Review - ODY-C #5
By Jon Evans
Story - Matt Fraction
Art and colours - Christian Ward
Flatting - Dee Cunniffe
Lettering - Chris Eliopoulos
Design - Christian Ward & Drew Gill
Cover - Christian Ward
Backmatter design - Laurenn McCubbin
Editor - Lauren Sankovitch
Issue 5 sees us arrive at the last chapter in the first volume of the stories of Odyssia and her plucky crew. Here we see Fraction's gleefully warped interpretation of Odysseus' encounter with Aeolus and the further difficulties he encounters as he returns home.
For Oddysia, this encounter is on Aeolia, where we left her in ODY-C #4. This is Aeolus' Death Star, a floating palace of porn in space where he lords it over all his many daughters. Aeolus is uniquely male in a story dominated by women and this is an important narrative lynch pin for this issue . Aeolus has a trade to offer Odyssia, a means to return home, much like the original leather bag full of winds offered to Odysseus and his crew. Again, Homer fans will know how this turned out, and thus is Odyssia's tragedy of the month.
Fraction's interpretation of this story is unique in that he uses his relative naivety of the famous stories to put his own space-opera spin on the events. The bickering of the gods, the use of sex and foul language fits perfectly with the style of the setting and characters. Much like the Romans, the Greeks of Homer's time were not the high concept puritanical god-like beings we imagine they may have been, dressed in white with their elevated philosophical posturing. The Greeks liked a fuck and a fight and a decent bout of sexual intrigue. Fraction recognizes this and brings it on in spades.
Ward never fails to impress in his artwork, although it's interesting to see him trying to outdo himself from one issue to the next, something he points out on Twitter often. Nevertheless, he succeeds, with the trademark rainbow palette and stylized design of the characters which hangs on a fragile balance between beauty and nightmare horror. A standout double page shows the ODY-C tripping the light fantastic with the relativistic distortion effects stretching the crew out in a crescent of rictus-filled, flesh-flailing horror. The reader shares the pain and fear of Odyssia's crew as they are flung further from their course. We are treated too, to Ward's truly terrifying primeval God interpretations that seem to take inspiration from Barker's hell-bound cenobites.
The author's notes are, as ever, fascinating and informative with clues to ensuing issues. Also present is the now regular column from Classicist Dani Colman who examined the theme of heroes in Homer's stories and their ability to cry openly. It's a fascinating read, especially from ODY-C's feminine viewpoint and highlights how different modern culture views masculinity. It is hoped that Coleman's contributions become a permanent fixture in these comics, they add so much to the understanding and enjoyment of the stories. Again ODY-C continues to fascinate, bewilder and amaze, and there is much excitement for first trade which comes out later in the summer.
You can purchase both the print and digital copies of this issue from Image