|THE OMEGA MEN No. 2, September 2015|
Storyteller Tom King has almost certainly achieved his goal in writing a comic book which its readers will remember with this depressingly dark tale of mass murder and anti-heroic selfishness. In fact in many ways it’s actually rather hard to work out just who the ‘good guys’ really are in Issue Two of “The Omega Men”, because having blatantly allowed four thousand innocent inhabitants of the planet Ogyptu be slaughtered in retribution for the renegade band’s resistance against the Citadel’s “honoured viceroy”, it most certainly isn’t the “team of extra-terrestrial superheroes” lead by Pren of Euphorix.
Admittedly Joe Staton’s co-creations aren’t quite as despicable as the world of pleasure and contemplation’s purple-skinned overlord; a bald-headed, heavy, thick-set man who merrily negotiates the exact number of people to be executed whilst sipping tea with the population’s governor. But the Vegan System adventurers aren’t too far behind the Citadelian’s barbaric attitude towards the blameless, especially when they decide not to allow Kyle Rayner to save the hapless occupiers of the Asher Stadium and instead use the tyrannical regime’s preoccupation with the cold-blooded slaughter of their victims as a distraction to steal the viceroy’s space vessel.
Just as hard to stomach as these horrific and chilling atrocities is Primus’ supposedly logical rationalisation of his team’s actions. The nobleman would have the White Lantern believe that by fleeing the somewhat barren world, The Omega Men have somehow stopped the Citadel Fleet from killing “three times the number here… on Ogyptu or on Karna.” But surely if the group of rebels hadn’t abducted (and supposedly murdered) Rayner in the first place in order to draw the Corps attention to their system’s tyrannical plight, then the likes of Tigorr and Broot wouldn’t have had to fight for their lives against the viceroy’s soldiers to begin with?
Theoretical conundrums with King’s storyline aside, artist Barnaby Bagenda makes all the dreadful barbarism of this bleakly grim narrative thoroughly enthralling as a result of some simply outstanding illustrations. Many, such as the scene depicting a young boy being brought to his knees by his executor just before the trooper shots him in the back of the head off-panel, may make many readers unpleasantly uncomfortable. Yet such inferred violence simply reinforces the utter despair of the former CIA operative’s plot, and certainly isn’t as graphic in nature as the Indonesia’s drawing of a man’s brain bleeding onto the stadium’s turf towards the end of the Citadel’s sickening vengeance.
|Writer: Tom King, Art: Barnaby Bagenda, and Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Junior|