A review a day: Omega Comics Presents #1

by  in Comic News Comment
A review a day: <i>Omega Comics Presents #1</i>

As Our Dread Lord and Master explains, if you send us something in the mail, we will review it … no matter what! So beware! Be aware!

Now, that’s not to say Omega Comics Presents #1, which is published by Pop! Goes the Icon and costs $3.50, is a bad comic. But it’s not terribly memorable, either. It’s an anthology book, so you just never know what you’re going to get, but at least if one story sucks, you’ll get another one in that very issue! So let’s check out the stories in this, okay?

The lead story gives the comic its name, as it’s called “Omega.” Much like Marvel comics, above the splash page is a brief paragraph explaining the scenario: In the aftermath of 9/11, a covert domestic anti-terror unit called Strike Force Omega has been sniffing out threats and stopping the bad guys.

Omega is made up of agents who have superpowers, as well. So we’re off!

This is the first chapter of the story, so the creator, PJ Perez, has to set things up quickly. Terrorists take over Hoover Dam and a high-school tour group in the process. Strike Force Omega is notified and a few of them take off for Nevada. That’s it, plot-wise. Before they leave, we get some hints about future installments, as they believe that they have a mole inside the team (it’s just like CTU!), a fear that is only exacerbated when they realize the dam was taken without them getting any intelligence about it. Their boss, Colonel Lamar Washington, believes it’s Al-Qaeda, but he’s not sure. He also only sends two members of the team, because they need to keep it quiet. So there’s a bit more going on beyond just the plot. Not a lot, but enough to be intriguing. Perez’s art is somewhat typical of this kind of low-budget indy comic – he has talent, certainly, but needs work on fluidity and nuance. His characters are very stiff and a bit disproportionate, with very little variation in their facial features and emotional range. Perez doesn’t really have a ton of action in this chapter, which is probably a good thing, as from the way he draws his characters it appears he might have difficulty with that. But there’s potential.

The next story, “Odd Job,” is the best in terms of writing. Robert Durham’s art is nothing spectacular (it reminds me a bit of Chris Wozniak’s, which, unfortunately, isn’t really a compliment), but it is more intricate than Perez’s, which is necessary for this story, which takes place in an old mansion and therefore needs some atmosphere.

Durham is fine with that, but again, his figure work is stiff. But Alex De-Gruchy’s story is a nifty little ghost story with a nice twist, as a couple hires a friend to clean out their mansion before they move in. The mansion belonged to the woman’s great-grandfather, who was a mobster during the 1920s. He and his wife now haunt the house, and both, naturally, show up when Hank starts his job. It’s actually fairly clever – nothing great, but De-Gruchy has a decent sense of pacing and timing and even knows when to let Durham tell some of the story. It’s an interesting ghost story, which is kind of hard to pull off.

The third story, “Making No Magnifisense,” unfortunately, is pretty terrible. John Dimes writes and draws it, and there’s really nothing redeeming about it. The art is ugly, very rough and uneven, sketchy in places and more detailed in others, never really cohering. Dimes does have a halfway decent double-page spread in the middle of the story that shows a battle on the psychic plane, but otherwise, it’s poor. And the story, about a superhero who is approached by an odd little man who is more than he seems, is lousy too. Dimes plays it completely straight even though both characters are ridiculous, and it reads like a half-baked Stan Lee script, with utter bombast and a strange idea that comes out of nowhere and resolves just as quickly.

I get that the writers need to be quick about it in an anthology, but “Odd Job,” which is three pages longer than this, is packed with plot, while this is simply goofy. I hate criticizing something in a tiny indy comic that is obviously a labor of love, but this story is just no good.

The final story, “(All We Are Saying is) Give Pizza a Chance,” is written by Dino Caruso and notably drawn by Jason Copland, the only creator in this book that I’ve heard of. Jason is a pretty cool guy (plus he likes Marillion, so you know he’s jake) and a good artist, and it’s no surprise that this two-pager is the most professional looking of the issue, with solid figure work, a good eye for detail, and people who look like actual people. The story is set in a pizza parlor and is a rather silly joke, but it raises a chuckle, and that’s fine and dandy. It’s difficult to believe that there are people as stupid as the pizza parlor proprietor in the world, but perhaps there are! But it’s a fun little joke.

As this is a seriously independent comic, I doubt if you’ll find it lying around your local comics shoppe. You can go to the web site and buy it there. I can’t recommend it completely, but if you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten track, check it out. It’s a typical first issue from a tiny press, which means there’s room for improvement. But the fun of comics comes through rather well, and there’s nothing wrong with that!