Review: The Omega Men #4

The Omega Men #4 cover
Cover by Keith Giffen and Mike DeCarlo

The Omega Men #4
Published and © by DC, July 1983

Title: “Breakdown”
Synopsis: Falling prey to Demonia’s not-so-subtle manipulations, Tigorr and Primus finally come to blows over leadership of the Omegans.

Writer: Roger Slifer
Penciler: Keith Giffen
Inker: Mike DeCarlo

Review: On this issue’s letters page, writer Roger Slifer discusses the creative team’s desire to use a “graphic depiction of violence” to “present a realistic view of what war is really like.” And it does feel like that’s what he and artist Keith Giffen are attempting with this series. Sadly, their execution falls short. The violence often feels gratuitous (particularly Giffen’s sudden penchant for organs and other viscera). Character motivations remain cardboard, while ongoing political machinations lack any real sophistication. Free of Comics Code restrictions, Omega Men could have been a groundbreaking series, but its reach simply exceeded its grasp.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “I’ll tell you why I dislike The Omega Men: because it’s poorly written.” – John Holland, Amazing Heroes #33, Oct. 15, 1983

Tigorr eviscerates Primus
Tigorr eviscerates Primus. (Art by Keith Giffen and Mike DeCarlo)

Cool factor: Sci-fi comics in an upscale format for adults? The Omega Men could have been a contender.
Not-so-cool factor: Just look at all those guts Tigorr ripped out of Primus. How, exactly, did Primus survive?

Character quotable: “He’s got more guts than I thought, but I’d rather not look at them all over the floor!” – Tigorr, mixing apropos pun and backhanded compliment with aplomb

A word from the artist: “Without the Code, in terms of art, I can portray battle scenes which aren’t ballets. … Take Daredevil – it’s a ballet. It’s beautiful violence. Not in Omega Men. It’s shown as clumsy struggling, people get cut and bleed and it’s not pretty.” – Keith Giffen, talking about the series’ signature violence, in Comics Interview #1, February 1983

Editor’s note: This review was written April 25, 2021.

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