Friday, January 9, 2015

Review - IX Generation #1


"Death had lost its sting."

Being a cyborg has its benefits. You get all the emotion that comes with being a human and the robotic augmentation that makes you physically stronger. There's also the possibility of shifting your consciousness upon death, but whether or not that's really a good idea remains to be seen. There are some in IX Generation #1 from Top Cow who do it with reckless abandon, while others are a little more hesitant. The issue is written by Matt Hawkins, illustrated by Stjepan Šejić and lettered by Troy Peteri.

Set in the future is a world where there is no more natural death, no needs unfilled and everything you could ever want is yours… as long as you’re one of the ones chosen to live in this new Utopia and you’re willing to subjugate yourself to these new self-proclaimed gods with "IX"s emblazoned on them. Aphrodite, Velocity, Hades and the other Nines establish fiefdoms in this new world and attempt to rule. Their internal clashes have escalated, but they are forced to put that aside as they face off against the relentless hordes of The Darkness. The sins of the past have come to claim those who would pretend to be gods.

The universe in IX Generation #1 is very much steeped in mythology and Hawkins ensures the reader is made fully aware of that history in the first issue. There are points in the issue where it feels as if his narrative is a little heavyhanded, but it doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. In fact, there's so much going on in IX Generation #1 that the reader will still likely pick up on subtle nuances here and there without being told to pick them up. Hawkins oscillates between humor and drama fairly effortlessly as well, providing characters who can spout moral platitudes or jokes at will. And there's a great nod to some of the Artifacts in the Top Cow universe as well, with Aphrodite IX in particular becoming engrossed by Top Cow's most famous artifact.

It's hard to find a book illustrated by Šejić that doesn't look good. The painted color style adds an almost ethereal quality to the characters--who some would consider gods in the first place--that fits the tone of the book very well. All of the character get a chance to showcase varying emotions to further embellish their presumed lack of patience with one another. There are some points when a character's expression seems a little silly compared to the drama of the narrative on the page. Otherwise though, Šejić does a great job differentiating locales and helping realize the world that is IX Generation.

IX Generation #1 is a first issue that's as much a starting point for new readers as it is a nod to fans of Top Cow characters prior to now. Aphrodite IX has stumbled upon a powerful new weapon that will definitely tilt things even more in her favor when she comes up against opponents. Hawkins' narrative is relatively straightforward and fully immerses the reader into the new world. Because Šejić has spent so much time illustrating Top Cow books, IX Generation #1 feels like just another day at the job for him, as his intimate familiarity with the players involved really pays off with some great looking art. IX Generation #1 will appeal to Top Cow fans all over, as well as bringing in a few new ones looking for a book about the morality of being revived.

IX Generation #1 is in stores now.

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