The Pull List: Matt Fraction's ODY-C is One Crazy Trip

Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first isssue and tell you whether or not to follow that comic based only on that. I'm not going to lie, I'm a huge fan of Matt Fraction (HawkeyeSex Criminals), so when I heard he was doing a new independent series for Image, I was intrigued. When I read it was a space-themed, gender-swapped, re-telling of Homer's Oddyssey, I was excited.

Honestly, I'm always a little wary when it comes to modern authors taking on very old texts. It's quite a feat to modernize or re-tell classical works like Dante's The Divine Comedy or Beowulf or, in this case, The Oddyssey. I think it takes a certain amount of cockiness to even attempt to do so, after all, there's a reason that these classic texts are held in such a lofty regard.

With The Oddyssey in particular, we're talking about the origin of the "epic." A tale so vast and all-encompassing that most people probably don't even realize when they're making reference to it. To reconstruct something like that is going to take some serious dedication and one hell of a commitment. If this first issue is any indication, though, it seems like Fraction and artist Christian Ward are certainly on the right path.

The first thing that any reader will notice is that the book begins (even before the first page) with a giant fold-out, depicting Oddysia and her warriors on the battlefield on one side, and a detailed star map and history on the other. Reading this lengthy history, I was actually most reminded of the works of Tolkien. In the same way that he crafted a living, breathing mythology in which to tell his stories, Fraction here has also carved out the backstory for an entire universe.

While most of it is certainly inspired by Greek mythology, and The Oddysey and ODY-C share much in terms of backstory, it feels like Fraction has really struck the right balance between drawing too much and drawing too little inspiraiton. Greek mythology and The Oddysey certainly have influence here, but Fraction isn't afraid to veer off track where he sees fit in order to better fit the tale he wants to tell.

What really ties this whole issue together, though, is the amazing visuals from Ward. Fraction has always been a writer who seems to work very cohesively with his artist, the two mediums being used to their fullest extent to tell the story in his works. In ODY-C, this is no different. Ward's gorgeous and trippy visuals give the book a sense of scale not found very often in comics. The art feels like a classical painting as interpretted through the hyperspace of faster-than-light travel.

Understandably, though, there are those who will take offense to that description. I can't deny that there are certain times when it feels as though the art hinders the reader's ability to fully comprehend what exactly is happening, but I found that once I let go and just allowed the images to wash over me, I was fully entranced.

Sure, this story isn't for everyone. Hell, there will even be those who enjoyed Hawkeye and Sex Criminals who will probably hate this. But what Fraciton and Ward have created here is something big and larger than themselves - something that taps into art of the highest caliber. It's something that will sprawl and unfold over the next couple years, undoubtedly, and I can't wait to see it through.

Matt Overstreet's picture
Matt Overstreet is a writer and creator, who's been with the 8CN since the very beginning. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and enjoys watching bad Nic Cage movies, playing too many video games, and reading silly books. You can follow him on twitter, if you are so inclined: @chilidog0.
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