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Review: Aphrodite IX #5, The Darkness #115, Cyber Force #6

Aphrodite IX #5

AIX005001Aphrodite IX woke up in a new world with no memory and no idea of her true purpose. But finding out the truth about herself and how her handler Burch has been manipulating her will change everything.

Top Cow has been reinventing it’s properties. Some have been a shift in the world, others, like two on this list, have seen their entire concept changed (from what I’ve experienced).  Aphrodite IX is one of the more interesting ones, featuring a world destroyed and made up of two rival individuals, those with a belief in a higher power and more in harmony with nature and those relying on technology.

Aphrodite IX is a comic that actually is much deeper than one might think. While the main story deals with Aphrodite and her being used as a pawn in the war between these two factions, it’s actually a greater story that dives into the debate of faith versus science, god versus what’s measurable.

Even more than that, there’s the question of destiny, fate, and choice. Aphrodite is a pawn in a war, controlled and manipulated by men. She’s seen as a tool by some and as an actual woman by others.

While there’s some slight issues with the actual story telling here, it’s a bit choppy at points, writer Matt Hawkins has put together an interesting series that’s much more layered than it might seem at first.

On top of Hawkins writing is Stjepan Sejic‘s beautiful art. His style is unique and quite amazing with a painted style that has you linger on pages. He’s proven time and time again, he’s a master artist, one of the most visually unique and striking.

The two together have created an interesting reboot and one of Top Cow’s strongest series right now.

Story: Matt Hawkins Art: Stjepan Sejic
Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

The Darkness #115

DK115001Hope Estacado is very much her father’s daughter. But Jackie Estacado was raised to be a hired killer for a crime family before he inherited the curse of the Darkness. As she matures to take care of her mentally unstable mother, what terrible rites of passage await Hope?

It’s been a bit since I’ve read the adventures of Jackie Estacado. I read the series for a bit after the big world shift, but something wasn’t quite clicking for me. I decided to dive back in reading the previous issue and this one generally catching me up on what’s been going on.

The story is pretty simple in this two part arc which had the Darkness splitting from Jackie and creating a doppleganger. In this issue Jackie struggles to get the Darkness back in a giant battle. The story is ok to me, but since it’s a sliver of a greater storyline, new readers might feel a bit lost. I generally had an idea of what was going on from some of the other Top Cow comics out there.

As a whole from what I’ve read of The Darkness since Top Cow’s bold decision to twist it’s world, it’s been an ok read. The edge that has been a part of the series has been missing a little and the story for me isn’t moving as fast as it should. Lots gets dragged out and there’s just something missing to me as a reader.

What’s fascinating is the Top Cow world is slightly off after the changes that Jackie and Hope made to it all and this series since has been slightly off as well.

Story: David Hine Art: Jeremy Haun
Story: 6.75 Art: 7 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Cyber Force #6

cyberforce6c-webVelocity and Ripclaw have been left hurting since their last confrontation with CDI. To eradicate the rogue Cyber Force faction once and for all, an even more dangerous and uncontrollable threat has been activated.

It had been a bit since I read the fifth issue of Cyber Force, and I came into the sixth one a bit shocked as to the events. I had to go back and remind myself what I missed. The series as a whole has suffered a bit of choppy storytelling that was a signature of Image’s earliest comics. While the above was the solicit text for this issue, that “activation” doesn’t come until the very end of the issue.

For the most part, this issue is a stand-off with a lot of orders being barked around moving the story along. But what I actually enjoyed the most about the issue was the flashbacks, fleshing out some of the history we haven’t been introduced to.

The comic begins with how Stryker became the man we know now. In too few pages, the character has a depth added to him that was missing. The character went from a stereotype to someone very interesting. It’s taken six issues to get there, and I’m not sure when I would have added it earlier, but it makes the series get really interesting for me. In enjoy characters with depth, and here we start to see more of that.

Overall, this isn’t the Cyber Force you might know from years past. Creator Marc Silverstri has taken the characters and reworked them and the series into a future dystopian nightmare tale. The series is a departure from what’s come before, but familiar.

I think for me the most interesting thing has been what’s new. Silverstri has done a daring thing, and like Aphrodite IX, divorced these characters from the general Top Cow universe…. I think. Though it was fun to see the tech and religious mix of the previous Top Cow world, these two series keep the tech separate from the general Top Cow universe, almost grounding them in a way.

Marco Turini’s art is pretty solid, giving the series a gritty and dirty look that fits the world the story takes place in.

Overall, Top Cow has done a pretty daring thing reworking this entire series. Couple that with this series starting off as a Kickstarter project, and things get really fascinating.

I think the story and series is just starting, and this looks like this’ll be a fun one to see where it goes down the road. Because right now, anything can happen.

Story: Marc Silvestri Art: Marco Turini
Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Buy

Top Cow provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

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