ODY-C, vol. 1

ODY-C, vol. 1Summary: An eye-searing, mind-bending, gender-shattering epic science fiction retelling of Homer’s Odyssey starting with the end of a great war in the stars and the beginning of a very long journey home for Odyssia and her crew of warriors. The journey to Ithicaa begins HERE, by Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals) and Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation, Olympus).

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ODY-C, vol. 1, by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward 7.5

‘ODY-C’ is an ongoing series by Matt Fraction that is inspired by Homer’s legendary ‘Odyssey’ (hence the title). Using the basic plot and characters of the original tale, Fraction refashioned it with female substitutes (i.e. Odysseus is Odyssia, Poseidon is Poesidon, …etc.), creating a universe of warrior goddesses traveling the stars.

It takes Odyssia and her crew aboard the ODY-C, after their war with Troiia, on a journey homeward. Naturally, they get sidetracked along the way and wind up fighting for survival after encountering the Cyclops, as well as escaping the clutches of Aeolus. Fraction has said that he wanted female heroines for his daughter to look up to.

Having never read the ‘Odyssey’, though I’m vaguely familiar with it and have obviously read or seen various representations of many of its characters (who are rooted in Greek mythology) in other media through the years, I didn’t have any perspective on the quality of Fraction’s interpretation, on the liberties that he took.

It’s dense stuff: it’s written in fragments, with much less exposition than your average comic book; it assumes that the reader can fill in the gaps – which, given the language used, isn’t always a given. Personally, I’m not clever enough to understand 100% of the minutia – but I could keep up enough to get the overall sense of the events.

The art is exceptional, and that alone bolstered my desire to plug away at the book. Ward handled all the penciling and colours and created a nearly-psychedelic feast for art enthusiasts. The best way to describe this book’s outstanding visual splendour is as a sort of hazy, watercolour, Moebius meets Peter Chung. It’s truly beautiful to look at.

But does it salvage the series? For me, ‘ODY-C’ is a lost cause. I just can’t keep up; it would be like asking me to read Shakespeare without the annotations, if not a Coles Notes. Having said this, I respect the talent that went into making it and I’m sure that some people must be absolutely enamoured with it. Its artistry certainly is flawless.

It’s a noteworthy, unforgettable, if challenging, read.

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