Almost one year ago, I took it upon myself to add The Omega Men to the review list due to Kyle Rayner’s involvement. I was a harsh critic early on and I almost dropped the series because I couldn’t initially comprehend the themes and overall message that Tom King and Barnaby Bagneda were conveying. Fast forward to now and with DC: Rebirth on the shelves, it’s sadly time to see the Omega of this story and bid farewell to this motley crew of revolutionaries/terrorist before the story ends. Praise be to Alpha and Omega.
Finales are possibly the most difficult aspect when writing a particular story. Over ten years of reading comics weekly and seeing an absurd amount of finales, with many of them falling right on their face. So despite the amazing quality that The Omega Men has shown each and every issue, my inner cynicism crept into my mind. After reading the issue, I can firmly say that Tom King and Barnaby Bagneda absolutely nailed this ending. A big key to my enjoyment of this issue was King using Kyle Rayner’s inner heroism against the blood thirsty Omega Men.
With this entire series circumventing the typical tropes of superhero comics in favor for a different type of storytelling, so when Kyle brings up the notion that the Omega Men can and should be better than the Viceroy doesn’t come off as preachy but instead meaningful. It gives weight to the situation at hand, which is a perfect demonstration of having a character constantly repeat their motivations over and over again becomes dull after a while. Despite Kyle’s attempt to lead The Omega Men down a darker path, the Viceroy (and just reading the actual series) that these characters despite the emotional turmoil readers have seen them go through, they are still not good people. This is only reinforced when King gives a small epilogue on the characters after they disbanded. The theme for this issue and by in large the rest of the series, is that nothing in the Vega system is black or white. As Kyle says, everyone has the capacity to be civilized or savage, it’s a choice that one makes.
For every great comic writer, there needs to be an equally great comic artist. While not every single done by Bagneda was perfect, his art for this issue was beautiful. He perfectly captures the Viceroys manipulations/truths, and his eventual decapitation by Kalista are hauntingly beautiful. Bagneda’s storytelling remains among the best in comics today, a great example of how sequential art works is when The Omega Men leave the safety room and the symbol of Omega with Kyle’s crucifix being engulfed by blood says all you need to know about the story without a single wordballon. It is a crime that Bagneda is not on a DC: Rebirth book.
On a personal level the final page just flew over my head, at this juncture I don’t understand why Kyle was smiling or why he was speaking to a normal military officer about the Vega System. However to attempt at a guess that conversation isn’t the point, but rather the psuedo meta commentary of Kyle discussing the gutters in between comic panels and how it’s a comment on how readers view stories. Maybe one day I’ll understand what Tom King’s intention for this final scene, for now this is goodbye.
It’s been a pleasure to review this series and I’m sad to see it go, but I urge anyone who reads this to pick up this 12 issue collection coming in August. This has been one satisfying series and I wish Tom King and Barnaby Bagneda the best in their future projects.
The Omega Men #12 earns a 5/5