Review time! with <i>Omega Comics Presents</i> #4

Is it the end of an era for Omega Comics Presents? Say it ain't so, Joe!

PJ Perez has been nice enough to send me three of the four issues of Omega Comics Presents, his anthology series that he publishes under the Pop! Goes the Icon name, and it's been a nice treat, as they've all had some interesting stories in them. This one, like the others, costs $3.99, which is a pretty good bargain, if you ask me (yes, I realize no one actually asked me, but that's why I have a blog - to tell you things you never asked about!).

The first story in the issue, "L'Ange de Bastogne," is written by Russell Lissau and drawn by mpMann, and I wasn't surprised that it was the best of the four stories, because Mann is a good artist and Lissau has shown some chops in previous installments of this series. In this 12-page story, American soldiers are sent to Bastogne after being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, and while they're being cared for by French nurses, that strange dude on the cover shows up and, well, that ain't red Kool-Aid on his lips, I'll tell you that much. Sophie, the protagonist of the story, is confronted by this monster, and she has no idea how to stop him. For 12 pages, it's a remarkably well-developed, tense story, and Mann does his usual excellent job drawing the heck out of it.

Perez's four-part story, "Omega," comes to an unsatisfying conclusion, not because it's bad, but because Perez leaves us with a question mark, even though it's unclear when he'll continue the story. Perez still has some work to do on his art, but it's pretty impressive how much he's improved over the past year of this series. In a move that doesn't come as much a surprise, the terrorists who took over Hoover Dam are just the tip of the iceberg, and there's a much bigger and more evil story behind them. Will we ever find out what that is? Only time will tell!

Steve Wallace brings us a pretty good bummer of a story, "Cold," in which two astronauts whose capsule is damaged have to get out into space and hope that there's a search and rescue space ship nearby. Yeah, those odds aren't great. Wallace has an interesting rough cartoony style that doesn't work perfectly for his characters' faces - the younger astronaut, for example, looks completely out of place in a serious story like this one - but he does a nice job with the interior of the capsule and the utter and almost-total emptiness of space. The story is only 8 pages long, but it's quite powerful.

"The Night Shift," by Dino Caruso, Sam Agro, and Ed Brisson, is a nifty little 3-pages in which a Batman analogue fights crime and then reveals his civilian identity, which is a clever twist even though it raises a crucial question. Agro has a clean, superhero style that fits well with the story, and while there's not much to Caruso's story, it's a fun read.

You can find Omega Comics Presents at the web site above, and I encourage you to check out some of the samples, at least. Perez has assembled some pretty good talent to work on this anthology, and it's always fun to see people way outside the mainstream doing their nifty thing with the medium we all love. Perez is taking a break from the series to tinker with the format, and I hope he returns with it soon.

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