What would happen if heroes of myth were dropped into the scenario of a brutal fighting tournament à la Mortal Kombat or Secret Wars? That’s exactly the tale creator & scribe Micheal Oden sat out to entertain readers with, in Elysian Fields.
The story begins with legendary hero of the Trojan War Achilles, downing the vicious King Memnon on the battlefield of Troy as he ventures on, he is downed by “Paris” (Oden doesn’t actually I.D the shooter by name in this issue with an arrow guided by Apollo.)
In a twist fit for comics, Achilles’ story doesn’t end there, he’s welcomed into the storied glory of the after-life, only to be snatched from its peace and recruited as one of Hades’ champions to compete in a bloody netherworld arena.
The art chores are handled by Marcelo Oliveira Costa whose illustrations bring a ‘super-heroic’ charm to the comic, which helps keep the various mighty legends of myth ‘just out of reach‘ of reality and lends itself well to the big action pieces taking place throughout the issue. There’s not a whole lot of kinetic energy throughout the characters in the panels (other than some hacked off limbs flying through the air and bloody action panels in the early pages of the issue) but this seems to be intentional with the characters locked into epic poses, braced for warfare, and ready to unleash savagery.
The story flows well enough and again aided with Marcelo’s sequential’s keeps you “in”, a page where Achilles enters the arena and begins to converse with Gilgamesh accompanied by the Bull of Heaven as a partner and King Theseus could have gone horribly wrong and shook readers right out of the tale in less capable hands. Some of the layout choices were curious, there’s two beautifully rendered B&W panels as Achilles faces off later in the book against Agamemnon that so deserved to be larger as a lot of detail was lost in the smaller scale presented. The very end of the Deluxe version of the book ends with 3 different looks at the series logo that some may find a bit odd but doesn’t distract from the story at all.
Where this book REALLY shines is literally it’s presentation, for this review I read through the “deluxe” card stock/foil-stamped cover option [$15 dollars not including s&h]. It’s a solid and ‘heavy’ 36 interior page “floppy” that looks expensive, with slick glossy pages inside. As a project funded on the Indiegogo platform its clear to see that a bulk of the monies raised went into the production of this book, which also adds to its value, beyond that a SUPER affordable $3 Elysian Fields #0 Floppy was announced sans the card stock cover but well worth the asking price for more budget-conscious consumers.
All in all, Elysian Fields is a solid read and pick-up for fans of mythic action and larger than life characters, not to mention the hours of debate it’ll stir amongst readers as their favorite characters of myths go head to head in Elysian Fields.
Creator / Writer: Michael Oden
Art: Marcelo Oliveira Costa
Cover: Jim O’ Riley
Lettering: Luke Stone