There’s nothing else quite like “ODY-C” being published right now. That’s more true than ever with “ODY-C” #3, as Matt Fraction and Christian Ward take their version of Homer’s “The Odyssey” further into deep space while gods and mortals alike struggle with the hard decisions to be made.
Taking a story as old and familiar as “The Odyssey” and moving it into a different setting is nothing new, of course. Chances are, most readers have encountered it in some form or another, with some interpretations being less blatant than others. What makes “ODY-C” different right from the start, though, is the careful world-building that’s on display here. As “ODY-C” #3 opens with the birth of Apollo, we learn more about the celestial court, the gender fluidity of characters and the machinations of the gods. Most of this is brand-new to “ODY-C” and feels like it’s a direct result of Fraction thinking through the idea of a universe populated solely by women and the new sebex gender. That’s in part what makes “ODY-C” work as well as it does; this is carefully thought out rather than a quick search-and-replace. Everything from the ways in which Odyssia and her crew end up on different planets to the initial moment where they become lost all works in unison.
The one aspect of the writing that I’m not as completely taken with just yet is, ironically, Odyssia herself. I still feel like she’s a bit of a cipher; in many ways, some members of the pantheon feel a bit more developed. It’s still early but, right now, she feels like a slightly generic tough-leader-who-defends-her-crew figure. I want to see bit more of the wily nature of her inspiration; now that we’re at the Cyclops (who is, in many ways, even more gruesome than her original iteration), hopefully we’ll get that shortly.
Ward’s art is not going to work for everyone with its wash of lines and colors in a swirling, loopy manner. I find each page entrancing, with the art almost exploding off of the page. In the case of Apollo’s poor mother, Ward takes that descriptor to an extreme. The character designs are eye-catching and entrancing, and moments like the Swiftship crashing onto Kylos are hard to ignore. It’s a book that you almost just need to look at in order to fully understand; its sprawling style is fairly unique to comics these days.
“ODY-C” #3 is a comic I’m enjoying even as I want it to end up even better than it already is. As the world-building continues, hopefully the characterization will quickly follow. For now, though, there’s more than enough to entertain readers and make them want to see what happens next.