We’ve all read or seen Homer’s The Odyssey in some form or the other. It’s an epic saga that details one man’s journey home, a tale retold and reimagined countless times since the 8th century BC. This last week saw the launch of Matt Fraction and Christian Ward’s ODY-C, an intergalactic, gender-swapped version of Homer’s classic. It’s absolutely stunning to behold and effectively channels what has made the original a timeless tale.
The story opens after the fall of Troiia, home of Paris and her stolen bride He. All of Achaea has come to sack the city, but only three ships remain, captained by Gamem, Ene, and Odyssia. They have recaptured He and Odyssia begins her journey back to Ithicaa. But the Gods are displeased with Odyssia and the ten-year journey home will fall prey to a few detours along the way.
Though it’s a familiar story, Fraction does a good job of making it feel unique, particularly through the new setting. The ocean-realm of Poseidon has been relocated to the black seas of space and the barbarian horde of Cicone has been reimagined as a fleet of space-pirates. It draws on the familiarity of the story without ever feeling tedious.
Interestingly, the story is told almost entirely through captions. It makes the story read more like an illustrated epic poem than a comic, which I found to work really well in this case. Even though the story is mostly told through narration, there are still plenty of strong character moments. Fraction’s script showcases a range of emotions and humanizes these alien legends, allowing readers to empathize with these outlandish creations. Letterer Chris Eliopoulos contributes a great deal to keeping everything clear and understandable with color-coded captions.
I enjoyed the script quite a bit, but the real standout here is the artwork by Christian Ward. Each page is a spectacle, bursting with psychedelic colors and whimsical character designs. The coloring work here is superb, bright and bold and uncompromising in presentation. What impressed me the most is that despite these magnificent, page-spanning images, there’s never a moment where the story isn’t clear. The layouts are precise and the action scenes combine larger battles with small panels of individual actions. I want to give special mention to the absolutely beautiful, fold-out 8 page spread in the beginning of the book. It’s worth the cover price on its own.
I had high hopes for this book, and it absolutely blew past all of my expectations. This is not a series you want to be late on. Go out and find this book immediately. You’ll be glad you did.