Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ODY-C #1 Review (2014)

(NOTE: This review was originally intended to go up on Adventures in Poor Taste, but due to a mix up and someone already calling dibs on reviewing the book, this review wasn't posted there.  It is here instead to be enjoyed.)

(DOUBLE NOTE: Apparently, there was a big mishap and problem with the digital copy of the ODY-C when it was sent out.  Pages were missing or out of order apparently.  As such, this review you are reading is reflective of the initial release of the first issue.  Maybe my copy had no problems (It was sent out by Image themselves) and thus is the real copy of the first issue had all of the pages in it and not mixed up.  I don't know and won't find out unless I get a new copy somewhere down the line.)

Oh boy, we got ourselves a big here today folks!  It’s a brand new number one from Image by oddball/popular writer, Matt Fraction.  For some, this is a comic to get excited about.  The man has written things like Sex Criminals and Satellite Sam.  For me, this is a comic I’m walking in completely blind into and seeing what happens.  Is it good?

ODY-C #1 (Image Comics)

I’m not going to even bother explaining the story or giving a small plot synopsis about what happened.  It’s completely and utterly pointless.  There are these gods and they are possibly screwing around with the fates of these women and there are wars going on or something.  For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you or explain to you a single thing about what just happened in this comic.  This has to be one of most baffling, poorly constructed, trippy, and yet flat out boring comics I have read in a long time.

(If I find the in-story narrator, I’m going to yell at him to shut up.)

Seriously, I couldn’t tell you exactly what is going on in this story outside of three women having dealt with a war and apparently some powerful figures with Greek God names are up to something.  Reading the comic twice, it’s hard to really gather the exact details or explanation for what is exactly going on.  The narrative feels like it is going for a very flowery, pompous, pretentious, and purple prose like style.  It wants to be epic and intellectual, but it comes across as a pain and frustrating experience to read.  Nothing ever sounds compelling or interesting and the writing/dialogue/narration becomes rather dull to read, like one of those old books/poems you were forced to read in English class but with substance… which made some bit of sense after doing the research and seeing that this was an adaption Odyssey sort of.  Never read it, but from just reading this comic, it sure doesn’t encourage me to want to read the original.

If I had to compare to this comic to another story I have read, the closest I could compare it to was Drumhellar is some sense.  It’s a book that refuses to hold your hand.  It drops you into the middle of a world/universe with no context or backstory to it while also knowing nothing about the characters.  There’s no buildup, little to no characterization (if there is, it is hidden somewhere underneath all of the writing and doesn’t do a good job of making anyone particularly interesting), you often don’t know who is talking, and no explanation for just about anything.  You don’t know anything about these cultures, you barely get some hints at the personalities and relationships between people, the technology is weird and sometimes doesn’t make sense in how it works, and more.  It makes things and people hard to care about, since you can never form attachments or understand what exactly is going on.  A complex and unique narrative is one thing, but having absolutely nothing to latch on or get invested in does not remotely help either.

(….I’m not sure what the hell I’m looking at.)

Then there is the writing on the book and it is just as bad as the story.  Like stated, there’s really nothing much to the characters.  You barely learn anything about them, half the time you can’t tell who the narration is referring to with who just spoke or thought, and none of the relationships between any of the characters have any sort of strength to them since you don’t know enough about them or how much anyone really means to each other.  The dialogue and narration most of the time goes for that very flowery and purple prose like nature like stated, but sometimes mixes in a bit more normal, modern day lingo.  When that happens, it doesn’t fit and sounds awkward as hell.  You can’t go from a line like “Her majesty ruined, her wealth no more, smolders, a pyre in space” to “F**k the war.”  It’s out of place. 

The pacing and the storytelling are nightmarish, never letting the audience have a moment to fully take in what just happened or comprehend the scale of something.  It goes too fast, leaving the audience confused in its wake.  The transitions between scenes are just as bad, just randomly cutting to one scene and then to the next out of the blue.  It makes the comic feel very disjointed and even more difficult to read.  There’s no emotion, human element, or similar to make you feel something on a different level or get invested emotionally; everything here just feels hollow and shallow.  Then there is the ending of the book, which is completely abrupt and just stops.  No resolution, no big moment has happened, nothing shocking… it just ends.  There’s just nothing here to recommend with the writing or the story.

So how about the artwork?  Going back to that Drumhellar comparison, I feel the same way about the artwork here as I did there.  It’s honestly not for me, coming across as either A) Ugly looking with the poor body structures and mediocre facial expressions, B) has gaudy looking colors, and C) the bizarre and trippy layouts contribute to how poor the book reads.  However, it is a very unique and remember style to it that I definitely could see people liking.  It does have some interesting imagery and the sci-fi aspect is different than what I usually see.  But just as easily as I can see someone liking this still, I can see others disliking it just as much for similar reasons.  Honestly, the artwork may make this more or less the deal breaker for whether or not you’ll want to read this to begin with (you may want to flip through it at the comic shop).

(I’m sure this would make total sense to me if I was high.)

Is It Good?

ODY-C #1 is a bad start to this new series.  The story and characters are just not compelling, even if you could understand exactly what was happening.  Speaking of which, the narrative and storytelling are horrendous and make reading the comic a frustrating and surprisingly boring experience with how dry and lifeless it feels.  The artwork is interesting depending on who you are, but I could never recommend this comic in good faith to anyone.  Even if you are die-hard fan of Matt Fraction, definitely do not buy this unless you read it or flip through it at the store first.

Final Score: 2.0

+ Depending on who you are, you may like the artwork.

+ The story is near incomprehensible, with nothing to latch onto or make you want to reread it again.
+ The writing and dialogue/narration are terrible and boring.
+ A challenging narrative for all the wrong reasons.