Review by Karl Verhoven
Odyssey occurs at a time when Aphrodite has removed the protection keeping Paradise Island hidden from the world. It’s been invaded, and the Amazons lost. Those who escaped are being hunted down, and that includes Diana, who doesn’t seem aware she’s Wonder Woman. That’s the scene-setting. The story is the fightback, or at least the start of it.
J. Michael Straczynski’s keeps assorted mysteries simmering as Diana is led from one place to another with no real idea of what it is she’s seeing and hearing, and why no-one else appears to be sharing those visions. However while that’s all well and good to start with, a whole book that’s little other than one war after an another with a convenient last minute rescue or improbable intervention is far from satisfactory. Taking the charitable view, in the myths the ancient Greek gods have always been capricious and self-serving, and much of what happens here can be seen as the random extension of that. However, it doesn’t make for a compelling read, with the odyssey of the title being Diana’s journey from one location to the next, possibly in a quest to make herself whole again. That’s a revelation for Volume Two, though.
Don Kramer is the primary pencil artist, delivering a heroic warrior without the exploitative imagery sometimes associated with Wonder Woman, and lively action scenes where realism is key even as the impossible occurs. The presence of other artists isn’t as intrusive as it might be elsewhere because they’re used on specific flashbacks or sequences occurring away from the main action, and none of them disappoint.
No, the problem here is the writing. Is this a reboot or some kind of mind game? Make up your own mind, as ambiguity prevails. “In the world that I see you have always been exactly as you are right now”, Diana is told early on, “and you have never been anything like what you are right now” the Oracle continues. It exemplifies the having it both ways narrative that frustrates throughout, and when Phil Hester becomes co-writer, his contribution is never defined to let us know if he has plot input. If so, he shares the blame for what seems to be a far more familiar background suddenly introduced after five chapters, and threats that hardly seem a match for what Diana has just seen off.
So far Odyssey has been very disappointing, but don’t give up yet as all is to be explained in the much better Volume Two.