Jul 4, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 860: Omega the Unknown #9, July 1977


Gerber and Skrenes return for the last couple of issues of Omega, and as yet there's no indication, either narratively or from the editorial pages, that the title is in danger. One potential indicator is the divided response from readers on the letters page. Some are so very into the style of storytelling that Omega is beautifully demonstrating, and some see it as nothing more than wordiness and meandering that has not place in a superhero comic. I think this demonstrates a fundamental way (or two, really) of understanding superhero comics, and one that leads into that old saw of the genre being little more than adolescent power fantasies. Omega eschews that description by actually placing an adolescent in the story who is completely atypical for that demographic, and by utilizing a heroic figure who does not buy into the rigidity of superheroic practice that one might glean from other Marvel comics of the time.

One thing I'd like to note is the way that the regular writing team re-enters the comic with little or no hiccup over the fill-in teams. This is one of the advantages of the Marvel method of comic creation that was at its apotheosis in the Seventies. Both Scott Edelman and Roger Stern would likely have worked from a synopsis supplied by Skrenes and Gerber, in that Richard Rory shows up (which was intimated before the fill-in issues), as does the Fookkiller. Both of these are characters from Gerber's tenure on Man-Thing, and it's unlikely that they would have simply appeared in the story if there wasn't already a precedent in the plotting. So while the issues were definitely not on the same level as those written by the regular team, they still contribute to the overall plot (what little we have) set out by that team.

I think.

As with many of Gerber's other works, the character for whom the title is named is in many ways a secondary character, and it's the characters who are more of the secondary mold that move into the limelight. Omega himself is interesting, but not nearly so much as the little tribe that is forming in the Hell's Kitchen apartment with James-Michael. Though, that said, their story would likely not be quite as alluring if there wasn't the intimation of connection with Omega. It's so sad that tomorrow's issue is the last one. Sort of...but we'll talk about that tomorrow.

To be continued.

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