On The Record

Miscellaneous Lists for Future Reference.

I unfortunately don’t have any time to write these up in full, but wanted to post them all the same, for my own later recollection and for the (what I imagine is very few) people who care about lists sans detailed explanation.



Got to March of this year before realising how dire my list was, so consider this a do-over –– 16 for ’16 –– in a particular Boxing Day moment, including films that weren’t distributed in the UK until 2017 in addition to ones that I missed in 2016 or didn’t pay the correct amount of attention, that I’ll still probably want to fine-tune after hitting publish.


16. A Bigger Splash

15. Cameraperson

14. Hail, Caesar!

13. I Am Not Your Negro

12. The Neon Demon

11. 20th Century Women

10. Certain Women

9. The Love Witch

8. La La Land

7. The Fits

6. Lemonade

5. Jackie

4. Moonlight

3. Toni Erdmann

2. O.J.: Made in America

1. Paterson





Had a very strong notion of what my top 10 would be since October even if the order was never locked in for certain –– case in point: I held off on placing The Girlfriend Experience until the final pair of episodes aired. #11-25 were more impulsive choices, driven by a [rather long] short-list kept throughout the year and having to finally make a judgement call about whether disappointing seasons of shows such as The Americans S5 and You’re the Worst S4 would even place on an extended list such as this.


25. Runaways

24. Master of None

23. Feud: Betty and Joan

22. The Trip

21. Alias Grace

20. Fargo

19. The Tick

18. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

16. Wormwood

15. Difficult People

14. The Deuce

13. One Day at a Time

12. Insecure

11. The Good Place

10. The Handmaid’s Tale

9. Big Little Lies

8. Legion

7. Top of the Lake: China Girl

6. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

5. Better Things

4. Halt and Catch Fire

3. The Leftovers

2. The Girlfriend Experience

1. Twin Peaks: The Return





Capping this at 10 to help avoid certain shows overwhelming the list in addition to ensuring I myself am not overwhelmed by having to create a list of this nature that’s 25 entries long. [read: if this went to 25. I’d have no idea how to place other shows around Twin Peaks parts]


10. Saturday Night Live – Kristen Stewart/Alessia Cara

9. Difficult People – Strike Rat

8. The Handmaid’s Tale – Late

7. Better Things – Graduation

6. Legion – Chapter 4

5. The Good Place – Michael’s Gambit

4. The Girlfriend Experience – Relapse

3. Halt and Catch Fire – Who Needs a Guy

2. The Leftovers – The Book of Nora

1. Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 8





5 of each, including an honourable mention, because in some cases a series may: have ended earlier in the year, changed creative teams and saw subsequent decline or have released just a single issue.



HM: Wonder Woman – specifically the runs of: Greg Rucka et al + Shea Fontana et al

5. The Flintstones

4. Superwoman

3. Deathstroke

2. Batman

1. Mister Miracle





HM: Scarlet Witch #14 + #15

5. Runaways

4. Jessica Jones

3. Black Bolt

2. Hawkeye

1. Generation X





HM: Casanova: Acedia #8 (Image)

5. Kill Them All /Rock Candy Mountain(Oni/Image)

4. Glitterbomb: The Fame Game (Image)

3. 4 Kids Walk into a Bank (Black Mask)

2. Giant Days (Boom)

1. The Wicked + The Divine (Image)





You know this is true.


4. Pratt

3. Pine

2. Hemsworth

1. Evans



something something Poptimism something something


3. Haim – Want You Back

2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut to the Feeling

1. Lorde – Melodrama


(Doesn’t fit with the joke, but you should also check out Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s album. One of the most relaxing listening experiences of the year)




See you sometime in 2018, hopefully sooner rather than later, uni-work and Newsarama-commitments willing.


The Elegant Simplicity of Wonder Woman

DC’s latest works not only because it’s fine with being a superhero film, but because it is unashamedly so.

The most striking distinction, the one that separates Wonder Woman from the rest of the DC Extended Universe, is unusually that despite the film’s title, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is not referred to by that title within the film. Lest we forger that prior to their 2017 summer tent-pole, this was a universe that saw both Batman and Superman undergo periods of uncertainty, with the weight of the world thrown at them, in order to question if they ‘be worthy’ enough to protect their cities on opposite sides of the bay.

