Aphrodite V #1
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Jeff Spokes
Aphrodite V is a prequel to the Aphrodite IX comic book series created by David Finch and David Wohl in 1996. It was also relaunched in 2013 but only lasted for a little over a year. Having not read either run, I will be reviewing this new version based entirely on its own merits and will not be comparing it to those that came before.
The most notable feature of the first issue is how little we get to know about the titular character. We’re given a brief explanation that she’s an android assassin who grew a conscience and went rogue but beyond that she says little and we’re not given any insight into her thoughts.
This is one of the areas where the artwork could step in to tell us more about the lead. Interestingly, she maintains a perfect poker face from start to finish, presumably because she’s a robot and only has to convey emotion when she desires. Unfortunately, both a lack of thought and facial expressions paints a blank picture that makes it difficult to invest in her as a character.
It’s very reminiscent of the Bourne franchise which relies on the supporting cast to drive most of the narrative. Both Bourne and Aphrodite V are thrown into a world, not of their making, a spanner in a wheel that is being pushed by more powerful figures. In this case, one of the figures is Martin, a gay, black billionaire with a genius IQ that wants to privatize the police.
Martin is the main spark of the issue, a progressive character that is advocating for privatization because he thinks he can save lives. It’s an unusual mix. Bryan Hill fairly tackles both sides of the issue but so far has only scratched the surface. If he continues to successfully explore the theme in depth then this could turn into a standout comic.
Other than that, it would appear to be a rather generic world of corporate warfare with both sides vying to win the technological arms race.
Jeff Spokes has created a visually dark book, with a lot of shadows and muted colors that portray a very distinct style. Unfortunately, it is a little lacking in personality but it’s what you might expect from a shady futuristic world full of global businesses and mechanical assassins.
Action scenes are fast-paced, making it clear that she’s extremely deadly and efficient. Readers are sometimes trusted to fill in the gaps at times which helps make it feel slick and real but can also mean details are looked over.
Overall, this first issue of Aphrodite V plays it safe. We’re given a blank slate of a character that has been done better several times before. The art has a clear tone but isn’t particularly memorable. Given that there are comics like Saga, Low and East of West showing just what can be done with science fiction, I can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed by this first outing of Aphrodite V.
Aphrodite V #1
A safe first outing for Aphrodite V that does what it says on the cover but fails to make much of an impression.