"IXth Generation #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Top Cow Productions
Written by Matt Hawkins
Illustrated by Stjepan Sejic
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 7th, 2014
The Top Cow Universe has had two unique sides to its books. On the one side of the house is the supernatural elements like Witchblade and The Darkness. On the other is the technological comics with the likes of Aphrodite IX and Cyber Force. The two sides have crossed over a few times, such as the Artifacts event, and they definitely exist in the same universe, but they've mostly kept to themselves. That's about to change with IXth Generation.
Set hundreds of years in the future, IXth Generation picks up in a world where natural death is a thing of the past. If someone dies, their consciousness is immediately downloaded into a new body and they're good to go. It's a utopia broken up into different sectors, each ruled by a different self-proclaimed god marked with an IX, named after ancient Greek myths like Hades and Apollo. They've been at war for years, but it's somewhat meaningless. How do you win a war when you can't actually kill your enemy? Aphrodite IX joins the fray after sitting on the sidelines for some time. She wants to take the issue up with their maker only to find that the Darkness is ready to attack. This is where things get interesting and this is where I'm going to stop telling you what happens.
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IXth Generation has a lot of initial setup to get into. The first three pages consist of a quote, a small prose history, and a brief character introduction. This story really began in Aphrodite IX, but that's not required reading in order to jump in and enjoy it. Having a passing knowledge of things like the Witchblade is necessary, but that's it really. This is a very new-reader-friendly title and it's a great jumping on point to give you an idea of what these comics are capable of.
The warring factions in IXth Generation are like rich kids with nothing to lose. They're bickering over toys and they don't seem like they want to share. The only difference is that their arguing results in destruction and death. It's tough to get a read on all of them with this first issue. Hades is definitely a troublemaker, which is unsurprising given her namesake. Hephaestus is more thoughtful despite choosing a side in the battle. He's the most interested in Aphrodite's plans.
Writer Matt Hawkins has crafted an intense science fiction world with this title. It's epic, filled with action, intrigue, and philosophy. Taking that wide scope and throwing something as menacing as the Darkness instantly changes things. It brings a sinister evil to a landscape that was once the epitome of hope.
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Stjepan Sejic captures that mix of sci-fi and horror perfectly with his artwork. Seeing Aphrodite swoop in during the opening scene wearing a pair of robot wings and sporting a hefty glowing blade is such a great way to start this book. Later on, when the journey takes her to space, there's a beautiful ship that looks like something right out of a video game. Then there's the Darkness. There has been a wide range of terror that this force of evil has been capable of generating. This time around it's like something that would scare even Ellen Ripley. It's a hulking beast with a gaping maw filled with rows upon rows of jagged teeth. Tentacles fly out every which way as many glowing yellow eyes glare down with hatred and hunger. It's an unstoppable being of pure horror.
Although the main characters are all cyborgs, Sejic brings a human quality to them, specifically in their facial expressions. This might be weird to say – especially after I just described the Darkness – but they often remind me of those seen in Disney movies. He's able to convey so much emotion in one look, whether that's confusion, anger, or shock.
IXth Generation is the start of something big. It's world building and possibly world ending. This is a great mix between both sides of the Top Cow house and I can't wait to see how it all plays out.