Omega Men #7
By Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda, Ig Guara, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Tom King plots out life for Kyle Rayner and Princess Kalista after their escape seen in issue #6. While on the run, we see what on the surface appears to be a budding romance. That, however, would not fit with the tale that Tom King and his fellow creators are telling. Things are never that simple in King’s Vega System. The end result, a perfectly executed climax, is a masterful set piece to propel the second half of this 12-issue series.
King’s script is perfectly paced, as Kyle and Kalista journey through the seedy underworld, looking for a way out of the Vega System. Kyle knows where he wants to go, he just doesn’t know how to get there. Princess Kalista, always written to be such a cool and manipulative character, has a plan though, and it must be mentioned that King deftly mixes in a wrinkle that those reading Grayson will be familiar with. It’s a nice nod to King’s other stellar work and to a shared universe that some readers love. As mentioned above, there’s way more bubbling beneath the surface of Kalista’s plan, and the twist in the ending was actually quite surprising; something rarely accomplished in modern comics. King pulls it off though, and does so with emotional impact.
The layouts in this book, as usual, are constantly near perfection. Barnaby Bagenda and Ig Guara’s work is definitely worthy of praise. The blend of Bagenda’s pencils and Guara’s are nearly indistinguishable, which helps the reader stay immersed in the tale. Few things are more unsettling than a jarring page that so blatantly juxtaposes the majority of a book. While this book, in its early issues, received much attention for its use of the nine-panel grid, this technique is used much less in this issue. It is still present, but it is used more as a basic set piece providing a sense of familiarity rather than the main delivery vehicle of the story. Borders within the panels seem to be much freer, and much less existent than earlier issues. This artistic evolution seems to perfectly connect to the ongoing plot, which was once a well thought out and acutely planned mission but is now a frantic race to reach a near impossible goal.
Fajardo’s colors, as usual, pair perfectly with the line work. When needed, he knows when to keep things in the shadows and when to bring things to the forefront. His colors always hint at what emotion the reader might feel, or maybe his colors are what truly helps evoke those emotions.
For what seems like the seventh issue in a row, Omega Men is an absolutely excellent story. Month in, month out, it is near the top of critics’ scores. Each issue delicately connects various strings from previous issues, taking full advantage of a serial format. This creative team is achieving a rare feat, of telling a riveting, near-perfect space opera that only comics can rightfully do . . . even with Kyle Rayner in the lead role.