The Silent Majority

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Omega: The Unknown

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Omega: The Unknown

Omega: the Unknown follows a mute superhero from another world, who shares an uncertain bond with a boy-genius raised by robo-parents, chased by a growing army of robots led by a giant hand with legs.

Omega: The Unknown is comics on the edge of madness. It is pure imagination bursting from every panel, brimming from every page. Throwing convention out the window, novelist Jonathan Lethem and artist Farel Dalrymple have crafted a story so unique it challenges the other books on the shelf.

Describing Omega: The Unknown for the uninitiated is no easy feat, for the book defies the status quo, and strives for a higher standard of superhero fiction. The book attempts to refine our notion of the superhero, peering at it through a new, more sophisticated lens.Never mind the pseudo-realism of contemporary comics, Omega: The Unknown is a book in love with its subject matter, reconciling its genre’s inherent silliness, yet striving to take it in new directions.

It is pop-art, unabashedly; Kirby-esque concepts and imagination made into colorful pages, detailing philosophical concepts and social awareness. It is a parabolic meditation on the dangers of mass consumption and consumer society. It is without reservation, regard, and repression.

As a reader, I don’t enjoy being spoon-fed. Thankfully, Omega: The Unknown ignores that in favour of ambiguity. There are layers upon layers of ideas in its storytelling, and it is up to the reader to decide what it all means. There are extended sequences whereby the reader is meant to be confused and disillusioned, hopelessly following the action for a glimmer of purpose. Rest assured it all makes sense in the end, but not without complete devotion to the narrative. Moreover, it is impossible to digest everything this book has to offer in one read-through.

Like the best fiction, you don’t merely skim its pages and toss it aside. You take your time: read and re-read. Even then, you aren’t guaranteed a complete understanding of the text. Lethem and Dalrymple are not interested in convenient, straightforward storytelling. Rather, they are interested in comics as art, ambiguous and meaningful.

Omega: The Unknown is intelligent comics devoid of sanity but not deprived of purpose in its inspired lunacy.

– Alex Lyons

Alex Lyons studied English and History at the University of Guelph, where he acquired keen insights into late Victorian history, and its literature. This education, of course, serves no purpose here. Alex still lives in Guelph, and thinks of Jack the Ripper often.


Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 16, 2009 at 12:01 PM

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