Why was 6 afraid of 7? It wasn’t, because 6 beat an elderly woman to death. As always, after the jump, there be spoilers. Ask the Pointer Sisters. About the jump, not spoilers. Let’s just get to it.
Steve Gerber, Mary Skrenes, and Jim Mooney are all here for issue #6 of Omega: The Unknown, but the gang won’t all be here in for the next couple issues.
The issue opens with Omega back on the same alien world we saw him flee back in issue one, along with the rest of the supporting cast. Amber, James-Michael, Dian, and more are gunned down. As the gun goes off to kill Omega, cut to James-Michael waking up. Was this his nightmare? Are he and Omega sharing a dreamscape? Ruth gets a bit snotty with James-Michael and he ends up leaving. Wandering off into the night in Hell’s Kitchen. He runs into the old wino from a few issues ago. James-Michael doesn’t want to hear his come on and ends up knocking him to the ground. And in a rare bit of humanity, James-Michael feels bad about it.
Omega is out on the town with Gramps, and some other old folks. He has his first shot of alcohol, and then acts as chaperone for Gramps and his lady-friend Mamie. They escort her back home and have glorious three-way sex, and before they can walk away, Mamie is attacked. Remember up top there when I said 6 beat an elderly woman to death? I was referring to this issue.
Omega rushes into her apartment and is clocked on the head with a wrench. He gives chase after the killer.
James-Michael is still wandering the streets and sees a pimp slapping one of his girls around and steps in, thinking she needs (or wants) his help. He is mistaken. It’s interesting to see him reach out to do the right thing and be told off by the woman for it. There is something in this sequence that fits with the theme that seems to be that everything is awful I mentioned in the last couple issues.
Amber comes home from her date to find Ruth in tears and James-Michael missing. She leaves in search of him, angry at having to go back out, but in some way happy that James-Michael is acknowledging the restlessness he feels in side. I love sexy Amber.
Omega tracks down the killer to his apartment, called The Handyman in a caption box and called The Wrench on the cover of the book.
James-Michael is playing pinball, and doing very good for a kid who has never played it before. Another kid or teenager or whatever of course begins hassling James-Michael and is about to get a couple of his buddies to kick the snot out of James-Michael (again, everyone, everything, awful) and is saved again by the timely intervention of Amber. I kind of wish there was some dialogue with Amber trying to explain Pinball Wizard to James-Michael as they walk home, “Don’t be ridiculous Amber, if he was deaf, dumb, and blind he would never be able to play pinball.”
On the way home they run across the killer, Omega intervenes and falls to the old comic book chestnut of a bullet grazing his temple. Amber tries to buy James-Michael some time to escape, and not just by drawing the killer’s attention, but actively attacking him. James-Michael doesn’t run and sees Amber go down, he again manifests the Omega-blasts from his hands, blasting the killer. James-Michael falls to his knees surrounded by the unconscious bodies of Omega, Amber, and The Wrench (The Handyman? Karl?)
For issue 7 neither Gerber or Skrenes (anyone know why?) are here, the issue is written by Scott Edelman, art still provided by Jim Mooney. I’m not going to spend much time on this one, it does move things forward a bit, but it feels much more like a sort of standard superhero story.
Blockbuster is fresh out of the joint and looking to get custody of his son again, by robbing a bank, like you do. There is a bit right at the beginning with Omega speaking the word, “secret” to James-Michael regarding what happened in the alley last issue, and Dian and James-Michael setting out to visit John in the hospital. Mostly though the issue is about Omega and Blockbuster.
Omega attempts to stop the robbery, and Blockbuster flees. Omega goes after him, almost because everyone gives him so much crap for letting him get away. They fight again in a construction site, with Blockbuster basically appealing to Omega that all he wants is to do right by his son. Omega sees a parallel between himself and James-Michael, and Blockbuster and his son, perhaps hinting toward the relationship between Omega and James-Michael, and simply lets Blockbuster walk away. It’s kind of a nice twist on the traditional superhero formula of a bad guy doing bad things and the hero trying to stop them and get them to do things the right way or simply capturing them anyway. Even without the regular writers it feels different than the standard superhero story in a way, but still somehow slighter than usual. We also learn that Mamie did in fact die last issue.
Roger Stern writes issue #8 with pencils by Lee Elias and inks by Jim Mooney. The issue opens with an honest to goodness bang and Omega is struck by an explosion. This time it’s Nitro, who mistakes Omega for Captain Marvel (wasn’t he dead by this time?). They fight briefly before Nitro decides to blast off again and continue his search for Captain Marvel.
James-Michael, Amber, and Ruth are waiting at the bus station, for Ruth’s boyfriend, Richard Rory (a character from Man-Thing apparently) to arrive. They make their introductions and take him back to the apartment. On the way a shadowy masked figure watches. Omega stands on a rooftop to check in on James-Michael, and they exchange smiles.
It doesn’t last long though, as there is an explosion nearby, and Omega goes to investigate, hoping for another crack at Nitro. Still looking for Captain Marvel, Nitro is trashing a Stark Industries facility, hoping that Stark would contact Iron Man who would then get Captain Marvel to join the battle. Omega is the hero to show up though, and after a few pages of fighting manages to use a large tube to contain Nitro’s explosion, and scatter him to the upper atmosphere.
Back at the apartment, Richard Rory is terrified to find out that he has been tracked down by Foolkiller.
I didn’t spend much time on issues 7 & 8, because they really do feel like padding. Without Gerber and Skrenes, they feel much more like standard cape comics, and much less grim and philosophical. Every time characters from the greater Marvel Universe enter the book, it’s somewhat jarring. I wish the book could stand on it’s own more, but I understand from the business side why it is the way it is. It’s not that nothing at all happens in the issues, we don’t get some sort of hint at the relationship between Omega and James-Michael, but it’s vague at best. As always, Amber is the best thing in the book.
There are only two more issues before the book is cancelled, and the story gets wrapped up, 2 years later in a couple issues of The Defenders, after Gerber has left Marvel. Almost done with these, and then I can do some sort of wrap up. Thank you for your patience, more to come soon.