Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Omega Men #12

I haven't been this melancholy about a last issue since...I don't even have an example to give it's been so long.

The Review!
Entertainment in this day and age is bullshit. It doesn't ask anything of its audience. Hell, it doesn't even want its audience asking questions. It just says, "This is the good guy. This is the bad guy. This is the way the world should be, no questions asked." And what boggles my mind is that 21st century people seem to want it that way. They want their no-friction stories of tepid characters who all get along and stick together against the obvious bad people. The tellers of the tale do not want ambiguity. They do not want people making up their own minds. They want to put a finger in the face of the audience and waggle it around a bit. It's all propaganda and we're all blindingly consuming it so that something, anything, can give us a few moments of warm fuzzies in a shitty gray world of gray decisions and moral ambiguities. We ignore the hard conflicts because there are so many easy ones where we can take a side and feel safely righteous in our exuberant patting of our own backs. We express opinions we know have the support of others and secretly, fiercely, guard those opinions that might bring on a mob of holy crusaders. If we take a stand against the easy, popular opinion, we are sure to fall. And we're all too filled with cowardice for that. So instead, we argue about Doctor Who and Sherlock and comic books and Harry Potter. We attack showrunners and writers and artists when their superficial story choices aren't those we would have made. We take our battles to the popular culture because we have no stomach for a real fight. We're all assholes. Every single one of us.

That might not seem like a review of The Omega Men but I assure you it is. It's the highest praise I could give it.

The Commentary!
Today I'm reading the last issues of the best two series of the Prebirth comic books I have left in the stack: The Omega Men and Grayson. I'm still not sure how I'd like this comic book to end. Should it have a happy ending where the terrorists topple the government putting corporate financial matters ahead of the lives of ordinary people? Or should the violent extremists be gunned down by superior forces better at violence than they ever were? Should Kyle Rayner fail to stop tyranny from succeeding because that's a more realistic outcome? My guess is that The Omega Men who are still alive will be driven from the Vega system so that they can have another uncomfortably true story somewhere else in the Rebirth universe later. Oh! I know! Maybe instead of battling the metaphor, they can actually wind up on Earth and go up against the United States itself!

This issue begins with Kyle and the Omega Men closing in on the Viceroy of The Citadel underneath Kyle's memories of first meeting the Viceroy and getting the Viceroy's version of an imperialist's rationalizations. And then...well, I think I'll just finish reading it in silence. You already read my thoughts up there. In fact, right now, as I type this, you know more about my reaction to this comic book than I do. But two pages in and, once again, I just can't make stupid jokes while I read it. I need to immerse myself in this story. I need to be present. It's rare that a writer of comic books cares this much about a story they want to share with others, and I don't want to taint the experience by being distracted.

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