Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Omega Men





Over break, I indulged in one of my favorite activities: the back issue bins of the comic book store.

In doing so, I located the first issue of a comic book series that I always wanted to try but until now had no chance to.  That series is The Omega Men.
The Omega Men stem from an appearance in issue #141 of Green Lantern.  They are a cadre of alien characters from the Vegan planetary system.  The planets of this star system are entirely (or almost entirely) run by the Citadelians, a thug-ish race of hoodlums that are the cloned progeny of the demi-god son of X'Hal.  Doesn't make any sense to you?  Don't worry.

Our titular characters, numbering in the hundreds (!), are representative races from the Vegan system, all isolated for their positions as leaders in their races or their possession of super powers.  All told, however, the exact reasons for their singling out by the Citadel are not immediately clear, thus indicating there is something additionally special about The Omega Men.  What you do know right away is these Omega Men are breaking out, determined to bring the Citadel down.

In terms of characters, there is:
Primus, the leader of the society and possessor of psionic power
Kalista the sorceress (seems like there's always one)
Tigorr, the warrior were-cat (ditto)
Nimbus, ethereal creature and "wielder of the dark touch"
Broot, the enormous, rock-like defender  

Aside from their appearances in crossovers such as Invasion! and The Rann-Thanagar War, but this was my first introduction to the characters of The Omega Men.  I must say, I am impressed with the creativity involved.  Given that it is a science fiction series that takes place mostly if not entirely away from Earth, artist Keith Giffen was allowed to go all out in terms of the design of alien worlds and their constituents.  Sure, many are stock, bipedal characters noted above, but many of The Omega Men are wild in design.  They are the sorts of lifeforms one might speculate about in terms of evolution without earthly presuppositions.  I can't really put the character designs into words but if you imagine the vast diversity of the Green Lantern Corps, you probably get the idea.

That's the other thing.  This is not simply a superhero team book.  This is about an entire society with over one hundred members.  All of the foibles and failings that come with such a social structure become evident in this book.  Along those lines, the character of Broot becomes arguably the most interesting in the comic.

Broot hails from the planet Changralyn.  All of Broot's race are gigantic in size, incredibly strong, and nigh invulnerable with their rocky hides.  And yet, they choose a way of ultimate pacifism.  When Broot acts with violence to protect his family and all of Changralyn from the Citadelians, he is automatically shunned by his people for the transgression.  His family dies, he looses his home, and thereby becomes a great tragic and tortured character.

That first issue was enough to leave me wanting more.  Rest assured, I will continue seeking out issues of The Omega Men.  Be nice if they came out in a trade.


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