Thursday, May 26, 2016

Omega Men #12 Review and **SPOILERS**


Written by: Tom King
Art by: Barnaby Bagenda, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: 2.99
Release Date: May 25, 2016

I don't know about you guys, but when I think of the DC You line as a whole and it's critical and commercial failure, The Omega Men stands out by far as the brightest spot in it's ranks. So bright in fact, that it's own commercial failure didn't even matter. For once we get to see DC Comics put more weight in it's universe than in it's Net Present Value. And sure, one could say that this was a PR move, but ultimately the goal of good PR is consumer satisfaction, consumer happiness. And isn't that we all want? A company that can keep us happy via the promotion of good stories?

Either way, this write up is somewhat bittersweet. Because even though in comic books nothing truly ends, even though Batman will always be Batman, Superman will always be Superman, and the Omega Men will undoubtedly come back, Tom King has given us an ending. Tom King has given the ending of a journey. For eleven issues we have followed Kyle Rayner's story; from hero, to hostage, to hero again and now finally to man. What does the future hold for him? How does his journey end? Let's find out...

Explain it!

This issue is about the culmination of a war. Like all wars, the one the Omega Men fight here is nothing but the aggravation of pre-existing feelings, desires and the cultural doctrines of men. This is not a new theme to this series. We have, in the past eleven issues, explored why the Omega Men and all who followed them went to war. We have even explored why Kyle Rayner went to war and why the Citadel went to war, but the one thing the book had yet to touch is why the Viceroy went to war. For those not in the know, the Viceroy has been pretty much the Darth Vader of this series. A looming figure that represents all the evil of his empire, but that is subject to a higher power. Here we finally find out what makes him be. And just like in Return of the Jedi, or in any other story that got it right, it is downright unnerving. 

Curiously, as the Viceroy lies in defeat, about to die, war already lost, we get Kyle Rayner at his most heroic. Here we have a character who has failed at practically every turn, who has let himself be manipulated by everyone, make us root for him one last time. Because although I can't call Kyle a hero anymore, I can still say that he is a good man, a good man who saved a life. And even though in the large scheme of events, that life might not matter, it matters to us, because the characters matter to us. It's a necessary moment in an issue that's almost completely bleak. It is also incidentally, a moment that makes what happens next feel even worse.

Kallista then murders the Viceroy and assumes full control of her planet, instating her own flawed form of government. About this I have to say, that although I'm bereft of the emotional satisfaction of watching her pay for all of her manipulations and murder, it's fitting that she gets away with it so easily. Because of course she would. Even more chilling thought, is the notion that Kyle faces when returning home. There might be another war brewing and he is just the man to lead Earth's efforts. His response, is perhaps the most appropriate ending this series could have. In one final issue King has solidified the Omega Men (2015) as a true classic.

Bit's and Pieces:

I wanna start this short summation of my review by highlighting the virtues of the art team. I feel I have not given them enough credit (here not at all and in the past not enough) and it's only because I've been absorbed so deeply into the world they created. The art team for this book has been solid month in and month out. Also, I'm sure everyone mentions this, but their panel layouts are fantastic. So much story can get told if you don't put splash pages at every turn.

That said, it is the story and characters that have drawn me into this book and this issue is no exception. These are characters I can believe in, characters I can understand viscerally and characters that produce emotional reactions. This is a story that exudes thought, care and a natural progression of it's events. And this is a series that sticks the landing.


1 comment:

  1. I went in completely expecting a dark ass ending and somehow the ending was less dark but still more bleak than I had expected. If this makes any sense at all...