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Comics That Blow You Away

It's a rare moment when a comic book can completely blow you away - when you stop reading the comic to declare, "Holy shit." It's rarer still to have two such comics come out so close to one another. And yet, here we have them: The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely and Ody-C #1 by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward.

If you haven't been reading Multiversity, the basic premise is that there is a multiversal threat called "the Gentry" that is destroying Earths. Each issue takes place on a different Earth. Pax Americana takes place on the Earth with the Charlton Comics heroes (Blue Beetle, the Question, Captain Atom, the Peacemaker). Those characters were also the basis of Watchmen, one of the most famous comic books of all time.


You might say that Pax Americana is Watchmen crossed with Memento. This is technically correct, but the book is also so much more: it begins with Peacemaker assassinating the President and then shows us just what this world is like. It shows us some heroes who — much like their Watchmen counterparts — work for the government (Blue Beetle and Nightshade) or are rogue agents (the Question, who has gone back to his Randian roots and lectures about morality as he kills bad guys). It intersperses the present with the past with even further back into the past. It presents us with a mystery and then lets us solve it ourselves. It can be read in any direction you want to read it.

Ody-C, on the other hand, should probably be read from the beginning: an enormous eight (!!!) page spread showing the end of the siege of Troia, which also includes a complete timeline of events and a map of the galaxy.

Ody-C is a space opera retelling of "The Odyssey," of course, but it also swaps all the genders: since, in the beginning, Zeus punished mankind by eliminating the entire male sex, all the characters are now either female or an intersex called "sebex." Odysseus becomes Odyssia. Only three male characters are mentioned: He (the comic's version of Helen), Kelex (prophesied to kill the Olympians and replace them), and Telem (Odyssia's son, based on Telemachus).


The whole book is so very trippy, with some strange and bizarre visuals contrasted with the straightforward, sometimes poetic words. Fraction puts those words in an "epic poetry" style, numbering everything like you would see in the actual Odyssey. And even though we've seen this story over and over again, this version is still new to us: there are new twists to old concepts and new stories to be told (specifically, we're told there are two other voyages of Ganem (Agememnon) and Ene (Menelaus)).

So yeah: if you want some insanely good comics doing some weird, unusual things, get these.

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