ODY-C continues to be one of the strangest and most engaging singular comics reading experience’s coming from a major publisher in 2015. While in some ways, issue six may be it’s mot straight forward narrative yet, it is also is most boundary pushing thematically.
ODY-C is a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey as a gender swapped space opera. It is a Matt Fraction book written almost nothing like anything the author has ever done prior with lush, flowing and intricately detailed visual story telling from artist Christian Ward. Issue six deviates from the main story line to focus on the books Helen of Troy analogue Trollio, a cosmic gimp from Pulp Fiction looking sex slave with a “cock that once launched in his honor ten thousand swift ships” Trollio is reading stories while waiting for Queen Ene to return from her adventure and the comic serves as an illustration of those stories he reads as they take life around him and inform his new surroundings while commenting on sexual politics. Artist Christian Ward recently discussed how he had switched over to digital from pen & pencil, but while the differences may be subtle in the finished product, there is a sense of grander scope and detail to his work here that improves on his already fantastic visual narrative. Ward’s art style gives an almost poetic visual narrative in the way it flows from one part of the story to the other and it’s incredibly vibrant and lively throughout. There is a way that he creates a sort of symmetrical abstract rhythm to his storytelling that is endlessly fascinating, with pages that feel like you will fall into them if you stare at them long enough. As stated above, Fraction writes like nothing he’s done prior in an attempt to mimic Homer’s style but it works in subduing what is often his very strong voice while still injecting his style of sex positive humanism and humor into the story that adds a level of gravitas to the overwhelming visual stimulation. This issue moves past The Odyssey to explore myths of Arabians Nights & Moby Dick while it pushes the boundaries of it’s portrayal of sex, love & slavery in ways that the series hasn’t yet, but it’s still ODY-C in all the right ways.
This issue almost feels like a turning point in a lot of ways, everything about it is familiar to the books ethos but enhanced. The visual’s are sharper, the writing is more effecting and the overall product has gotten better. This is the best installment for the series yet and it holds even greater promise for the books future.