Not only that, but just ten months ago, this universe revealed itself to be one where the alleged supervillains (and believe me, we were told they were bad guys many times) appear to have been more willing to save a city, one that none of them come from, from an unquestionable evil. Wonder Woman does not trade on the moral queries of the previous entries or this franchise, or at least it doesn’t when it comes to its protagonist. Instead, Diana is Wonder Woman and this is not up for debate.

This simplicity can be seen in individual story beats, like when Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) steals the notebook of Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya). He simply sees it and goes for it. As a whole, the movie trades on this kind of simplicity when it comes to plot –– It does not try to intertwine four/five plot-lines like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, nor does it appear to being going where the wind and mood takes it a la Suicide SquadHowever, I don’t want to imply that this film is basic by any means.


It’s smart, not in a Whedon-kind of way where the words ‘mewling quim’ end up in the finished product, but in regards to gender roles and the subversion of those within a blockbuster. This should be clear from the fact that Steve Trevor, despite being the romantic interest, is granted a great deal more to do than his respective female counterparts, but it applies to other scenes. Written by Allan Heinberg, there are points, such as when Diana walks in on Steve exiting the bath or later when they depart for London and discuss sleeping, where you might anticipate where these scenes will go, based on similar versions across many other pieces of media. This is primarily due to the dialogue, leaning on low-hanging fruit for these scenarios which can be played as cutesy-awkward, but under the lens of Patty Jenkins, an air of earnestness comes across.

Andrew Sarris considered this to be ‘Interior Meaning’, or the conflict between the text the director works from, and the text that they create. As a result, the joke isn’t on Diana. It might be played as humorous, but not for laughs directed at her because Jenkins understands there’s difference between being a fish-out-of-water and naivety writ large. A similar notion applies to Sammy, Charlie and Chief, played by Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock respectively. They might be stereotypes, a symptom of the script adopting a brisker pace upon arriving in Man’s World, but the qualities that come with these rough character outlines aren’t why they’re funny.

This notion of ‘interior meaning’ was demonstrated last year in Batman v. Superman, when Gadot ad-libbed her smile during the Doomsday fight, before she rejoined the brawl. With the focus now on year, she shines even more brightly than she did there. Present in the actresses that portray a younger Diana, Gadot demonstrates a determination in all of her actions and decisions throughout the film, and as a fish-out-of-water, she plays confusion without an air of vapidity –– the moment in which she becomes enamoured by a baby sees her tap into the same compassion and care for life that takes across No Man’s Land in the second act, the film’s most inspiring and flowing sequence.


With Chris Pine, the pair demonstrate a chemistry that runs as an undercurrent in most if not all of their scenes even when it is not the focus and without either of them needing to say anything about it. Jenkins’ has a clear talent for non-verbal moments like this, the reason the wonders of the first act shine despite the heavy exposition about the mythology of the Amazons and gods. When dealing with scenes that are explicitly about the duo’s relationship, Jenkins focus on the pair and avoids cutting away to show reactions of others. This is about what they have together and that unity makes them best comic book pairing since Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, a comparison that would be made regardless, but is ultimately welcome.

If anything, this goes to show that a lot of the film’s problems exist on a script level. in fact the issues present in the film –– exposition, underwritten supporting cast, a third act that forgets some themes previously considered, bad CGI –– are ones present in most superhero films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad to offer just one possible assortment to fit this particular bill). It’s to the credit of Jenkins that the first two acts, the second most of all, are so strong, that these issues don’t weigh the film down further. In this lead-up to Wonder Woman‘s release, there was a worry that it would seem to similar to Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, but instead it feels fresh, in the way that Deadpool captured the zeitgeist and that’s a matter of new perspective.

Of course a disconnect from the wider DCEU helps with that. In fact, we don’t receive a definitive answer as to why Diana left Man’s World and the film would be better served without a framing sequence possibly reminding reviews of that. As with those moments mentioned previously with regards to ‘Interior Meaning’, this sense of hopefulness hasn’t been seen in this universe before (even if select viewers found it in Man of Steel) and the sheer desire to do good is frankly awe-inspiring, hopefully a point of refocusing for this franchise.


With any luck this refocusing will shift away from fights set against green-screens involving all manner of flames and explosions. This is where the film becomes messiest, the bad CGI more noticeable now taking center stage, not helped by the editing. Despite this, Gadot remains a constant, continuing to show that she demonstrates this character in a way that even fans of her previous appearance likely couldn’t have anticipated. Through this it becomes clear that it’s never been Gadot’s acting that’s been flat, but instead that it seems this way when what’s around her, background and elements in the scene, are.

