by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
What if one of the greatest and most well known literary tales was rewritten to in the modern age? Now, take that possibility and twist it a bit and you get Matt Fraction and Christian Ward’s Ody-C. The new series from Image Comics is an imaginative project wherein the creative team have adapted The Odyssey into a futuristic tale that expands across the universe with a nearly all female cast. Fraction set out to make a new Odyssey in the guise of Barbarella, and the opening chapter is certainly something to be seen.
Having the cover of a first issue so visually engaging as to almost appear glowing is certainly a strong foot forward in getting readers to pick up a new series. That is exactly what Christian Ward has done with the dressings of the book. Matched with a very strange, yet compelling type font and Ody-C is likely to grab the attention of most. The book’s art steps it up from there as print readers will find themselves looking for the end of the ribbon, much like a magician, as a gatefold spread stretches over eight pages of the issue. Christian Ward introduces readers into this re-imagined epic in the most appropriate fashion as his gorgeous and unique art style spans this massive display. Ward’s art is like no one else’s and he may be best known for his work on Infinite Vacation a few years back. Taking the idea of adapting the classic story for the cosmos, Ward has crafted a bizarre and psychedelic art technique. Deep reds, brilliant blues and yellows, the pages of Ody-C #1 are saturated in color. Ward’s pencils and layouts are unconventional and the finished art project has a raw energy.
Fraction wished to retell this epic in a brand new setting, recasting most of the individuals with females. Opening on the aftermath of a grand war, the three sisters convene before leaving the dismissed planet Troiia behind. Odyssia, Gamem and Ene embrace and Fraction writes a narration to explain the setting. In a nice nod to the original, the text of the story includes periodic numbering and much of the recognizable names and places take some form. The cores of The Odyssey, remains, but Fraction and Ward certainly have a story of their own to tell through this new lease. As of yet, though, it is not quite clear what that will be. Mostly, issue one of Ody-C acts as an introduction and an artistic tour-de-force. Odyssia is a fantastic character, even in her brief introduction. Fierce and unwavering, there is a brutality that Fraction captures and manages to communicate through the book’s events. Not only does is characterize a very solid lead, but the book also includes some impressive writing in its reflection on war, home and how a person can long for the fight over time
As an opening chapter, Ody-C is a good introduction to a new world, but it doesn’t completely succeed. While Fraction does a decent job adapting the elements of the original tale for this new setting, it is unclear just what he has to say in doing so. The first issue presents readers with a world, but fails to give it purpose. There appears to be a deep and distinct plan for the adaptation beyond the curious reworking of names and roles. Hopefully the rich character of Odyssia, matched with Ward’s work will move to incorporate a story that better justifies this exercise. For now, check out issue one, especially in print, and prepare for what lies ahead