Ever thought to yourself, “man, I love The Odyssey and all, but it’d be even better if it took place in deep space during what seems to be an intense acid trip and gender roles were completely swapped?” Matt Fraction and Christian Ward have you covered. Is it good?
ODY-C #1 (Image Comics)
If there is one word to describe this opening issue, it would be “ambitious.” Right away we’re thrown into a story with little explanation, left to piece together just what’s happening as the issue goes on. It’d probably be easier to grasp if you can think back to your high school reading of Homer’s epic, but since freshman year of high school was a decade ago, I’m a little rusty with my historical literature. That’s not exactly a deterrent, mind you—it’s interesting to see this play out with somewhat of a clean slate.
At its core though, it’s a retelling of The Odyssey with women instead of men, taking place in deep space with thought-powered spaceships. …Okay, so it’s a little different than the original source material. Names, however, are mostly preserved (or changed slightly to conform a little more with gender norms, e.g. Odyssia instead of Odysseus), so it’s easy to grab a hold of the cast of characters even though this ain’t your grandma’s Odyssey.
The grandiose artwork by Christian Ward is hallucination-inducing all on its own, and gives the gender-bending story a decidedly otherworldly feel. The word psychedelic is obviously going to be thrown around a lot to describe the aesthetics of this book, but there really isn’t a much better word to describe it. Colors are vibrant, wide shots are breathtaking, and closeups are abstract and dreamlike. There does seem to be a disconnect in quality between the wide shots of deep space and the ships and closeups of the characters, but I’m assuming that was the intent, to invoke that dreamlike quality.
Is It Good?
ODY-C is extremely ambitious, and an entirely new spin on a classic everyone should know at least a little bit about. This must have been like what The Odyssey seemed like to the burnout kids in the back of my 9th grade English class. Might be a head-scratcher to some, but the pure grandeur in both the writing and the trippy artwork is to be admired.
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