Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review - Ody-C #1

"Cunning Odyssia prays."

When you're far from home, you either like being on the road or just wish you were back in your bed. Odysseus was a man who started to enjoy being far from home, but then did everything in his power to get back. It's a timeless story that's getting a space opera treatment in Ody-C #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Christian Ward, flatted by Dee Cunniffe and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos.

An epic 26 centuries in the making: In the aftermath of a galactic war a hundred years long, Odyssia the Clever Champion and her compatriots begin their longest, strangest trip yet: the one home. It's a tale all too familiar to many, save for the gender swap and alarmingly trippy feel.

The tale of Odysseus is one rife with peril, danger and excitement. It's also extremely well-known, which gives Fraction an advantage in Ody-C #1 in that he can tap into that knowledge on the part of the reader. Where Fraction takes the story though is a direction that's significantly more ethereal in many ways. Odyssia plays the part of the hero destined to make her way home and Fraction's space setting raises the stakes dramatically. Her trials and tribulations feel grander, even though her journey has been told and retold countless times over the centuries. There's also some fantastic nuances to how Fraction presents the story, leaving in what seems to be a lot of the direction from the script left in, which gives the reader the sense that they're watching Odyssia as she makes her way through the universe.

The look and feel of Ody-C #1 is very unique and Ward does a fantastic job of creating a rather glorious setting for Odyssia to make her way through. The painted style makes the work feel as old as the story it's based off of, with all the characters showcasing larger than life personas. There are some pretty breathtaking spreads throughout the book as well that further underscore the magnitude of this work. The book also pops with vivid colors that converge on one another to present what essentially appears to be a dream manifested in a comic book. In other words, the art is fantastic and fits perfectly with Fraction's narrative.

Ody-C #1 came from a desire to collaborate between Fraction and Ward; thankfully for everyone else, they managed to actually get together. The first issue is nothing if not ambitious and handles the well-regarded tale effortlessly, recounting the events in their own way that emphasizes women as the powerful rulers. Fraction's script is airy and floats along from one page to the next, giving the reader just enough to keep up. Ward's illustrations come across as if they were unearthed after centuries of hiding, adding a sense of antiquity to an already ancient tale. Ody-C #1 is a very interesting first issue that blends a great story with beautiful art, all while subverting social norms and coming close to creating their own Barbarella.

Ody-C #1 is in stores November 26 with interiors below.


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