By and large, I think we’d like comic book movies to be something more, which is why so many latched onto Logan because it wasn’t a comic book movie played straight in its first half. At the same time, we have to also recognise that when one wants to be a comic book movie where good stops evil and then goes on to do that exceptionally well then that’s as equally deserving of praise.

Thankfully, Wonder Woman did not end up being a rehash of movies that Marvel made six years ago, but instead a refreshing and joyful experience because of how it subverts those, fighting against the traditions of the genre for as long as it can hold out, and at 140-minutes, it does so for near-two hours. It grants Steve an arc rather than relegating him to the role of romantic interest alone, a lesson which needs to be universally applied to the genre, blockbusters and film at large. When Jenkins is able to place the camera further back, a benefit of filming in real-world locations, and shoot action wide over the industry-standard proximity, the phenomenal blocking and choreography gets shown off, most prominently on Themyscira. It does not get lost in the weeds of what it means to be a hero, postulating if Diana can wield the lasso like they wondered if Steve could with the shield.

Instead, she simply does.


Remembering Darwyn Cooke: How Going Solo for ‘Solo’ Made Him Stand Out

If given the chance, don’t hesitate to go full auteur.

Darwyn died on the 14th of May this year, just a day after he and his family revealed he was undertaking palliative care after a bout of cancer. Even though the comic community braced for the worst, we had no idea the worst would come within in 24 hours. We mourned, people shared stories, I balled like a fucking baby. I needed to get something out at the time – I wrote this elsewhere:

I’ve seen this link upwards of 100 times in the past few hours and that’s a lowball estimate. Every time I do I hope to god that it’s a horrible April Fools joke, but it’s sadly not the case. Every time I see it, I just want to close the curtains, curl up and block it out because there’s no way that this can be true. Not Darwyn, please not Darwyn.

In 2004, he created The New Frontier, a story about the 1950’s when theCold War raged, minorities were persecuted, the Korean War left battlefields bloody and your neighbour could be a Communist if McCarthy decided they were.

The world had gone from the biggest war it had ever known and instead of striving to right the wrongs that led it down that path, it toed the line of an even bigger war that would surely bring annihilation.

Someone once asked me what made this book so special and I shot back


The book is vibrant, dripping with energy and hope. It’s the light amidst all the darkness. The characters smile. It’s a love letter, scratch that, it’s THE love letter to comics and heroes no matter who they are. When I’ve been having a bad day, it’s simply been enough to pick it off the shelf and look at. It’s one of my favourite things. Period.

It feels like I’ve been crying for two hours because of the news, I started writing something here that could just have easily been ‘fuck cancer’, but I broke down in the middle of it and just stared up at the ceiling. And there it was. Directly ahead – my copy of the New Frontier. I took it off the shelf and found his annotations at the back where he explains his process and the detail he put into the book. And for a moment, there were still tears, but there was also some optimism. His work is immortal, his layouts, his anatomy, his plotting, the subtle beats that make the work so rich for rereading

I don’t know if he or his family will see this. I don’t know whether writing this is more to express my sympathies or to try and make sense of how cruel the world can be. What I do know is that in the time I’ve been writing this, the New Frontier reaffirmed to me what I told that person when they asked me about what makes it so special. It’s a book about optimism. Of how the world can move from the dark and drab into the colour and joy.

Thank you, Darwyn Cooke.

I’ll concede it’s somewhat melodramatic, but like I said New Frontier is my favourite thing to ever come from DC so I hope you’ll understand where the reaction came from. I just wanted to share it in case I ever lose where I made the post originally.


Now to crack on with the piece.

[WARNING: The following will be discussing Solo #5 in extensive depth, each story contained within the covers is explored and analysed. Consider this your spoiler warning. Should you wish to buy the issue then the following link will direct you to Comixology where you can do so.]


Making Your Voice Heard

Comics are inherently a collaborative medium – writers, artists, colourists, letterers and editors work in unison to make them. You’ll find some people write and draw like Frank Miller in his legendary Daredevil run and The Dark Knight Returns. Jeff Lemire has a slew of creator owned works, some of which he’s done all bar the lettering for, but it’s rare to find a book in which a single person has done everything. To my knowledge, the closest you can get at Marvel is Kaare Andrew’s Iron Fist: The Living Weapon where he did all bar the lettering, Spider-Man: Fever by Brendan McCarthy, but even then he was assisted by Steve Cook or Weapon X by Barry Windsor Smith which has letters by James R. Novak. Outside of the big 2 you could look to webcomics like Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona for example where Noelle did everything.

