Matt Fraction (W), Christian Ward (A)
February 25, 2015
After a century of war, Odyssia and her warriors have left Troiia in ruins. Despite their victory they have many challenges yet to face, not the least of which is the ire of Zeus and Poseidon. Having dealt with treachery on her own ship and resisted the temptation offered by the Lotus-Eaters, Odyssia is once again on the path home.
Ody-C #3 begins with a flashback to the birth of the goddess Apollo. Or is it Dionysus? After the tale of her birth, her two names are used interchangeably by other characters. But don’t let this switcheroo confuse you; I swear it’s intentional. Fraction writes in “The Rose-Red Fingers of Dawn,” the letters column of Ody-C, that he merged the two characters to avoid an otherwise inevitable deus ex machina built into the original narrative.
By combining Apollo and Dionysus, who respectively embody order and chaos, and bringing these concepts together in a single being, the Ody-C team has created a dynamic in which Apollo’s current favor for Odyssia could turn at any moment. Fraction also writes that he “couldn’t help but connect wine to Dionysus, to chaos, rather than orderly Apollo.” The wine Fraction refers to is given to Odyssia for saving one of Apollo’s temples and is instrumental in her battle against the Cyclops.
This Cyclops to be exact:
This is where we find our heroes when we return to the primary chronology. After crashing into the jungle planet Kylos, Odyssia and her crew discover a gigantic monument, far too large for any humans and dotted with troughs full of rotting carcasses. They soon learn that this is the home of the Cyclops, a monstrous, abandoned daughter of Poseidon. The last nine pages are spent in battle with the beast, and leave the ultimate fate of the Ody-C unknown until the next issue.
I usually have to reread each issue of Ody-C in order to fully wrap my head around what’s going on, but the character shuffle that opened this issue threw me off a little more than the others. Of course, having to reread a comic like this one is more enjoyment than punishment, and in doing so I always pick up on details I missed the first time around. This is most noticeable in the detailed artwork. Ward is meticulous and thorough, and, though I’ve gushed about his panel work before, I’ll do it again. The movement of his pages smoothly leads the eye from one sequence to the next, helping to clarify what can sometimes be a confusing narrative. A few panels in particular stood out this time around. One of them was this sequence from the crash landing on Kylos. I love how rough and jarring these three images are, and that just by looking at them I can almost feel my teeth rattling:
Another was this image from within the Cyclops’ cave. As she tosses women down into her trough, Ward adds the overlaying panels that actively pull the eye down into the carcass-filled pits. We are not just watching the women fall, we are falling with them.
If you’re just getting started and feeling overwhelmed, then absolutely do a bit of background reading on the Odyssey. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go and read the whole thing; the Wikipedia page will suffice. But don’t get too hung up on discrepancies either, as the further we get along in the story, the more I expect Ody-C will deviate from the source material. In fact, I hope that it does; as much as I enjoy reading ancient epics in my spare time, Fraction and Ward have created such a unique world with this comic, and I look forward to seeing them go places that other adaptations have shied away from.
Don’t forget to pick up issue #4 March 25! We’ll see how the Cyclops fares against Witchjack Odyssia, and where her fortunes (or misfortunes) will take her next.