I have little to no knowledge of Aphrodite IX’s previous series. All I know is that issue 1 of this volume was one of the comics available on Free Comic Book Day, and that it had a very interesting premise behind it. So I couldn’t help but give this issue a chance, and I’m glad I did.
Aphrodite IX takes place in a futuristic world where the human race is divided into two sub-races. One is full of cybernetically enhanced humans, while the other one is full of genetically enhanced humans. These two sub-races are at war with each other over Earth’s dwindling natural resources. Aphrodite herself is a cyborg assassin from the past who was awoken from cryogenic sleep, and has allied herself with the genetically enhanced. However, the cyborgs have learned how to take complete control of her for up to 20 minutes a day and have her perform assassination missions – of which she will have no memory of whatsoever.
The execution behind this is just as good as the concept itself. Aphrodite spends much of this issue trying to unravel the mystery of her past. Her internal narrations feel like how a cyborg would think, combining scientific terms with human emotions. There’s plenty of story happening with plans and conspiracies rising on both sides of the conflict. The last panel isn’t a twist or cliffhanger so much as it is a shocking moment for Aphrodite as she “wakes up” from her mission.
Perhaps the real highlight of this issue is the art though. Stjepan Sejic’s images have a painted look to them, and the detail is very impressive. Every single panel has fully detailed backgrounds and lighting, and the facial work sometimes makes characters look real. The cyborgs have metal bits attached to their faces, while the genetics have a slightly animal-ish look to them. This is easily the best comic art I’ve seen this week.
After the main issue, there’s an extra page where the book’s creators discuss some of the themes and influences behind the book’s premise, which help enhance the science fiction feel to it.
There is a lot to like about this comic. It has an excellent premise and strong execution. The art is amazing, and the internal exploration of Aphrodite’s confusion is very well written. Even if you’ve missed the first issue, everything you need to know is explained here. Also, the first issue’s reprint is available this week anyway. I strongly recommend this comic if any of this sounds interesting to you.