Jun 30, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 856: Omega the Unknown #5, November 1976


Omega (who's only been called that in the press, and never refers to himself by that name) has that most 70s of superhero experiences in today's issue: the mystical experience.

A fair number of comics writers and artists in the 70s started thinking about the superhuman as vehicle for the kind of experience usually relegated to psychedelic entheogen trips. I posted an example in a review of a Jim Starlin Warlock comic a while back, and as I note there, it's pretty typical of the superhero transcending consciousness.

Omega is attacked by two ghostly cats, servitors of El Gato, villain du jour, who push him from his dimension into astral realms. A strange reaction between Omega's powers and the dimension he's in actually disintegrates his body...and when next we see him, he's sitting in an alley outside the shop he's been staying at all this time. Though we do get a bit of the psychedelic weirdness of the other dimensions, it's interesting that there appears to be an entire portion of Omega's experience that we're not privy to - that which comes after his discorporation. We could assume that he wakes up immediately in the alley, but there's narrative that takes place between those events, which gives the impression of time passing after his body vanishes. Unlike many of the mystical odysseys superheroes went on in this era, we're not told nor shown all of the revelations Omega might have had. Either they're indescribable, in which case why try (let's ask H.P. Lovecraft that!), or Omega himself doesn't really understand or remember what happened. Either way, we're focalized through the character of Omega through omission rather than through inclusion, which I think is an interesting way to approach focalization.

Omega does bring down El Gato in this issue, with a little help from his friends. And James-Michael endures some of his own rather violent adventures at school.

To be continued.

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