By Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
This is a series that is all about the art. Everyone should be familiar with the story of The Odyssey so the real draw for ODY-C is the visualization of the liberties that Matt Fraction takes with the source material. Issue number three is a great example of this. There are many pages which could be sold as surrealist fine art if they were produced in the right medium. Basically, this issue is one small portion of a well-worn story, however you should be reading this series, at the very least, to see the works of art that Christian Ward produces.
The Odyssey is a story that has been adapted many times. This is one of the more literal versions, taking the general plot and putting it in a world that is more futuristic and contains far fewer men. It seems almost like Fraction just put this together to showcase Ward’s talent because while there are certainly some aspects that have been re-imagined in fascinating ways, ultimately we are receiving a pretty cut and dried version of the original story. This issue does pick up with one of the more memorable parts of Odyssia’s journey. One of the first things most people think of when mentioning The Odyssey is the cyclops. The cyclops as presented in issue #3 is scary and appears to be a formidable opponent to our heroine. It will be interesting to see how Fraction completes this arc, presumably with Odyssia finding a way out of the cyclops’ grasp and into Poseidon’s hands instead.
Ward continues his terrific work with the art in issue #3 as was previously mentioned. While Fraction has moved The Odyssey to a new time and place, the style of this book could have been taken down so many different paths. Ward not only illustrates the new gender identities and futuristic gear, but creates a whole world that is unique to ODY-C. The psychedelic colors mixed with the surreal settings create an alien feel that still manages to seem vaguely familiar due to the well-known plot points. The scenes in which the gods mingle with each other are especially abstract yet they feel right because the gods operate on a plane which Odyssia does not share. Ward also did an amazing job on the cyclops’ lair. Even in such an unrealistic style, the reader is able to feel the fear of entering the unknown and coming face to face with such a frightening beast. The fight between Odyssia’s crew and the cyclops is drawn in such a way that the speed and ferocity of the cyclops are easily recognizable. That’s not to say that the story is told perfectly. While the visuals are beautiful and are able to evoke the emotions desired by the creators, the surreal style can lead to some confusion about what has happened. Sometimes knowledge of The Odyssey can help in deciphering what has happened, but there are other times when it is best to try to figure it out from the context later in the issue or just give up and move on.
Even though the story is not the most original or compelling, this issue is still recommended for Ward’s fantastic art. It may not be the most effective way to re-tell The Odyssey, but it is one of the prettiest.