In this day and age, a simple, entertaining story just isn’t enough within pop culture – you’ve got have a universe. Well, Black Spot Comics have decided to throw their hat into the ring as Luke Barnes, Nick Goode and Harry Hughes, creators of Snow: The Dawn, offer another companion title to their Snow universe with this futuristic zombie offering, Odyssey.
Publisher: Black Spot Comics
Writer: Luke Barnes & Nick Goode
Artist: Harry Hughes
Price: £1.49 from ComiXology
Taking place in the far future of the Snow Universe (see also Snow: The Dawn and Eventide), the Human Race is on the verge of extinction. Years of climate change and conflict has lead to people becoming isolationist, and this reaches breaking point when a mysterious virus from the dead world outside begins to infect the last remnants of civilisation. With people contracting this virus turning into bloodthirsty animals, those left behind have one choice – to escape the Earth for the orbiting spaceship Odyssey. However, this is easier said than done for Edward, El and their children as they make their way to one of the last departing shuttles ,through a city of the monsters they hope not to become. But when the ‘infected’ find their way inside a secured compound, the family must pick up the pace in order to ensure they are not left to their doom.
Luke Barnes and Nick Goode provide an immensely enjoyable and gripping take on the zombie genre with Odyssey. It is fast paced and feels like it offers real stakes for its very well written characters. In that respect, Odyssey comes off as a very distinct entity (especially when compared to genre stalwart the Walking Dead) and looks more like Black Summer or World War Z mixed with world ending movies like These Final Hours or This is How it Ends. While the story is a spin-off from Black Spot’s previous Snow and Eventide titles, the connections are minimal enough that Odyssey feels like more of a separate entity. The issue does suffer from a lack of information relating to the ‘infected’, whom come across as maintaining an intelligence and ponder the question if they are zombies or some other horror monster variant. That said, this may be a question that is answered later and does little to impact Odyssey’s enjoyment based on this first issue.
Meanwhile, Snow universe artist Harry Hughes returns to solo art duties here with another solid turn out. On this occasion, Hughes’ pencils appear to be rougher than those he offered readers in the team’s previous two collaborations. However, this ‘roughness’ is actually a blessing in disguise as the style imbues a similar vibe to Alterna’s own zombie series FUBAR, which perfectly suits this very brutal, almost survivalist world.
This style is coupled with an incredibly hot colour palette for the landscape (including the ‘red’ sky at night), which really sells to readers that this story is not the beginning of a long ongoing story, but really the end of the world.
Finally, there are the visuals of the ‘infected’ as Hughes really portrays them in a severely sinister and unsettling light, as though they are still people who want to kill. This, add to the hauntingly monstrous lettering helps sell their dangerous nature perfectly.
Whether read in conjunction with their previous Snow titles or separate from them, the team of Barnes, Goode and Hughes have produced a superbly entertaining and engrossing story in Odyssey. While this comic is entering a genre with no shortage of competitors, its creative team have given it a distinct narrative and visual voice that helps it stand out and, if they continue where this issue started, their Odyssey could be a wonderful thing to follow.