When Marvel Comics first announced “Omega Flight,” the Internet was abuzz with discussion over this new chapter in the mythology of Canada’s premiere super team, Alpha Flight. Once writer Mike Oeming and artist Scott Kolins spoke to CBR News (Check out part 1 & part 2), excitement was raised as the two ‘Flight fans talked about their plans for the ongoing series, including a radically new team lineup. However, Marvel Comics recently released the solicitation for “Omega Flight” #1, arriving in April, and fans were surprised to see that this much anticipated ongoing series was now a five issue limited series. To learn more about what happened, CBR News caught up with Oeming, who spoke frankly about the change in plans.
“It was planned for an ongoing from the start, I know there’s lots of confusion and speculation out there, so let me clear that up,” Oeming told CBR News. “I only learned about it about a month ago, maybe more. Why it was changed to a mini probably has a lot to do with the amount of books spinning out of ‘Civil War’ and fear of flooding the market. If ‘Omega Flight’ sells well, then we’ll get to go beyond issue five. I think this is being done with several books, sort of a ‘survivor’ marketing.”
Having an ongoing series changed to a limited series would be a shock for any creator, and while Oeming would have liked to see his vision through in an ongoing series, his first concern was the fans. “The hardest part was I knew how upset the fans would be. The hard core fans. I was treating ‘Omega Flight’ like one of my creator books. Meaning I was reaching down into the grass roots and creating a base that could be built on. I’m very sorry if I got anyone over excited about a new series, I know a lot of people are upset.
“It’s funny, with me, any changes start out bad. My ego gets bruised and I pout. Then I think, and think, and then something better usually comes out. I find obstacles actually make me a better writer. That’s’ hard to gauge on ‘Omega Flight,’ though, as I’ve never switched gears so dramatically in the beginning of a second act before.”
Some fans online have speculated that the series’ length was reduced because Marvel didn’t see the product as of high enough quality, to which Oeming responded, “I don’t mind people thinking what they want, that kind of stuff doesn’t bother me. I’m a Marvel writer now, it comes with the territory.”
Working at Marvel also puts Omeing in contact with some of the industry’s best artists, including “Omega Flight’s” Scott Kolins, for whom the scribe has nothing but positive words. “Scott and I work great together. The only person I work this easily with is Bendis, but it’s like the opposite, because now I’m the writer and not the artist.”
As you can imagine, changing the length of “Omega Flight” has dramatically affected the story that Oeming wants to tell. While it may not be evident in the first issue, fans will find the second issue dramatically different than originally intended. “I had to re-write pretty much everything from issue #2 up,” Oeming explained. “As a five issue mini series, the story didn’t work. Luckily, most of that was just tight outlines, though we had already done several. The first arc was to set up characters, their personalities, conflicts and plant seeds for what was to come and that was tough especially doing it in the middle of issue #2. But that’s okay, that’s what writing comics are about – staying on your feet, bobbin’ and weaving with the changes and additions that are thrown at you. It’s like that at any company.”
There’s been speculation about whether or not the original Alpha Flight team – or a more traditional lineup – would have been featured in “Omega Flight” had Oeming known he’d be writing a mini-series, but he said, “I have no idea. I can’t really think about what I would have done because that’s hypothetical, I like to concentrate on what I have to do now and in the future.”
Oeming also highlights the cast of “Omega Flight” as one of the big reasons to check out the series. “I’m sure there’s some knee jerk reaction to the line up, but that’s what I find interesting about these guys – they are pretty much a blank slate, so there’s lots new to do with them. The unexpected could happen!”
During his copious amount of research on Canada and its culture, Oeming learned a lot about the venerable nation and shared his favorite piece of information with CBR News. “Hmm, most of our energy resources come from Canada. When we had the blackouts a few years back, guess who bailed us out?”
While the future status of “Omega Flight” is being decided, the characters in the book may be seen in other places, as they’re not “protected” from being used by other writers. “If it doesn’t go anywhere, I hope other writers pick it up,” Oeming said of the plot points laid out in “Omega Flight.”
As for that future of “Omega Flight,” Oeming urges fans to forego one box of TimBits and, “Everybody buy ten copies,” he laughed, adding that fans wanting to be on his mailing list need only e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. “I also want to make it clear that I still have a great working relationship with Marvel. This is just a bump, and who knows how it will work out. I have a great time here as well as doing my own books. I figured I should say that before any speculation starts.”
If you are thinking of waiting for the potential trade paperback collection of “Omega Flight,” Oeming joked, “Buy two trades because then I get better royalties that way.”