Okay when I set out on my day, I had a good idea on how I wanted to format the intro for this review. After reading The Omega Men number 8 nothing I had prepared could even comprehend the roller coaster of emotions and the jubilation of just how Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda are simply killing it on this series. In today’s comics market the “long game” seems to be an artifact, with no buildup to events and character revelations have no impact due to that lack of buildup. Without spoiling the issue here, this chapter of The Omega Men is a perfect example of how laying a solid foundation is better than a rush job.
Just to kick it all off, this issue alone has made the entire series completely worth it. Every single complaint I had when the series initially launched has been rectified with this issue. In the current social climate of fighting for everyone’s attention, where the phrase slow burn has become venomous Tom King spits in that climate. While the Omega Men won’t reach the numbers of a Sandman or Preacher, Tom King reminds why we read serialized stories. One of the early complaints I had when The Omega Man began was the lack of a formal introduction for most of the cast, that changed when I began to see what type of story that King wanted to tell. Every single act was tied into the grander scheme of this series and when King actually revealed the back story for the remaining two members.
Despite the sci-fi setting of the Vega system, the revelation of why the citadel are the symbols of bureaucratic evil. The cataclysmic event that brings each individual member of the Omega Men is nothing short of hauntingly beautiful, an image that any reader no matter where they come from can recognize and instantly understand the gravity of why Kyle Rayner is needed. While yes some might see the double page spread as nothing but pure shock value at face value, but when you examine the simple act of Scrapps breaking down at seeing the grave of her mother adds the emotional tether needed for something of this magnitude.
None of this would have had the impact if the reader knew what the Citadel did to Voorl at the beginning of the series. The reason this chapter works is because King took the time to develop these characters over the course of several issues, now while it may not have been the typical format in most mainstream superhero comics the character development is there. The reader actually cares that Scrapp lost her family and that Doc committed genocide against the same planet, only to find a young Scrapp. At the end of the day, this issue was a pure tour de force of raw emotion that made me stop reading for a bit and just critically think of the consequences of letting an oligarchy have control over anything. This could be King poking at the current status of how many people view the current political climate in the United States but I could be looking to deep down the rabbit hole.
What else can I say about Barnaby Bagenda? While I’ve highlighted his storytelling in the past and his ability to make splash pages have that impact but here is where his character acting came into play. I simply have to point at the opening scene of Scrapps right before Doc and other similar robots commit genocide. The unrelenting emotion on Scrapp’s face as she comes home for the first time in seemingly forever. Even though Doc is a robot and his facial expression is limited, the final page as he discovers a young Scrapp’s is simply heart warming, the only blue light in an other wise dim world of the Vega system. The double page splash of the mass grave says all you need to know about the depth and weight of what King and Bagenda are telling. Now I have a feeling it’s time to enter the final act of this beloved series.
The Omega Men #8 earns a 5/5