BANGALORE: Suhas Sundar and Deepak Sharma's Odayan:Yuddham, the second of two volumes, brings together the single-issue Odayan comics published by Level 10 Comics.
Set in feudal Kerala, Odayan tells the story of a mysterious and dangerous vigilante/criminal who is simply known as Odayan. Based on the legend of Tachcholi Othenan, a mighty warrior, who lived in the 16th century, respected even by the Zamorin (the Hindu royal rulers, based in Calicut); Odayan is a tale of revenge and perhaps the search for ultimate redemption.
The story is set in a place called Bhargava Kshetram, against the backdrop of 15th century Kerala and Zamorin’s rule.
Donning the mask of a Kathakali dancer, our vigilante is all shades of grey. He is both merciless and helpful (only when it suits his needs of course). He has a murky past that has forced him down this lane of retribution, and he simply loves chaos. Odayan is a villain you'll love, despite your better judgement.
The first volume, Aarambham, did not reveal his intentions too clearly. You see Odayan building an army of criminals, forging allies through favours and force alike, hunting down enemies; but the ultimate aim is yet to come through.
It's only in the second volume that some of his plans become clearer. After the Zamorin's throne, Odayan wants to challenge the ruler's dynasty and it looks like he could win.
The artwork is simply gorgeous, especially the kalaripayattu panels.
There's a lot of detail and the research is quite evident when you take a close look at the panels — the strikes, kicks, forms and weaponry are quite accurate and look authentic, even to the discerning eye.
However, where the artwork ultimately fails is in the finer details of the characters themselves. Some of the men and women look too alike, making it slightly difficult to keep up with the story, especially when you take breaks while reading.
Odayan manages to stand tall on his own too feet with a fresh take on the anti-hero element.
This is no comic for children either and in a market that's yet to hit its peak, we hope that publishers like Level 10 comics will improve their marketing strategies, so we can have more comics for adults flooding book stores. Odayan can be bought at level10comics.com.