Chapter One: Pathogen
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I most likely say this every time they have a new book out but… I’m overjoyed at any occasion I get to read a comic with the names Barnes, Goode and Hughes on the cover.
I’ve developed a good working relationship with the guys over the last few years and it’s a genuine pleasure to get to read the content they are putting out. I’ve talked at length about why I enjoy the Snow: The Dawn world and so when this project came up I was intrigued to see where they would it next.
The story that writers Nick Goode and Luke Barnes have crafted is the endpoint to the world of Snow and this is the beginning of that end. Through various projects involving others writers and artists the world has adapted and become a creative sandbox of sorts. With Goode, Barnes and artist Harry Hughes taking on the role of curators of its future.
With that in mind Odyssey feels very different to its predecessors. The noir aesthetic has been jettisoned and replaced with something which is more rooted in science-fiction and horror. Reading it for the first time I was instantly reminded of classic, early Dark Horse comics based in the Alien franchise.
A lot of that influence comes from a much more aggressive style of pacing to the story. With two separate, tense story lines at play the book builds a sense of urgency to the unfolding crisis. To call this a page turner would be an understatement. Importantly Odyssey‘s first chapter doesn’t forgo the level of detailed storytelling we’ve witnessed in previous releases for the sake of action.
Story beats are still very well thought out and the linear narrative flows well despite jumping back-and-forth between two different story lines. Both unfolding situations are equally engaging and though ultimately connected they are very different in their subject matter, at least in this chapter.
The subject matter of a water born virus decimating what is left of humanity also doesn’t feel like a huge stretch for Snow. It’s an intriguing plot point which deserves further exploration but also an excellent jumping off point to craft this type of zombie-esque story around.
The story was originally set to be released in one book but was later split in to two chapters. The end of this book feels very fitting in that is closes off this chapter well, leaving enough intrigue for future adventures without leaving the reader unsatisfied.
I interviewed the team on our podcast recently (listen here) and spoke with Harry about his approach to the artwork in this book. It’s an excellent listen but what struck me most when reading Odyssey is the use of colour.
As Snow: The Dawn began life as a black and white project it was interesting to see the world in full technicolor. There are some incredibly striking uses of colour here, particularly reds… blood reds.
The cover (below) is an shining example of Hughes artwork. Some artists will focus on character features whilst others are more inclined to craft engaging environments. I feel like Hughes is able to balance both aspects well.
All of the key major elements are well represented but beyond that there are layers of detail which culminate in a book which is as engaging visually as it is in story.
Odyssey is another great installment from the Snow: The Dawn universe. It showcases the versatility of its creative team and the world they have developed.
Odyssey #1 is written by Nick Goode and Luke Barnes with artwork by Harry Hughes.