Lo, weary wanderers and witchjacks alike! Issue #2 of ODY-C from Image Comics, written by Matt Fraction with art by Christian Ward, is now available! (In my review of book #1, I stated it was due in stores on Christmas Eve, but it appears the book was delayed.) I, your steadfast captain, wanted to touch base with you all following the release of the first issue, moving on now to the second.
Did you find the first issue a bit perplexing? Did you just absolutely love it? Well, good news for you no matter your feelings on the first issue- the second, I felt, was much more accessible to readership, expounding on the mythos laid out in the premiere issue and even clarifying a good deal of the more esoteric elements of the story.
In this issue, goddess Zeus presents us with the history of the cosmos, detailing her eradication of the entire male sex in a very Macbeth-ian effort to prevent the children born of women from ever coming for her head, just as she overthrew Cronus before her.
We learn of the plight of Promethene, the book’s representation of the Titan Prometheus who was famous for stealing fire from the gods to give to the humans. Imprisoned by Zeus and aware of the plight of humans, Promethene gives life to a new being called the Sebex, which she creates through scientific processes to be able to reproduce with the ovum from a woman. The only catch? It would seem that Sebex offspring can only be women or more Sebex, seemingly ending the propagation of individuals of the male sex forever.
Zeus is still not pleased with this, and we see the introduction of the familiar concept of the lotus flower, which comes in the form of a smoked hallucinogenic derived from the plants themselves. The mind-numbing lotus was able to bring Promethene to a halt, the Titan becoming stagnant and eventually overgrown with more lotus flowers as she chased cerebral pleasures from which she could not withdraw herself.
Out of the history and into the book’s present, we see Odyssia and her crew encounter the planet of the Lotophages, where the captain orders for her weary soldiers just one session of the lotus-borne pleasures. She and her Sebex concubine travel down through a Dante-like labyrinth of lotus-induced sins like lust, gluttony, and avarice, among the other classical crimes, eventually reaching a quiet domain in which they smoke and briefly enjoy the presence of one another, before things become tense.
Back in Olympus, we get a closer look at goddess Poseidon, as she and Zeus debate Odyssia’s fate. Eventually, Poseidon’s stormclouds usher Odyssia and her crew to move onward, but not without leaving a few things behind, lost to the haze of lotus-smoke.
With this issue, being only the second, we can see where the world begins to depart from the Greek epic source material to develop into its own world. After reading this issue, I felt much more comfortable with the world and the concepts that were built in the first issue. The framework of this odyssey will appear familiar to those familiar with the classic poem, but there is so much to be found in the poetic writing and the psychedelic art style, enriching the experience of reading this book.
Fraction manages to make readers comfortable enough in knowing the bare basics of the story’s premise that he doesn’t need to spend eons providing background, instead devoting his time to detailing the rich mythos of this outer space war-torn world. It’s impressive, and if you haven’t already, I definitely recommend adding this to your pull so you can enjoy the monthly adventures of Odyssia and her crew aboard the swiftship ODY-C.
Issue #3, which comes out in print and online in February, sees the introduction of the Cyclops. Who’s excited? Nobody! Get it? Nobody?