Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Omega Men #1 - DC Comics

THE OMEGA MEN No. 1, August 2015
Described by Tom King as “a brutal Space Odyssey that grabs you and twists you and won’t let you go”, this “revamp of a lesser-known DC team” originally created in the Eighties by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton, is a somewhat enthralling experience despite the comic’s opening narrative not actually making it all that clear as to what is going on. Admittedly the “former CIA operative turned author” had previously scripted an eight-page introductory preview story so as to explain the events leading up to this new series. But presumably not all of this book’s 30,158 readers had the opportunity to go online and enjoy “DC Comics” special sneak peek in which the Omega Men supposedly killed White Lantern Kyle Rayner and as a result became hunted fugitives of the Citadel…

Fortunately however the Washington-based writer’s script very quickly establishes that the star empire’s assault rifle-toting soldiers are clearly little more than the murderous minions of Abaetern’s Viceroy, as they shockingly gun down a hapless priest who isn’t expecting visitors to his ‘church’ for another hour. Whilst their prey, hidden by the local inhabitants of the planet Ogyptu, and consisting of a seriously odd-looking assortment of extra-terrestrials equally as armed to the teeth, are the title’s main protagonists; “We are friends. We will not hurt you.”

Having therefore quickly established the good guys from the bad, King then fills Issue One of “The Omega Men” with a series of tense action-packed scenes depicting the various refugees from the Vegan System dispatching their pursuers in a variety of blood-thirsty, rather graphic-looking ways. Foremost amongst these gory sequences has to be that involving the “savage Karnan feline fighter” Tigorr. Whose method of luring his unsuspecting assailants down to a gruesome, painful demise within a dark hole, hidden beneath a trap door “under the carpet” is as grisly as the hulking humanoid Catman is ferocious. Indeed the occasional team-leader’s claws are so formidable that when he corners the Citadel’s last surviving trooper, the squaddie coolly shoots himself in the head rather than be disembowelled by the furry warrior.

Equally as disturbing a killer though is undoubtedly the misguided nobleman Primus, who literally blows off the face of a “poor Citadel citizen” whilst offering the blue-skinned guard his most profuse apologies; “I am sorry. Very. I am very sorry.” In fact “The One Who Leads” appears so unhinged that having slain his foe, he then shouts at his robotic companion Doc, to “give him a look” just to “make sure he’s gone” and is not in any way suffering.

All of these proceedings are simply stunningly illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda. The Indonesian penciller really manages to imbue his pages with plenty of dynamism and life, not forgetting plenty of blood spatters, despite the majority of his breakdowns simply consisting of nine standard-sized rectangular panels.
Writer: Tom King, Art: Barnaby Bagenda, and Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Junior

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