In Review: The Omega Men #1

This excels as a reboot and has me hungry for more adventures from this team by these creators.

The covers: A “BEWARE” poster featuring Tigorr has been valdalized with the words “THE OMEGA MEN” scrawled above, changing this poster from a warning to avoid one member of the team, to a warning to avoid the entire team. The coloring on this is actually off-white and dark sand; it’s not a black and white image. Nice idea for a cover by Trevor Hutchinson and it looks great. Recruitment posters have been a genre in prints and posters in the last few years and it’s neat to see it carried into the DC Universe successfully. I’m hoping that there are more of these to come. The Variant cover is by Toby Cypress and this is something really different. I can identify no member of the team in the image, which is comprised of a blue planet, sporting a smiling skull on its surface, set against a red and pink background of several squares, with four yellow moons or suns around it. Running at the one o’clock position to the twelve is a figure in green with a rifle weapon. Circling the planet (stuck in its gravity?) are eighteen different aliens, all looking as though they are dead. There is a violet surface at the bottom of the image, signifying a different planet. A caped figure walks into the sunset, leaving a wake of flame behind him. This is a completely trippy cover and, having read this issue, I have no idea what it represents. To quote Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “I don’t know what it is, but I like it.” Overall grades: Both A

The story: A ship containing a compliment of soldiers arrives on the planet Ogyptu, the world of pleasure and contemplation in the Vega system. Its commanding officer records specific phrases so the citizens they encounter know what they are searching for. These phrases are “Where is Tigorr?”, “We will not hurt you,” “We are friends,” “Please, you must tell us. Where are the Omega Men?” Before the ships lands the scene goes for one page to the Citadel, on Abaetern, the world of lords and citizens, where the Viceroy and his aide share a conversation with only a few words in English: Omega Men, The White Lantern, Kyle Rayner, and Tigorr. When his subordinate departs, the Viceroy begins to sing while holding a chess sized piece of a tiger. Back on Ogyptu, a door is pounded on and opened by an elderly man who is immediately shot. The soldiers enter, their prerecorded phrases of not hurting anyone and being friends run counter to their violent actions. A location is revealed and things begin to happen. It takes a while for all five of the Omega Men to reveal themselves, but when they do I felt like I was back in the 1980s when their first series premiered. Tom King has captured the original rogue nature of the team, and I appreciated that. However, this is no retread, this is the reboot of the team. Tigorr and Broot retain much of their original personalities, though leader Primus is very different. There’s also a famous supporting character who made an appearance that surprised and pleased me, plus new character Scrapps seems like she’s going to be very interesting. This issue follows the preview from the back of one of the Convergence comics and White Lantern, Kyle Rayner plays a part in this tale. I enjoyed this story, whatever is going on, and I want more. Overall grade: A 

The art: I am a tremendous fan of Keith Giffen. He’s first in my heart for many DC characters, and it’s impossible for me to think of any other artist attempting to draw them. The Omega Men are among this group. Artist Barnaby Bagenda won me over in several ways. First and foremost, the use of nine panels. I am a die-hard fan of this mode of storytelling which Giffen used brilliantly in his Legion of Super-Heroes stories set in the infamous 5 Years Later saga. Bagenda isn’t a slave to this format, as is evidenced by the second page, but when he does employ it it’s brilliant. His second page is the surface of Ogyptu as the ship goes to land. It’s cinematic, and I loved it. Page 5 would have to be my favorite of the issue for its combination of text and images. It’s frightening and the repetition of such words with such actions is devastating. The first full page splash is on Page 8 and it shows the most famous member of this group emerging. I have to admit I don’t like the squished head on this character. It’s too similar to a Yorkshire Terrier. I think the angle of this image didn’t help the way I feel about this character, because he looks fine when shown from an even level, but looked down upon he’s too mushy looking. The original series was infamous for the amount of violence it had, which is nothing by today’s level of comics, even published by the big two, but this new team shows they’re more than willing to push the envelope with what occurs on Page 12. It’s graphic, and it’s done to show the change in Primus’ character, so I could roll with it. It’s an occurrence that happens all the time in comics, but rarely is it seen completely, and it’s shown for areason, not just shock. Bagenda shows a lot of skill with this book and has me eager to see what else he can do. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book continues the pastel trend that DC books have been going for of late (Batgirl and the upcoming Black Canary). Romulo Fajardo, Jr. makes it work exceptionally well. I loved the surface of Ogyptu, which appeared more weathered than traditional coloring could do. The exteriors behind the Viceroy on Abaetern add an air of off-ness with its sick pea greens. The old man’s face on Page 4 is beautiful with the coloring. The oranges in the eighth panel on the same page are great, as is the work done on the walls behind the characters. The pink skin of the antagonists beautiful spotlights the sweat coming off their faces when things start to go wrong. Sounds are in bold primary colors, with the reds of banging noises being outstanding in their strength. I really like the changing colors around Broot as he makes his way with a package, with the blood on the floor being both shocking and funny. Farjardo is winning me over as well. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Sounds, opening title and credits (which are fantastic!), dialogue, scene setting, Abaetern speak, computer text, a song, yells, screams, growls, Doc talk, Tigorr speech, and a closing quote from William James are all crafted by Pat Brosseau. They look fantastic. I’m always thrilled when aliens have a font unique to themselves to set them apart from all others, so I’m hopeful that Brosseau will get to do more of this in issues to come. Overall grade: A

The final line: I didn’t think a reboot of the Omega Men could work. This excels as a reboot and has me hungry for more adventures from this team by these creators. Here’s hoping the other new DC comics are as good as this. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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