I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Definitely not something I would suggest starting with, though. It's important to understand a couple things: what the IXs and XVs are, what happened in Aphrodite IX which sets up this world, and explains why the Gens are so looked down upon, and the Artifacts, especially the Witchblade and the Darkness and the Angelus.
Without a basic understanding of these, I'd have felt lost. The cloned bodies, the natures of the generation IXs, and the dystopian nature of the world aren't properly explained. Neither is the Witchblade, the Darkness, or the Angelus, or the other two Artifacts that show up in this series. That being said, if you are going to choose this as your first Top Cow read, I'd have Google open and I'd be prepared to use it often.
I never really expected the Witchblade to show up in this. Given that the Darkness was powering a lot, I guess I should have expected that the Angelus and the Witchblde - the Balance between the Darkness and the Angelus - could have potentially showed up. There was, however, no reason given to believe that they would.
I also have a great respect for Hawkins: he can write about horrible things happening, or women who are horrible, or make horrible choices, without seeming to condemn women as a whole or make me want to vomit. He doesn't bring up Sara and Jackie, and if he does, I'm hoping he'll treat that issue with the gravitas it deserves instead of having her hook up with him again or retreating that.
He also gets away with all the corruptible, or plain evil women, because some of the women - like Aphrodite IX - aren't that way. They don't sell out, and he calls out all the horribleness and the sexism that at least some of the IX generation have succumbed to. In other word, he writes people, not stereotypes. I understand why Hades is so angry, and resents Aphrodite so much, and I understand why it drove her to make the alliances she has. I'm not cheering her on by any means, but I can certainly understand.
Then again, off all the IXs, Aphrodite is the only one I really relate to, to be honest. All the others have become tyrants of sorts, and allowed power to corrupt them. She hasn't. Aphrodite alone believes in freedom of all the others, believes that the Gen shouldn't have been slaughtered. She isolates herself to protect herself and hers, and all she wants is an end to all the violence. It's hard when all your eight other siblings revel in said violence and do all they can keep it going as long as possible.
Aphrodite can't go up against them alone, so all she can do is offer a place for her people to enjoy their freedom. She takes in as many refuges as possible, but it's not easy to sneak out cyborgs and XVs from under the noses of her brothers and sisters. Not to mention, they'd come to her doorstep, demanding blood for that insult. (She does manage once, and says she'll deal with the consequences later, but she's also desperate to make an escape herself to barters: her freedom and she'll take the cyborg with her.)
It's a complex political game, and it's just gotten more complex now that Aphrodite is the bearer of the Witchblade. And the art is to die for, so that makes this even more fun.