Obviously being made by one person doesn’t make it inherently better than a book produced by a creative team, but it does infer auteurship. You can have auteurs that just write and draw because of the way their voice comes through like Miller in the same way that the Coen’s write the screenplays and direct, but don’t hold the boom mics on set. However, it’s easier to define something as someone’s singular vision when they’re responsible for every part of it.

Solo was an endeavor by Mark Chiarello where comic creators were given 48 pages to do whatever they want. The book is 12 issues of creators going wild without restriction.

Regardless of whether I like something, I can’t help but admire when someone swings for the fences – The Neon Demon is unapologetically Refn, I consider Avengers: Age of Ultron the superior Avengers movie because of how it’s distinctly Joss and as a result, the closest an MCU movie has gotten to being a [insert name here] movie over a Marvel movie since Iron Man set the house style (I’d say more on this next week, but I’ll play it safe and say I aim to get it our by the end of the month). I think  Mr. Robot has gone massively off the rails from a story perspective, but I have to salute Sam Esmail for putting everything into making it his show from being the showrunner to being the eye behind the camera.


As a result, I would have admired Issue 5 of Solo regardless of quality, but Darwyn is one of the best creators of the millennium and he wrote, drew, coloured and lettered the hell of it. It’s my favourite issue of the series and I first read it after he passed. At the time it helped to cope with him leaving us (the panel above made me laugh because of how comics internet has adopted the Tom King CIA meme), but, now almost four months on it’s an issue which defines his approach to comics.

The Origin Story

Everyone’s got one, but not everyone’s is tragic. World’s Window hearkens back to an idealised 1950’s suburbia bathed in golden sunlight. It’s a story which shows us how much our lives can change in an instant. Initially Darwyn is interested in golf and is gifted his own club from Jack Storms, but he stumbles across Roberta, his wife. She’s painting in the gazebo. Turns out that Darwyn also likes to draw. In the space of a panel Darwyn becomes enthralled and asks every question under the sun that he possibly could. He’s given some art supplies so he can learn to paint. Back home, the golf club is cast aside and Darwyn’s at a table. It ends by pushing in on piece of paper that’s ready to be painted on. A blank canvas. Anything is possible.


Multiple Lies by the King of Spies

King Faraday is living the fantasy life as John King. He’s a secret spy in Cuba with a ‘wife’ and a ‘girlfriend’, his wits, charms and charisma. He gets to take down a bad guy – Javiar Manale who’s helping Castro. His girlfriend is Manale’s wife. Even when Manale knows his girlfriend is being unfaithful, King isn’t one of the people killed for her unfaithfulness.  When he’s later found out, he survives thanks to a cross from one of the men previously murdered. He survives on the faith that he will (plus Manale’s gun backfired and does the work for King). When he rushes back to the compound to crack the safe for the spoils, he’s confronted by his girlfriend and his wife who are in cahoots. Their guns trained on him. He makes a run for it. He has faith he’ll make it. Again optimism is an recurrent theme in his work.

What Are These Funny Pages Doing In My Funny Books?

A brief interlude. Pin-ups of Zatanna, Black Canary and Catwoman remind me of Phil Noto’s variants from a couple years ago capturing our heroes in subdued and candid (not that definition of candid, there are other sites for that sorta thing) moments of life. [They’re in the link dump] Zee’s and Dinah’s feel like they could be from a Justice League party when the photographer could steal a moment and them away from the crowd. Selina’s is reminiscent of a New Yorker cartoon. The rest of the stuff on the 2 page spread could be cartoons from the Sunday paper, built on short term set-up and payoff, one panel punchlines. A Brief History of Mainstream Comics in America is sobering. The industry’s survived this long, but the kids from the 40’s have moved on and the kids of the 60’s who were so desperate to stand out from their parents run the stories in the 90’s and hate the kids of the era. In present times, the damage has been done and no one’s doing anything to bring the kids back. The panel that informs us the most about Darwyn is the one about the 50’s. People burning comics. It makes sense why The New Frontier is designed to show us that superheroes endured despite America trying to suppress them.


