Tag Archives: Barnaby Bagenda

Today’s Super Comic — The Omega Men #12 (2016)

omega_men12You have to admire a comic that aims high.

I finished reading Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda’s Omega Men, and I remain impressed. The series tackles complex themes about war, freedom, and heroism, and it crafts compelling characters. While there’s always room for a sequel, #12 brings the book to a satisfying conclusion. If these twelve issues were the only Omega Men comics there ever were, it would feel complete.

That’s not a criticism of any previous iterations of the comic (which, again, I’ve barely even sampled). DC and Marvel both have many lesser-known properties that have ample potential but simply never caught on, for whatever reason, leaving them ripe for talented creators to come in, take some risks, and produce something special that only they can produce. In that way, The Omega Men reminds me of the Battlestar Galactica reboot from the previous decade.

The book also features the best use of Kyle Rayner in a long time. He was introduced as a replacement Green Lantern when Hal Jordan went crazy and dismantled the entire GL Corps. But after Hal made his shocking but inevitable return and the GL Corps became whole, Kyle languished in the background of the DC Universe as a superfluous Lantern. Here, however, he feels purposeful again, and his established backstory informs his actions. He’s the only Green Lantern ever chosen at random, rather than due to worthiness, and he’s always had much to prove.

So yes, I highly recommend the whole series. (But it’s not for kids.)

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Barnaby Bagenda

Cover: Trevor Hutchison

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Comixology; included in The Omega Men: The End Is Here (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 16 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Omega Men #3 (2015)

omega-men-3I never bothered much with the Omega Men, outside the rare guest appearance that barely made an impression one way or the other. Being set in a region of space that not even the Green Lantern Corps was allowed to enter, they had little opportunity to become an integral part of the DC Universe.

But then I stumbled across the trade paperback of the Omega Men’s latest incarnation. The art by Barnaby Bagenda made it look like something special and different, and I saw the writer was Tom King, who’s been doing phenomenal work on The Vision. So I took a chance. I’m not finished yet, but so far my impulse buy is justified.

Admittedly, it took me a couple of issues to get into it, but everything clicked as of #3. We meet Princess Kalista as the Omega Men kidnap her and lock her up with their other captive, Kyle Rayner, the former Green Lantern who’s now apparently the White Lantern (whatever that means…I can’t keep up with everything).

So yeah, these Omega Men don’t act the least bit heroic. At this point, I’d consider them terrorists, and I’m eagerly waiting for Kyle to reclaim his lost power ring and pummel them senseless. But it’s also clear that not everything is as it seems. Kyle’s the only character in this book that I “know”—he’s my entry point into this star system, the only one I trust to do the right thing (even if I don’t know the difference between a Green Lantern and a White one). Everyone and everything else is a slowly unraveling mystery.

And Bagenda deserves all the extra credit for his skill with a nine-panel grid. His staging of the kidnapping is fantastic—I just wanted to slow down and admire the choreography.

Now to see if the quality continues. I’m optimistic.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Barnaby Bagenda

Cover: Trevor Hutchison

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Comixology; included in The Omega Men: The End Is Here (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up