Saturday, June 19, 2010

Odysseus The Rebel

Written by Steven Grant
Art by Scott Bieser

This graphic novel written by comics legend Steven Grant is about Odysseus, the hero of the Trojan War, and his long journey home.  This is not the Odysseus of Homer though, nor is it Eric Shanower's

Instead, Grant tells a very modern, at times metatextual, and frequently funny version of Odysseus's long journey, and his conflict with the gods.  In this story, Odysseus never accepts the will of the gods, instead railing against them at every opportunity.  He is presented as a stubborn man, as is Penelope his wife, who has refused all suitors for years, in the hopes that her husband would return to her.  This hope is echoed in the actions of their son Telemachus, who searches for his father.

Grant makes use of more modern references in his story, and has Odysseus questioning his own place in legend.  There is an acceptance among some of the men and gods in this story that the age of gods is ending, and that people like Odysseus and Achilles will become more a part of a future cultural landscape than they would be.

At its core, this is a story about pride, and the far-reaching effects that pride can have on a people, or a land.  This is a very intelligent adaptation, made all the more so for its deceptive light-heartedness and Bieser's breezy artistic style.

This was a sudden purchase at a used book store, and I'm very glad that I picked it up, as it's one of the better graphic novels I've read lately.  I recommend tracking it down, but it can also be read on-line at the publisher's website.

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