After Free Comic Book Day you all should be aware that Top Marz - I mean Top Cow - has a major story arc brewing that involves just about the entire Witchblade universe. Artifacts #0 introduced us to what is happening and one of the major players is Aphrodite IV. One thing I was confused about was how the badass cyborg assassin ended up in a recovery chamber speaking to an as yet unknown figure attempting to bring about the end of the world. Why would I be confused about that you ask? Perhaps because last time I saw Aphrodite she was fighting alongside Sara Pezzini in an underground complex owned by Cyberdata Corp.
Enter Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic, the writer/artist combination currently lighting up the pages of Witchblade in Witchblade #136, the conclusion to the three part Almost Human mini-storyline. Sara, using the Witchblade, and Aphrodite have fought each other, several security robots and entered the lab facility only to be faced with three cyborgs that appear to be modeled after Aphrodite. Whether or not this will be a challenge for this assassin cyborg and the Witchblade remains to be seen but read on to find out.
Aphrodite has been tasked with assassinating Dr. Singh, a rogue scientist that was a part of the lab that created her. He has been selling his secrets to competing agencies and that is simply not permitted. The fight between Witchblade and Aphrodite versus the three new cyborg sisters is complicated by the fact that each of them has an enhanced power (think of them as Aphrodite +). After trading blows for a bit the new cyborgs charge up for a final attack, which promptly pisses off Pezzini and she dispatches of them rather unceremoniously. In a variety of ways all three prove to be no match for the Witchblade and Aphrodite really plays a relatively minor role overall. This is where things get interesting.
After learning that Aphrodite was there for an assassination Pezzini tried to convince her to do things her way and let Sara arrest the Doctor. As they approach the target, however, Aphrodite IV goes back on the agreement and actually defeats Sara in a surprise attack. When Sara comes to Aphrodite is gone and her partner is there asking why she didn’t call. It isn’t always in a series that the main male character is a whiny and generally useless character, but in this series Sara’s partner/boyfriend Gleason is just that. Oh well…in a Universe where most of the artifacts are wielded by supernatural badass women I suppose it is to be expected. Aphrodite returns to her employer, only to be blasted by a mysterious organization that requires her services when she can’t find anyone at the facility, leading us to the conversation in Artifacts #0 and tying the circle for me.
I love the way I can see all the different titles in the Top Cow universe coming together as Marz slowly closes the plots together in preparation for the Artifacts series. The writing is up to its usual good pacing, with interesting dialogue while the artwork is colorful and the battles really pop. I enjoyed this issue and couldn’t be more excited for the massive upcoming storyline to come. Top Cow is on fire, and with Marz leading the way I see nothing but good things in the future. For some interiors check out below. The issue hit stores yesterday.