It’s Not So Much Attraction, So Much As It’s The Suction

Everyday Madness is like a Jimmy Olsen comic that was shot down when pitched. A man tells us a story about falling in love with his vacuum cleaner, only him to step back before it gets too serious. It can’t deal with this, steals his trousers, he kills it and flees the scene to find a tailor and a new fling.

Okay so maybe it’s a little more out there than a Jimmy Olsen comic, but seriously have you seen those issues, they’re not exactly grounded — I digress. This is my least favourite part of the book, but good god is it vibrant and dynamic. It’s also one of those surreal gags, akin to the segment of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask that stars Gene Wilder. You know the one. Where he falls in love with a sheep at the expense of his existing life and by the end the sheep is gone and he’s left with nothing. Nothing. [Editor’s note: Couldn’t resist that Willy Wonka gag]. The real difference here is that our protagonist seems doomed to repeat the cycle anew. Maybe it’s a statement on capitalism like the TV joke on the funny pages. We fall in love with our consumerist objects until they break down, but we get a new one and are impressed because it’s got a new dial or holds more songs or it’s got a new hat. Or you know, something like that.

War. What Is It Good For? That Begs The Question.

We’ll get to the stuff in Jimmy’s at the end, but just before The Infidel, Slam snaps at an Ann Coulter stand-in who dismisses the lives lost in Iraq as ‘acceptable’ even if they didn’t have WMD’s. In New Frontier, Hal Jordan finds himself fighting for his life against a Korean soldier who’s doing the same for theirs. In the frenzy, Hal forgets his Korean that will allow him to explain an armistice has been signed. Hal kills him. He did it to survive, but prior to that encounter he’d never used lethal force. After being rescued Hal speaks Korean, It translates as ‘It’s over. Make war no more’. The Question’s story is from the perspective of a man who’s been instructed by higher-ups to complete a mission in a post 9/11 world. To destroy 15 camps where the hijackers of the planes were trained. The piece asks whether a single person can act without influence from external sources. If it’s possible to focus on the absolute and objective truth over what we need to believe to get the job done. These two interludes show there’s only a select few of us to have walked the Earth that can tell us where it’s worth it. That said, Darwyn also seems to be saying if it’s worth it, why can’t we just stop? One person can’t do it,  but what if we all tried?

A Bloodied Canvas

Some events are doomed to be repeated. Some people have similar origins. A boy’s parents are gunned down simply for being in the wrong place when a trio hit a jewelry story. Batman gets there too late to save them, but he’ll be damned if the boy carries on any further down the path Bruce Wayne is stuck travelling. The gang are tormented by Batman who pursues them relentlessly through the night. From Dusk to Midnight. By the end the crooks get taken down by what’s lurking in the shadows. One admits he’s nothing. By Dawn, Bruce laments life lost. This is a story that one wishes will not be repeated through the ages.


Last Call

Let’s jump back to the start where Slam Bradley tells a riveting tale about an Atomic Monkey and Madame X and just before we break into a surrealist Steranko spy tale — King Faraday cuts him off. Does it make for a good story? Probably, but the best ones are about people rather than plot. Those are the ones I live for. They step into Jimmy’s, a Cheers-ian paradise where you can go, all your favourites are there, everyone knows your name and you their’s. [Upon rereading, I just noticed King mentions Grace – his ‘wife’ from King of America. Even now Darwyn’s making me appreciate his craft more than I thought possible]. Jimmy’s off the map, it doesn’t have a set place, it’s timeless. We all have a place like this.

When we spend the night at Jimmy’s we see all kinds of people. We overhear parts of conversations that makes us smirk to the people we’re with, that makes us grit our teeth so our tongue doesn’t run away from us to set the record straight. We exchange stories because even if you’re alone at the moment, we’ve all got some. People assure us they’re okay while their faces betray them and say everything they don’t want to. We share moments with kindred spirits and appreciate the brief escape from whatever’s keeping us down. We share nights with those near and dear, maybe you skip out and see where the night takes you. In the end you’ve got a story. We live so we can tell people what we did. The underlying theme of this issue is story. Origin stories, the ones we embellish with little details to add more flair, the ones that don’t bear repeating, the ones ‘that you had to be there for’, the ones we treasure.

