The end of the first arc of ODY-C is upon us, gang, and boy is it a doozy on all fronts. Odyssia and her crew are stranded on the planet of Aeolus, who is one of the only men in the known universe and uses that status to his advantage (read: he has started a gross harem with mostly his wives and daughters). He offers Odyssia a new engine for her ship (a starsoul) if he agrees to take him with her out into the stars. She figures a way to leave him behind, but also has to leave a few of her crew members, and the starsoul turns out to be more than her ship can handle. Meanwhile, Poseidon reveals the treachery of Hypnos and Hera to Zeus, who is about to go HAM on the rest of the Olympians for treating her like she doesn’t matter.
So, in keeping with the rest of my reviews for this series, the plot in this issue got a lot more confusing, and the art got a lot more mind-bogglingly awesome. This is the first time that Fraction and Ward have brought in a 100% male character since the reveal at the end of issue 1, and they have a lot of fun playing with that gender dynamic throughout. While there’s a clear sperm-going-into-a-vagina sequence for the new engine of the ODY-C, there’s also a full-page montage of bearded Hera getting herself looking hot to seduce Zeus and end the Trojan War. It’s that kind of chopped-and-screwed attitude this book has that I really dig; they’re not always hitting the mark, but they’re always trying to display gender as the fluid spectrum that it is, as opposed to a rigid dichotomy. The female characters have masculine traits (Odyssia and Zeus both seem to be built like linebackers, for example), and the masculine characters tend towards traditionally feminine characteristics (Telemachus has a very elongated face that comes to a tapered chin, Aeolus looks like he’s wearing makeup). It’s genderbent in the best, most celebratory sense of the word.
Ward is, of course, a master. Every issue, he hits maximum Warditude, and then the next issue, he outpaces that by a mile. In this issue alone, the seduction montage, the Hypnos chamber, and Odyssia trying to fly with the new starsoul deserve special mention. That’s like, at least a solid 40% of the comic that is above and beyond the usual masterpieces in this book, and the rest of the book still beats the ever-loving crap out of mostly everything on the shelves. The fact that he does his colors himself (with the assistance of Dee Cunniffe) just makes him the comics equivalent of the triple threat; a force to be reckoned with.
Having said all this: I think I’m done reading this book monthly. The plot of The Odyssey lends itself well to comics, but it almost seems like there’s too much to fit in each issue. By the time the next issue rolls around, I’ve either forgotten the Olympians plot, or I’m super confused about the Odyssia plot. I stuck around this long because I love Fraction’s style and Ward’s work is staggeringly great. I think I’ll be happy to collect this one in trade. Get a lot of the plot at once, so you can start to see the arcs, and then set it aside for a bit. Otherwise, this is a series that could very well make you overload. O captain, my captain, I will miss the eyegasms you gave me every month, but we’ll catch up on the trades.