writer: Matt Fraction / artist: Christian Ward
The first issue of Fraction and Ward’s ODY-C was a masterstroke in innovative storytelling and re-imagining of a familiar tale. With a story this large and sprawling, issue 2 steps back a bit in the narrative in order to go forward. Not many things can make a bigger splash to introduce your this installment of your comic book then having a full spread of Zeus ripping her father Crono’s head off to introduce the goddess’ power and wrath, and yet, here we are. The story of Zeus becoming queen of Olympus and her divine solution to the murderous tendencies of children (which of course she knows firsthand) take up most of the space in this issue. This isn’t a bad thing, as there is a deliberate line drawn between the likeness of Zeus and Odyssia, probably more than we ever saw in the original Odyssey. If you notice I keep using “her” to describe Zeus, that’s not on accident. And if you notice we haven’t used “he” yet as a description in this comic book and that’s not by accident either. What I (and I assume others) assumed was a direct gender swap for the prominent characters in ODY-C is actually more of a gender annihilation. Zeus’ solution to prevent the rise of traitorous children in the world with eliminating men altogether is surprising, but probably not as surprising as the effect and the direct result she didn’t expect. This manipulation of gender is not just different than the norm, the turn it takes in this book is almost political and daring as it both puts women and transgender women in positions of strength while at the same time makes the existence of gender overall trivial.
The art for this book is just wild. Beautiful and experimental and crude, but ultimately effective. It carries the same level of innovation as the first as there will be pages and pages in this book where you can’t find a straight line anywhere. Fraction is going to be the big name on any project he’s involved with, but this story cannot be told this way without this specific art style and its effectiveness.
Less action happens in this second issue of ODY-C but it does feel that they have finished setting the stage for Odyssia’s trek home. This, is going to get crazy.