Reviewing Odyssey Volume 1: History Lesson

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Odyssey-Volume-1Odyssey Vol. 1 provides the backstory for Blazing Glory, a patriotic hero who has served his country since World War II and brings him to the present day.

At the beginning of the Odyssey, it’s hard not to notice the similarities between Blazing Glory and Captain America: Both are soldiers given extra strength to help the United States fight in World War II, both serve their country as patriotic guards for years afterward. Things quickly begin to diverge, however. Where Captain America’s story is, initially, largely optimistic, Blazing Glory’s is more cynical. He signs up “to make a difference” and finds himself subject to a magical ritual that kills him. The presidents he serves are not at all altruistic, and his fellow heroes are often vicious. The magical element grows more and more important as the tale goes on, with creatures such as Dracula entering the scene. By the end, Odyssey is heading out toward parts unknown.

Elliott’s decision to set Odyssey firmly in our world occasionally creates some dissonance and may rouse some political hackles on either side. Presidents are named as they order heroes to defend them from unarmed protesters, ask for guards in elementary schools, and otherwise misuse power, and the art makes them doubly recognizeable. It is hard at times not to question why, if the heroes are so prominent in this/our world things have not been changed more than they have.

The burden of the story rests on Blazing Glory, whoever, or whatever, he is. Elliot creates a man used to unquestioning obedience and to assuming that he is, give or take the odd extra power, normal. Through the course of the volume, Glory begins to question all of these assumptions and to break old alliances, while making new ones and strengthening old ones. literally joining with others.

Although the front does not indicate who drew which portion of the comic, Gastonny and Cypress have distinctive styles. One features a more rounded, naturalistic look. The other draws angled, distorted figures, although the near-caricatured presidents are still recognizable. Each gives a different feel to the comic. The first is more meditative, the second more in keeping with the twisted portion of the tale Glory is telling. Sakti Yuwono’s subdued colors serve to help unify the book.

Ending just as Blazing Glory decides he’s done enough unquestioning following, and just as he is realizing how much the magic ritual changed him, this first volume of Dave Elliott’s Odyssey is just getting started on the adventure.

Odyssey Vol. 1 is out from Titan Comics today.

Writer: Dave Elliott
Artist: Garrie Gastonny & Toby Cypress
Additional Inks: Miralti Firmansyah
Color: Sakti Yuwono
Lettering: Imam E. Wibowo

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