Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Omega Men Graphic Novel

DC Comics just released The Omega Men: The End is Here graphic novel, the collected edition of Tom King's 12-issue run on the series. It features art by Ig Guara, Toby Cypress, and Barnaby Bagenda. It is a space-based story that involves rebels (or are they terrorists?) trying to resist an overwhelming and oppressive force called The Citadel. This book shows that comics are capable of taking on issues of direct relevance to today's society, and it is merges exceptionally insightful and sometimes brutal writing by an ex-CIA officer who knows what he's talking about with a keen art style that is consistent throughout and that involves both striking figures and memorable settings. This graphic novel really is the total package and I recommend it to anyone who is willing to take comics seriously.

Two more good reasons to check out this book: it was of such high quality that Tom King's work here (together with his runs on Grayson and The Vision for Marvel) landed him the top gig at DC Comics -- writing the Batman ongoing series. Furthermore, this book is a great example of the art not only making use of what's inside the panels but actually structuring the panels in ways that support the story. It is consistently based around a nine-panel grid and, at times, it gives the sense of prison bars while at other times the panels gradually build up to climactic moments -- from 9 panels to 8 to 7 etc., finally landing on a full splash page and then resolving back through 2, 3, etc., to 9 panels again.

It is basically a master class in comic book storytelling and it has a great deal of relevance to our relationship to leaders and our perceptions of war and violence. It is definitely one of the most affecting books I've read over the past year.

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