While IXth Generation is a continuation from both Cyber Force and Aphrodite IX, it feels like its own story. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a family of 9 immortal cyborgs have taken near complete control of the planet and rule over what’s left of humanity. 28 years after their leadership commenced, the family is split into two in a war, with Aphrodite IX trying to remain neutral.
IXth Generation is only into its second issue and already it’s the most intriguing story of all the comics I’m currently reading. It’s a clear demonstration of how absolute power corrupts, and the longer we live, the more we’re stuck in our old ways. This issue mostly focuses on the time gap between the end of Aphrodite IX’s series and the beginning of this series, which takes place 28 years later. The majority of those still left on Earth are cyborgs, and are usually controlled by their overseers one way or another. The other group of humanity, the gens (genetically enhanced), seem to only thrive either in the wilderness between territories or Aphrodite’s own territory.
If this story isn’t enough, the first issue also threw in the Witchblade artifact by bonding it with Aphrodite while she and Hephaestus were attacked by the Darkness. Even though it involves the Top Cow mythology of the artifacts, the story still remains focused on the world that Matt Hawkins created and the themes of corruption all over the place. The mystery behind the darkness’s attack is expanded on, yet not fully revealed by this issue’s end. Somehow with all these themes and plot threads around, this comic still feels focused and doesn’t feel overcrowded.
But even an interesting world can make for a boring story if the characters are bland. Thankfully, the cast of characters is not only interesting, but varied. Aphrodite’s method of ruling her territory loosely not only matches her values on life and her past of overcoming slavery, but the territory she chose keeps her isolated from the rest of the warring siblings. Most of the others prefer to keep complete control of their territory, to the point where their subjects can’t even conceive rebelling against them. This earns her some very loyal subjects, including a welcome appearance by a major character from the Aphrodite IX series. It also means that the most nefarious of the rulers, Hades, hates her all the more.
The art by Stjepan Sejic is fantastic as usual. He captures this world with rich detail, from the darkened labs with futuristic medical equipment to the large city scopes in establishing shots. The Darkness constructs are large and intimidating with their monstrous appearances and the bizarre tower forming on the moon. After the opening fight, Aphrodite is covered in green goo that leaves her messy and miserable for a while. The slightly exaggerated facial expressions capture a great variety of moods and reactions, and the action always flows smooth. The more I see Sejic’s art, the more I’m convinced that he’s among the best artists in the comic industry.
It took a brilliant science-fiction comic to beat She-Hulk as my favourite comic of the week, but IXth Generation 2 did it. The comic’s only real flaw is that it will leave newcomers confused; it does little to explain what happened in Aphrodite IX and the world it takes place in. This comic, and this series, is an easy recommendation for any science fiction fan, but it’s probably smart to read Hawkins’ Aphrodite IX series first. Don’t fret though, that series is also brilliant.