Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Omega Men #5 - DC Comics

THE OMEGA MEN No. 5, December 2015
Misleadingly advertised by “DC Comics” as containing “their most atrocious act to date”, Issue Five of “The Omega Men” doesn’t actually depict “the wretched” titular characters besieging “the holy planet of Changralyn” and taking “hostage its ruler, the wise and benevolent Space Pope Pontifix”. Instead it simply shows the “deadly outlaws” strongest member pummelling away at a sacred rock with his bare hands until, bloody and supposedly close to death, the “apostate” frees “the Key of Alpha” from its blessed resting place; “I am… I am dying. I am being only a Broot... I am being condemned… I am knowing truth. I am knowing Omega.”

Such a somewhat lack-lustre narrative is made all the worse by Tom King’s insistence on populating every single panel with as much dialogue as “the ex-CIA agent” can possibly muster. Something which must have proved especially wearisome to the 10,532 buyers of this twenty-page periodical as its ponderous plot progresses and the supporting cast’s convoluted sacrosanct-sounding conversations increasingly focus upon Broot’s “desire to escape sin”. Indeed by the time the grey-skinned behemoth finally smashes the heavily-chiselled, sanctified stone formation hard enough to release the tiny blue “key to salvation” and it becomes clear that the planet’s ‘Holy Father’ has “arranged” for the so-called terrorists “to be destroyed”, few readers could probably stomach even another small speech bubble solely stating “May it please Omega.”

Admittedly once the intergalactic Pontiff’s trap is sprung and the “people see that the Omega Men are humble before the Gods”, the American author’s storyline does momentarily liven up. Yet even the few scenes of the Citadel soldiers storming the Temple of Omega en masse and encircling Primus, Tigorr and Scrapps is frustratingly interspersed with pictures of “the high Pontifex of Changralyn” worrying his ‘fallen son’ Charis-Nar with even more perplexing ministerial mumbo jumbo.

Fortunately the one saving grace for this “beloved comic in the brand new DC launch line-up” is Barnaby Bagenda’s terrific breakdowns. The Jakarta Institute of Art freelancer is clearly aware that “sometimes you can’t put too much information in one small panel, otherwise it would looked cramped.” But that doesn’t stop him still creating, in collaboration with Romulo Fajardo Junior’s discerning colours, some exquisite-looking, highly-detailed drawings throughout this papal publication.
Writer: Tom King, Artist: Barnaby Bagenda, and Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Junior

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