Review - ODY-C #2
by Jon Evans
Story - Matt Fraction
Art - Christian Ward
Flatting - Dee Cunniffe
Lettering - Chris Eliopoulos
Design - Christian Ward & Drew Gill
Cover - Christian Ward
Backmatter design - Laurenn McCubbin
Odyssia's voyage home continues on the ODY-C, and bejesus, is this a spectacle. Fraction and Ward have created a considerable piece of work here, having bitten off a very large Homerian chunk, but what they have chewed is remarkable.
The focus for this issue centres on Zeus and her concern for her longevity. Not normally a worry for the queen of the gods, however, knowing how she got her place on the throne, patricide is at the forefront of her growing pains. Having killed her father Chronos, Zeus doesn't trust any of her children to be any different, and in a herodian-style manoeuvre the explanation of the all-female cast is explained, as is also the nature of the androgynous sebexes. It fits wonderfully with the sci-fi theme of the story and makes for a believable conceit for the central narrative.
Also at play here is the classic plot of the Lotus Eaters. Again, Fraction offers a compelling back story for the existence of these characters. In the original text, Odysseus and his crew were blown off course to the island of lotus eaters, who got the shipmates high on opiates, where they became listless and apathetic to their course, almost forgetting their mission. Fraction presents a fantastical alternative, while interweaving more plot reveals, as well as hinting at Odyssia's hidden agenda. Despite my initial concerns at the complexity of the story for some readers (especially with Fraction's use of dactylic hexameter), this is very accessible, while at the same time making the reader really feel like they are enveloped in an epic story. There is also a very satisfying denouement at the close of events. It's rare to feel satisfied when reading a single issue in a series. There's plenty of meat to get your teeth into here, while still being left wanting more, but there is also the matter of the artwork.
My god, the artwork. In my previous review I marvelled at the colours, the art style and the experimentation of the panel layouts. it is refreshing to see artists have the confidence to use such a unique style and to represent a myriad of grotesqueries with such beauty. The tone here is of hallucination, to mirror the theme of the issue, and it sometimes feels like Ward is shackled by the constraints of a portrait page. It seems like his drawings are going to burst out in all directions in a moist colourful explosion of cosmic tendrils and Godly vapours. Cunniffe's skill in the flatting shouldn't be forgotten, though. The melange of colour mixes, the gradient effects over many panels and the disjointed, but oddly beautiful clashes of contrast and colour make for an incredibly desirable piece of art, as well as making yours truly blush with the overuse of superlatives.
ODY-C is stunningly beautiful, exciting, tantalising and supremely collectible as a comic. It could also become a recommended text for greek scholars and this makes me happy. The letters section is rife with comments of how non-comic readers had been converted after reading. it is rare to see a re-imagining so well made.
A look inside....
Looking Backwards to the first Issue of ODY-C and more from Matt Fraction
Comic and Images courtesy of Image comics.