Published on January 8th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
ODY-C #2 – Comic Review
Chapter 2, wherein we learn the gods’ history, and motivation.
If, like me, you finished the first issue of ODY-C and felt a bit like you’d suffered information overload, you’ll be pleased to hear that the second issue is a much more straightforward book. More than any other first issue I can remember, ODY-C #1 warranted repeat readings and digestion. It was incredibly dense visually, and the prose made a stark contrast to the average comic.
ODY-C’s second issue is a much more ordered affair than its first, and helps cement the concepts of the book. Several of the more notable questions left unanswered by the premiere are dealt with and everything seems to make a little more sense. Given that we started this odyssey in the aftermath of an epic war, the journey home *should* feel like a calmer affair.
Beneath a beautiful cover (Seriously, Christian Ward is producing his best work to date right now) of Odyssia peacefully sleeping, held by dozens of ethereal hands, the first page is a violent, kinetic splash. Showing the best use of thighs as an aid to murder since Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, Zeus starts to tell us her history which in turn explains to the reader why this universe has such a radically different gender-view to the world we know. Matt Fraction used issue 1 of ODY-C to wow us and leave us with many questions, then delivers in this issue by explaining a great deal about ODY-C‘s universe and why it’s so different from anything we currently know.
The first issue showed us mysterious characters referred to as “sebex” and here we learn what they are, and how they came to be. One of the recurring themes in the original Greco-Roman mythology was parent/child relationships and how frequently the children kill their parents. Zeus recounts the murder of her father, Cronus the Titan, and the realisation that, just like her, any of Olympus’ descendants could eventually become a threat to her and the pantheon. So *obviously* the ideal solution to this is preventing the birth of any more children. Zeus, the name is synonymous with good ideas for thousands of years…
Zeus refuses to allow the propagation of her children, by eliminating all men from the universe in an instantaneous genocide (Which is what it IS, how on earth would anyone procreate?) and kills or imprisons her children. Poor Promethene is driven mad by her confinement, resorts to the narcotic Lotus Blossoms and receives an epiphany; if there can be no men, there shall be a new way to allow humanity to procreate. And so the sebex are created. Able to impregnate a woman’s ovum and carry it to term, theoretically only capable of giving birth to another sebex or a woman, the sebex skirt Zeus’ decree. Harking back to the final page of issue 1, we along with Odyssia and Penelope, are aware that there is, against all the odds, a man-child. I’ve started to wonder if Odyssia’s hesitance at travelling home is an effort to keep Zeus’ gaze averted from Ithaca?
While Matt Fraction has set himself a colossal task with his intention to write the book in dactylic hexameter (I think!) Christian Ward has seemingly decided each page will be more intense, psychedelic and fantastical than the last. There’s a 6 page sequence where Odyssia’s crew dock at Promethene’s prison for some rest amid the lotus eaters. Look at these pages, really look at them, they’re glorious. The trip through Lotusworld brings back memories of Dante’s levels of hell, and Hell from Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. It’s a great way of showing the duality of the lotus blossoms benefits and the perils of overindulgence. An effective choice, given that this is a pleasure planet carved from a prison
There’s a nice contrast towards the end of the issue between Odyssia’s moment of peace with her lover turning to ire, and Zeus’s anger towards Poseidon turning to passion. The difference between god and mortal is seemingly not as great as either would imagine. As with last issue, Poseidon’s visual design is that of fluid space, filling the void where we estimate her body to be. It’s executed well and provides a strong character to Odyssia’s nemesis. The revelation of Zeus’s decree makes her traditional motherly figure seem jarring. Here’s the mother-of-all refusing to allow any more children; that’s quite jarring, and intentionally so, one suspects.
Matt Fraction is building this book up to explore a lot of conflicts and dynamics, although parent/child conflict and gender politics seem the main thrusts. That he is able to continue writing the majority of the book in prose is further proof that he is one of the best writers in comics today. Hawkeye and ODY-C could not be more different, and yet both are instant-reads the moment I leave the comic store. Similarly, Christian Ward’s style is perfect for a tale of gods, monsters, humans and travle across all of reality. With a colour palette that can veer from dreamy pastels to harsh, stark intense shades, ODY-C is one of the most distinctive books around.
ODY-C is published monthly, by Image Comics