche place, built up on the concept of Artifacts that a few select individuals are heirs to. Ever since I started reading Ron Marz’s Artifacts maxi-series last year, Aphrodite has been one of my favourite characters, and Matt Hawkins’ recent work with her has only solidified that, and given me even more reasons to like her.

Aphrodite IX 05

This issue picks up only a few moments after the ending of the previous one, in which we saw that the military might of Speros had finally initiated its attack on Genesis City and that the cybernetically-enhanced people of Speros had used an unwilling Aphrodite in assassination attempts to sweep away the political structures of the people of Genesis City. There were some interesting revelations in that issue, and what Matt does here is that he continues to build on all of that, presenting his vision of a city at war, a city under siege, and a people displaced from their home.

Undeniably, this is the conclusion of the first arc on this series. Matt Hawkins has built up a really interesting and involved futuristic setting here, and has populated it with some really interesting characters to match. With the way that this issue reads, its as if we are coming to the end of a long epic with lots of reversals and misfortunes and fortunes and some pretty damn big twists. Sure, the primary characters aren’t exactly going anywhere, but Matt Hawkins has most definitely changed the entire playing field here, rebalanced the status quo to fit all the new events that have happened. And that’s what I loved about it.

There’s no holding back in this issue, and one thing that struck me while reading it was that I could very well be watching a mega-blockbuster movie at work here. Matt deals with the emotional troubles between Aphrodite and Marcus, he deals with the scope of two cities in the far future at war with each other, he deals with revenge and betrayal, with political intrigues and subterfuges. There is, quite frankly, a lot going on in this issue and Matt keeps everything together to the very end. His plotting is focused on the larger story and he never loses sight of what’s to come next.

Really fantastic stuff. With the way that everything has changed here, I expect next month’s issue to begin on an even better level. There’s no way to go but up, because there’s no looking back here. Neither the characters nor the story have that kind of freedom. Everything is always progressing and always moving forward. Most of all, Matt gives his characters freedom to choose their own paths, going forward. They make their own choices, unburdened by any kind of pressure. Most assuredly, its quite clear that Matt loves this characters and that he enjoys writing about them. That vibe leaps right off the book.

The action scenes feel like, as I’ve already said, something straight out of an action movie. They are big, they are loud, and they are entertaining. It does help that the man giving visual life to Matt’s script is Stjepan Sejic, one of the best artists in the industry right now, with his signature style that is unique and invigorating for all the right reasons. One of the things that struck a chord with me here was the sheer variety of colours that Stjepan uses, page to page. We have pages of soft oranges and browns mixed in with lightning-highlighted blues, followed by pages with warm yellows and bright reds, followed by pages that evoke icy vistas and are full of soft blues and purples. Its all really incredible.

Of course, as always, his character-work is always spot on as always, because his characters are always so expressive, so full of life. There are lots of things that can be said for Stjepan’s artwork, but one thing that must be said, is that his art is beautiful, its expansive, and its definitely eye-catching. He is the perfect fit for this title.

Bring on October and issue #6! The final panel/page for this issue is an absolute rocker and I really can’t wait to see what exactly Matt and Stjepan have in store next. It was a really exciting ending and also completely unexpected, so bonus points there!

Rating: 9.5/10

More Aphrodite IX v2: #1, #2-3, #4.

Posted on September 21, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, Challenges, Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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