Published on February 27th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
ODY-C 3 – Review
Beneath a cover that recalls some of the original Star Wars comics from the 70’s or film posters from the same period, ODY-C 3 hits the ground running and plunges our heroine straight into peril, laser sword and all. As always, here be spoilers… Welcome back to one of the most rewarding experiences in the comic store right now; ODY-C.
This issue of ODY-C feels more traditional in its pacing, compared to the first two. While the start of the series helped show us the state of the universe that Matt Fraction & Christian Ward have created, issue 3 feels like everything is bedding in and the story is forging ahead into one of the most recognisable encounters from the Odyssey.
Opening with a flashback to an earlier stage in the conflict between Hera and her ever-wayward spouse Zeus (Seriously, is there ANY incarnation of Zeus who can keep it in their toga for 5 minutes?) we get a glimpse into how the gods might be all-powerful but are still bound by rules they must adhere to, no matter the cost. Take notes, this scene will be important down the line.
Coming the same week as The Wicked + The Divine 8, ODY-C 3 also features the introduction of this pantheon’s Dionysus. This incarnation of the deity is formed of living wine, similarly to Poseidon’s form albeit with different material. Hera is recruiting allies for her conflict with Zeus and wants Dionysus on her side of the table. I suspect we’ll see more of the pantheon get drawn in to this escalating conflict as the series progresses and Odyssia’s journey brings her into contact with the more of the gods and their children. Speaking of which, this issue features one of the most famous incidents of the Odyssey…
While the cover does give away exactly who Odyssia will be facing this issue, the issue starts with the aforementioned matters of gods, and then our heroes doing something, well, heroic. Coming across a temple to Apollo, the ODY-C crew help defend the shrine from the scavengers laying siege to it. Page 6 here is stunning, showing Odyssia and her warriors against a backdrop of the sculpted Apollonian temple hanging in space.
No good deed goes unpunished, however, and while Odyssia believes their journey to be under the protection of a grateful Apollo, the ODY-C is thrown off course by the malicious Zeus and Poseidon.
Echoing Homer’s Odyssey, the ship crashes off course, in a distant land; the crew short on provisions. The double-page spread of the ship’s impact is really striking. While the majority of the palette is reds, yellows and oranges, the use of blues and magentas help the whole scene pop. The interior of the cyclops’ cavern recalls the Silver Age Fortress of Solitude and its galactic zoo. Christian Ward’s work is psychedelic, fluid and on such a grand scale that I struggle to think of anyone producing anything remotely similar in style.
The design work that Christian Ward is putting in to this book is staggering. His cyclops here is even more disturbing than the Fiona Staples’ one we saw in Saga a few years ago. With a plethora of pendulous breasts and a jaw that only a Predator could love, the Cyclops is horrific. Equally the torrent of abuse she pours forth removes any sympathy we might have for her. Matt Fraction’s producing some spot-on dialogue for ODY-C. I do wonder if there was a moment where he wondered whether “If it bleeds, we can kill it” would be acceptable for Odyssia here. In Homer’s Odyssey, the name the hero gives is “No-one”, here it’s “All-Men” which I really hope isn’t leading into a “Not All-Men” gag next issue.
Continuing the trend for image Comics to feature kick-ass female characters; Odyssia and her crew are faced with a terrible situation but her spirit and tenacity remain unbroken. Odyssia channels her best Ellen Ripley here and you believe her. The look on her face makes you certain that she WILL win out. I wonder when her real crisis of faith will be. She’s oblivious to Zeus’ hand in their perils; perhaps that revelation will shake her. Assuming this Cyclops will meet a similar fate that of Polyphemus, I can’t imagine Poseidon will be overly pleased with her daughter being bested by the very mortal she’s trying to outfox herself.
ODY-C remains a book that deserves multiple read-throughs, both in terms of the art’s execution and the prose. There’s such a wealth here to absorb, from two creators who seem to really be singing form the same freaky, whacked-out songsheet.