The issue is a masterpiece, that much is certain, but the pages at Jimmy’s are the opus of Solo. And that’s because it crafts some of the best back and forth. It invites you in for 6 pages and you feel like you’re there until last call. You meet characters with character. At the end of the night, you don’t want to leave. If Darwyn had wanted to write 48 pages where we filter through the patrons and just listen then I would love it just as much. This issue is a testament to stories as is, if it were 48 pages at Jimmy’s, it would be no different.


Darwyn may no longer be with us, but we still have New Frontier which is simultaneously the best Green Lantern story, the best Martian Manhunter story and the best Justice League story. I wish they’d used this as a touchstone when making the DCEU. We still have Batman: Ego which is the definitive answer to not only should Batman kill, but also ‘Which Batman book should I read?’, we still have his art book shows how his craft can stand up on it’s own. We have his variants which represent that characters perfectly, we have his Spirit run for pulp hero perfection. We have his Catwoman redesign which is the best costume she’s had. We have Parker to show how incredible he was at taking a work and making it his own. We have Solo #5. 48 pages which are 100% him swinging for the fences so I’ll remember him as the finest auteur to ever work at DC.

Thanks for reading. Now go read everything he’s ever done.

Link Dump


Darwyn’s issue of Solo available by Comixology. If you haven’t previously, I implore you read it. If you want to read the full series then you’ll need to buy the Deluxe Edition which could be on the way to being Out of Print. 


New Frontier. The finest thing DC’s published. I shouldn’t have to tell you this is worth reading. The Absolute Edition and OHC are Out of Print, but a new trade version just released and that will be available from your online retailer of choice. Also your Local Comic Store may have a copy or let you order one in.


Comics Alliance ran a series of discussion on all 12 issues of Solo. Here’s their thoughts on Darwyn’s issue.


Phil Noto’s variants


Praising ‘The Omega Men’

Praise Alpha! Praise Omega! 

[Warning: This piece contains a minor spoiler for ‘Green Lantern: New Guardians’  as well as a brief discussion about the early plotting of ‘The Omega Men’]

So, if you’ve been following DC’s Rebirth initiative, you might have heard of Tom King. He’s writing this little book called ‘Batman’ with pencils by David Finch, inks by Matt Banning, Danny Miki and Sandra Hope, colours by Jordie Bellaire and letters by John Workman. Its first arc ended just last week with #5 and the final page proves the ride is only going to get crazier.

You might not have heard about ‘The Omega Men’ which started in June 2015 from King, Barnaby Bagenda, Joze Marzan, Jr., Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and Pat Brosseau with covers by Trevor Hutchison. Sadly it was DC’s lowest selling book which is incredibly unfair because it’s the best DC book from the past 5 years.

I’m being deadly serious; this book was the highlight of my pulls month to month and has firmly cemented itself in my Top 3 DC books of all time as well as my Top 10 Comics of all time. And as luck would have it, the collected edition is being released the week I publish this piece. What are the chances?

(Quite high, its release was the impetus for this post)

When I’ve been recommending it normally, I’ve called it this generation’s ‘Watchmen’ and I’m not just saying this because it’s a 12 issue maxiseries, but also because how it uses a 9 panel grid and how each issue attempts something different. For example, #3 sees the Omega Men attempt to capture a high value target and when things turn violent, the framing is locked in place resulting an action sequence that’s crisp and choreographed expertly meaning you can see exactly how the characters transition from each move or stance to the next.


Some Context

So the Omega Men were created by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton in ‘Green Lantern’ #141, they then had their own series which ran 38 issues by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen and a later 6 issue series by Andersen Gabrych and Henry Flint. The Omega Men hail from the Vega system which is ruled by the Citadelians with an iron fist looking to indoctrinate the citizens of the system into their regime. The Omega Men are a group of rebels fighting back. A treaty has decreed that the Green Lantern Corps are forbidden from entering the Vega system. In the original material, the founding members included Primus, Kalista, Tigorr, Broot and Doc.

But What About the Newest Series?

The set-up for King’s 12 issue series is very much the same, except Kyle Rayner (a White Lantern) comes to the Vega system and hands over his ring in order to gain passage in the hopes of being able to kickstart negotiations between the Citadel and the Omega Men so  peace can return to the Vega system. Instead the Omega Men stage his execution, stick a bomb in his neck and attempt to coerce him into joining their cause.

