It took Indian comic books a little time to drink that whiskey neat and transform into graphic novels. Unfortunately, getting coached by graphic novels like Sin City, Watchmen and the likes, I tend to gravitate towards excellent artwork and some dark stories. Somewhere am almost convinced that happy graphic novels are a myth, they also should not exist.
When I took on Satya Police and Odayan - Aarambham, I wasn’t too sure if it would be fair to pick a favourite from the start. But by the end of it I realised that I should have just stuck to what I had singled out as a favourite. Satya Police, created by Mohit Shrivastava and Gagandeep Kochar, seems to be the graphic novel version of a very bulky Chulbul Pandey, just that this police officer is so perfectly good that he’s the only person with a white shadow. Satyavrat Bhargava protects Satya City with his iron fists and wait for it... his boomerang. No firepower here. As the commissioner of police narrates, he did offer Satya all the guns in his arsenal. To which the police officer, who never takes his cap off, says, ‘Thank you Sir lekin baarood jeb me nahin jism mein hona chahiye.’ I can almost hear whistles and catcalls in my head.
Satya is a man of principles, he does not respond to incursions till he finishes the last sip of lime soda. Why? ‘Lime soda me desh ka namak hai! Pay respect!’ Oh and while you are at that remember that he speaks only in his matribhasha and doesn’t break bones on Tuesdays.
Satya has everything under control of his hefty fist in the city named after him; though everyone does want to know, including the CBI, why Satya never takes his cap off; a plan brews beneath it all to get Satya away from his utopia to No City. Now No City is the exact opposite of Satya City. It has one bus that helps the citizens commit saamuhik aatmahatya. In a city ruled by criminals, petty thieves and the Panchayat, anarchy looms large. As Satya arrives there all hell breaks loose in his former city, but true to his word, Satya decides to stay on at No City. To change the hell one bully/criminal at a time.
On the other hand, you take a step back in time with Odayan - Aarambham. Created by Suhas Sundar and Deepak Sharma, is the beginning of an epic story of a mysterious criminal vigilante Odayan, based in the backdrop of Feudal Kerala. Not your regular Robin Hood, Odayan appears with his stark face paint and lethal marital prowess. He is on a killing spree and a hunt of Parashurama’s axe fragments.
As the legend goes – there were 21, spread all over Bhargavakshetram. Twenty one pieces given to twenty one masters (this is where JRR Tolkein wakes up and starts paying attention) in a land prophesied to forever know blood and conflict. Aarambham introduces us to some brilliant characters – Unni, the little boy who sees his father being killed by Odayan, beautiful Cheeru who transforms into the angry and lethal Unniaarcha and swears to kill Odayan and last but not the least, Barbossa who wants to face Odayan in a battle of equals and then beat him.
Odayan has some brilliant artwork, the incredible colours stand out amidst the black and white spelling out a stunning story in blood and revenge. For the martial art buffs, Odayan is all about Klaripayattu and the insane weapon – the Urumi. Not much has been written about this weapon – but when it comes to weapon-porn – this one tops our list. I most definitely am going to make sure that I pick up the next edition as soon as it is out.
Satya Police is the first of the series as well, though am not entirely sure if I want to go back for the next. If I do it will only be for the cracker of dialogues Satya unleashes. Neither the mystery of the white shadow or his cap got me interested enough.