REVIEW: (F.O.E) by Ryan Cody
Ryan Cody first came to my attention through the Wolverine: Weapon X 100 Project for the Hero Initiative. The piece he submitted was a wraparound cover. I have no artistic ability what so ever so I don’t mean to offend him when I say his style is cartoony, but it has an animated feel to it while being super detailed. Take a look at it for yourselves. The main reason I fell in love with this depiction of Wolverine was all the details. The seven snap shot pictures from all along Wolverine timeline are a joy for a Wolverine completest like myself. The use of colour too is what makes this stand out. The odd touches of yellow and then the red Weapon X visor and big X in the background. It is fantastic. I still to this day have it as my desktop background and Ryan Cody was one of the first people I followed when I got Twitter. Which brings me nicely to his latest web comic F.O.E.
F.O.E stands for Fata Obstant Expeditions. Which right of the bat is a fucking awesome title for reasons I don’t even know. The fact underneath the title it has ‘est.1732’ adds to the legacy of the story being told. I’m a sucker for stories told across long time spans. Without reading what Cody himself has to say about the story you get the sense its a real passion project. If you have read his previous work like Villains or Icarus you know what I’m talking about. Cody doesn’t waste any time diving into the action. There is no plodding along with over plotting. The reader is introduced to a variety of colourful characters and the reader learns as the characters do. We quickly learn that not only do the expeditions span time, they span the galaxies as well. As this is a web comic with one page coming every week it adds to the mystery. You get little reveals here and there and you can not wait patiently enough for the next page to drop. Chapter one was nineteen pages and he is currently half way through that for chapter two. It seems each chapter follows one character but all the players rotate in and out as needed for the story.
Eighty percent of the time you hear ‘mish mash’ its being thrown around as a negative. But F.O.E has at its core a genre mish mash that Cody makes work. There are elements of pulps and the old television serials. Space opera, superhero comics, crime capers, vigilantism and thats just in the first one and a half chapters. Moving on to the art now. The colouring is so vibrant, which I think works really well. As we don’t know much about the characters the vibrant pallete is an polar opposite to the grey mystery of the story so far. With Cody’s art too there is real energy. Movement lines are in place with purpose. If someone takes a big punch the way it is portrayed gives a real sense of taking a big punch. I once compared Ryan Cody’s style to that of Sean Philips.
Also with that said if you have read Sleeper you will like Icarus and thus also enjoy F.O.E. Like the multi layered story each page of the story is packed with detail. Little hints to previous expeditions, clues to where the story might go. Just brilliant. The locales in the story range from the overly sci-fi to the everyday street . Colour palletes for each being believable and varied. The characters are all distinct in appearance and cover a wide spectrum of diversity. A few weeks ago I reviewed DC’s New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. Like this I called that a passion project by the creator. What they also have in common is being my new happy place.
You should definitely consider reading F.O.E even if your not backing the Patreon. In this era where the big two seem to go for long sprawling often too convoluted story arcs F.O.E is a breath of fresh air. It’s like Ryan Cody sat down and as writer and artist said A) What would I like to read? and B) What do I like to draw? The result is a a kick ass comic. It delivers on entertainment and keeps the reader interested with clever plotting.
Heres where to find F.O.E www.fataobstant.thecomicseries.com In the new year I will be looking at my finances and possibly backing the Patreon. Until then I hope this review helps spread the word for a great comic by a top creator.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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