This is it, the final issue of Aphrodite IX, although not the final chapter in the story of Aphrodite IX. Taking place after an extinction level event, the world is mostly divided into two races. The Gens are genetically enhanced humans, and they are in the middle of a centuries old war with the Cybernetically enhanced humans.
Aphrodite is somewhere in-between, having both genetic and cybernetic enhancements. She’s part of the Aphrodite protocol, an initiative from before the extinction event to repopulate and rule the new world. A chip inside her brain can be used by her controller to take over her mind. Through this, she was forced to assassinate several major Gen politicians. After temporarily breaking free of the control she invaded Speros City, where the Cyborgs live. After killing their leaders and being captured, she’s rescued by other products of the Protocol, each named after another Greek God. That’s where this issue picks up.
There’s a lot to conclude in this issue. There’s a war that has to end, with either the Gens or the Cyborgs coming out on top. There’s a family of powerful genetically enhanced cyborgs to be introduced. There’s a conflict between Aphrodite and a potential love interest that must be resolved. For the most part, this comic succeeds at concluding all of them. The war ends in a dark plot twist that, while surprising, fits the comic’s themes very well. A few more plot elements are introduced that will most likely be explored in the upcoming Aphrodite IX/Cyber Force crossover.
Aphrodite has several important dramatic moments. Unfortunately the dramatic moments feel rushed, but they get the job done. With a $4 price tag this comic is several pages longer than most issues, but it probably would have benefited from one or two more pages to deal with Aphrodite’s personal drama.
Stjepan Sejic’s art is so fantastic in this issue I hardly know where to start. There’s a great variety of appearances in the characters, such as the Gens’ enlarged noses and body paint and the different outfits and hairstyles among the Protocol creations. The environmental detail is stunning, whether it be the clouds seen from the Sanctuary ship hovering above the Earth, the destruction at Speros city or the wastelands. But the best part of the art may be the wide variety of facial expressions. Aphrodite alone shows wonder, embarrassment, confusion, anger, excitement, sadness and pure joy, and they’re all perfectly captured in the art.
I’d recommend this series to any fans of Science Fiction. The post-apocalyptic world is fascinating, and the themes of war, science and religious extremism are much deeper than I expected. While Aphrodite IX isn’t too interesting as a character for the first few issues, the more she breaks free from her control, the more captivating she becomes. It’s too early to call this series a work of genius, but right now that’s what it feels like.