With the line “Omega waits for us all, but we cannot all wait for Omega,” Tom King and Barnaby Begenda crystallize the concept of Alpha and Omega in the context of “Omega Men” #2. Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and lettered by Pat Brosseau, this issue takes readers to Ogyptu in the Vega system as the Viceroy arrives, seeking recompense for the Omega Men’s attack in the debut issue of this series.
The opening page is set upon a standard-issue nine-grid panel layout, but the creative team manipulates that grid in an unorthodox manner, adding creator credits and cinematic title presentation to the introduction. Keeping inline with the sneak preview from two months ago, four of the nine panels play out the same scene, with bits of story progression between flashes. Constructed vertically, those panels convey the immediacy of social media in a handheld device — not the perfect way to receive a message, but quick, direct and effective.
In this issue, Bagenda has more than one opportunity to showcase his strong storytelling ability, as the repetitive scene motif pops up again, in addition to the luxury of showing a scene from multiple angles as suspense reveals drama and action consumes all. Bagenda’s style takes bits from Tan Eng Huat, Ben Oliver and Ariel Olivetti to become something brand new and impulsively expressive. Fajardo’s colors help complete the imagery, more often than not melting into Bagenda’s drawings. Using a varied palette, Fajardo puts a surprising amount of pastel into a story that, traditionally, would have been loud and garish, glowing and shocking. Here, on Ogyptu, it works, as the Omega Men measure out their attack and continue to welcome a new member.
Brosseau has ample opportunity to showcase different fonts, different word balloon styles and even alien dialogue. King’s narrative requires a heady amount of caption boxes following the opening page and, working together with Bagenda and King, the shroud is lifted a bit. “Omega Men” #2 is not impenetrable and actually seems like it might be more approachable than the first issue, as this chapter provides some insight and explanation of the universe and the Omega Men’s place in it.
“Omega Men” #2 gives readers some quality time with many players, as Primus, Doc and Broot take larger slices of the spotlight. King reminds readers that the Omega Men are not superheroes; they’re outlaws and rebels, trying to right wrongs as they see fit by their moral code. That code allows no chance of boredom to seep into this issue as King continues to build Broot’s religious beliefs and readers are presented with alternating action, adventure and abject horror in the events Broot and team initiate. King shakes the foundation a bit, giving readers plenty to think about, as despicable acts are performed throughout this issue in the name of “Alpha” or “Omega.” Those acts, the character development around and through them and the direction of the story make it quite clear that predictability will not come into play in this series.
Glimpses of this story may beg comparison to other space faring sagas and space operas, but “Omega Men” #2 defies comparison — with previous “Omega Men” series or anything else. King, Bagenda, Fajardo and Brosseau give readers a solid mix of characters and action, uncertainty and comfortable familiarity. Like the nine-grid layout welcoming readers into this issue, this comic can change on a dime and become something else entirely, echoing the versatility of the grid, especially in Bagenda’s hands. There is a lot to discover in the Vega system, and King and Bagenda promise to make it interesting and plenty entertaining.