Top Cow Productions 2018
Written by Bryan Hill
Illustrated by Jeff Spokes
Lettered by Troy Peteri
Los Angeles has a new hero in Aphrodite, but a villain from Martin’s past threatens the city. Martin may not trust an android, but he’s going to need one.
Aphrodite has found Martin and Minny doesn’t like having her around, it make her nervous about those who created her possibly wanting her back. It is a valid thing but Aphrodite is of more use to her than she realises, cop or not. However now is the time to find out what Basilisk is and no it isn’t Salazar’s giant snake. However with what we learn here I think that might have been preferable still that this can be so frighteningly familiar and yet totally new and refreshing is extremely well done. I say this because Bryan seems to be pulling a bit from the Terminator tropes in regards to the birth of sentient robots raising an army and sending someone back to stop it. I mean I like this version better so far.
I like Bryan’s writing and I love the way he’s able to structure a story so that there really is a very natural ebb & flow to the book. As we go from place to place or crisis to crisis everything is done with purpose there is no wasted meandering about. The characterisation that we get is strong and makes the characters identifiable and likeable in most situations. Of course we’re also treated to the same treatment regarding the big bad and his inner circle as it were which also makes him easier to dislike or sympathise with depending on where you stand from Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil.
Another thing I really like about this is that there is little to no talking while Aphrodite is doing her thing taking out these guys. In combat and especially when you are up against an unknown force you don’t want to make a sound. So witty banter or musing aloud aren’t things that you would do. It’s nice to see Bryan can do that and rely upon his partner Jeff to really bring that to life and help the story move forward to it’s inevitable conclusion. I have to say few books these days show this level of trust and it’s because this does and is so successful that I find I appreciate that even more.
Since I brought him up let’s talk about Jeff’s interiors shall we. The level and attention to detail that he’s able to bring is incredibly good. The way he uses the black in shading as well as body suits and such which can then show off the creepier side of things again impressive. The varying weights in the linework here are stupendous and if you have any doubt about an artists ability then look at their faces and eyes on the page to see just how good they are. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off that eye for storytelling. I am usually the one screaming for more backgrounds, because what we is great, this time I won’t the way everything works for Jeff here is perfect the way it is.
This for me still feels like an introduction to the series and I am very okay with that. I find myself learning about the characters, the world they are in and the dangers that lie ahead. This isn’t something that can be taken care of lickity split not it’s going to take time to build up and then to get under some semblance of control before being taken down so yeah the pacing, the structure and the interiors all make this something that you should be reading. This is everything I love about comics!