If you’ve been following Top Cow’s various books for about a couple years now, then you know that IXth Generation has been a long time coming and that it has been setup for an equally long time. Of course, the origins are humble, spread out across books like The Darkness and Witchblade and CyberForce and Aphrodite IX among others, but then that’s the fun thing about Top Cow’s books: they are all clearly about superhero-like character, but are also so much more than just that. They are vibrant unlike what you find at the Big 2, competing only with the sterling work that Valiant Comics is doing of late.
In last week’s IXth Generation, we see what has happened to the world in the 25 years since the end of the recent Aphrodite IX series. At the end of that, there was a sort of global genocide by the IXs and now they are the undisputed masters of everything before them. And they’ve since fallen into infighting. Nothing serious of course, but when you have access to unlimited cloned cyborg bodies, conflict takes on a new dimension. And this is the setting for a major crossover between the various different franchises of Top Cow, leading to the eventual Darkness Falls crossover I believe. And it is off to a grand start too!
In Aphrodite IX/Cyber-Force #1 back in July of last year, we learned that all that happened at the end of the recent Aphrodite IX series had been pre-planned as per the directives of the Chairwoman of CDI, a woman who has been long dead but continues to live on as an AI consciousness. We learned furthermore that there was some representation of The Darkness still alive in the world, and that it was lashing out against its… enemies, and had already destroyed Hephaestus’ sanctuary-city. With the advent of this new enemy, the IXs all need to stand together, against an approaching storm, and IXth Generation is where it all begins.
Aphrodite IX, tired of all the constant fighting between her siblings, seeks to find a way to end it decisively but when the others don’t listen, she goes to Velocity, formerly Carin Taylor and the daughter of the Chairwoman, to set things right. But that’s when things take a really dark turn, and Matt Hawkins sets the stage for a really awesome confrontation between characters in a way I really hadn’t thought was possible. He brought together so many different elements of the Top Cow universe in a single place, this comic, and he handled it all with excellence.
Yes, I loved this issue. I’ve been following the different Top Cow books for a while now, and though I’m not as current on some of them as I’d like to be, I know the trail of events leading up to IXth Generation fairly well. This new series is perhaps not so new reader-friendly as you’d imagine. There’s a fair bit of exposition involved since Matt does attempt to catch everyone up on the events leading to this point, but ultimately, this comic is one that rewards the long-time fans.
And either way, if you read this comic as a new reader to the Top Cow universe and it gets you motivated to read the rest of the recent titles, that isn’t so bad really. There’s a certain level of cohesiveness to this issue that I found really appealing, in how it connects to the different books that have come before, such as The Darkness and Aphrodite IX. How it all really comes together and what kind of an impact this is going to have on Darkness Falls, I can’t say, but it is going to be fun indeed.
The art here is by Stjepan Sejic. And when Stjepan is on a title, you know that it is going to have some really awesome art. And this one does have the kind of awesome art you expect from it. All the different IXs are portrayed really well. Unique visual designs with some really well-detailed backgrounds mean that each page is a treat for the reader. Stjepan has worked on pretty much all of Top Cow’s properties in the past and with this comic, he brings that experience together in a very pleasing way. His depiction of the monster of The Darkness was one of the coolest things, as was Aphrodite and Hephaestus discovering a certain… arsenal of weapons at Sanctuary XIII.
Superb beginning to the new series. Can’t wait for more!