In this series King doesn’t so much as blur the lines between black (evil) and white (good) resulting in a grey (morally ambiguous). Instead, he removes the lines and allows readers to decide whether the Omega Men’s cause is righteous and if their actions are justified. Essentially imagine the opening to ‘A New Hope’ where the Tantive IV is being pursued by a gargantuan Star Destroyer, but picture it so both sides are fighting dirty and neither much cares who’s caught in the crossfire so long as they achieve their goals. Possibly inspired by the time he spent in Iraq, the series examines war, its purposes in the world and its consequences. Whether it can be good, or righteous. Whether it’s just a means to an end or something more. Whether it can be deemed ‘worth it’ once the dust has cleared and the true extent of the damage can be examined.


Bagenda creates a new world every issue which feels lived in and distinct – the two panels above this paragraph adhere to a general aesthetic, but are completely different worlds (Thanks to Reddit user /u/Kobe13 for providing the panels), Fajardo, Jr.’s colour palette is fairly muted, so when there’s high-octane panels which demand the colour pops and stands out, that effect is achieved. I could probably write a piece about Hutchison’s covers which take the form of propaganda posters. Some of them are defaced which bolsters the idea this is a war of give and take where both sides are fighting to push forward, but hold on to what they already own.


This is most evident when you look at the cover to #6 which combines elements from #2’s cover as well as #3’s with an image of Kyle as if someone has tried to tear the posters off the wall and a subsequent poster has been placed in the same spot. Another interesting dynamic to the cover is how someone has clearly tried to rip off the poster of Kyle, likely as a result of the word ‘Capture’ which is mostly visible and suggests that support for the Omega Men has grown, so much so that people are willing to try to protect them in whatever way they can.

I could probably write a piece on each issue – how #1 skips front-loading the book with exposition and instead we join the frenzy in medias res (Yes I’m putting my film degree to use, what of it?) meaning the characters are defined by their actions in battle, how #2 uses the 9 panel grid to provide a disturbing take on the Green Lantern oath by comparing it to how it’s recited in other comics, I’ve already spoken about the staging of #3 and I feel it’s unfair to tell you about the following 9 issues and instead let you discover how wonderful it is for yourself.


As a final point I want to add that the book was originally cancelled after the release of #4. It was subsequently uncancelled within the week. It was DC’s lowest selling book, way below the normal amount a book needs to sell in order to carry on being published. Fan support was so strong that DC reversed their decision and let the story play out to its natural conclusion. The last time they uncancelled a book was ‘Manhunter’ which was almost 10 years ago. That doesn’t happen to any old book.

In Conclusion

Tom King is now writing Batman, just over 2 years after he got his start at DC, just over a year since Omega Men started, he’s headlining their flagship book (and almost ironically after Omega Men’s sales, their best-selling book in June). They don’t hand out that gig to just anyone.

I’ve bought every single issue of the series. I’m buying the trade. I’ll buy the Absolute if they do one. I’ll buy it in every format I possibly can. You should too.

That’s how good it is.

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this then please share it with others. Keep circulating the hot takes.

P.S. Also each of the 12 issues and book as a whole is symmetrical and that’s really freaking cool.

Link Dump

If you’d like a taster of the book then check out the sneak peek DC released prior to the series’ release which sets the stage. What’s genius about the sneak peek is that it’s 8 pages from a static camera angle which draws comparisons to videos from ISIS and other such terrorist organisations which creates an expectation in your mind of who the Omega Men are. It purposely makes them out to be the bad guys because they’ve captured Kyle Rayner and slit his throat which can then be juxtaposed to the following issues as we delve more into who the Omega Men are.



So I was trying to work out a way to include this in the main body, but to discuss it would reveal more about the series than I would like to. Regardless this video is from Strip Panel Naked (a channel you should be following anyways) about #9 and how it utilises the 9 panel grid and the symmetrical nature of the book to convey control. Ideally watch this after you’ve read the series, but if you need some more convincing about how well this series is structured then give it a watch.


And now a multitude of places where you can purchase the collected edition.


Should you be someone who reads digitally




Amazon UK and US links. Obviously if you live elsewhere then just search for Omega Men: The End is Here because there’s not enough space here for every country’s Amazon.



Wordery should this be cheaper than your standard online retailer.



InStockTrades link for you lucky yanks with ya cheap books and free shipping when you spend on cheap books. If you want to qualify for free shipping then why not pick up the rest of King’s work – Grayson, Vision and Sheriff of Babylon


Or you can of course buy from your Local Comic Store should you wish to support them.