World building is an important part to any sci-fi epic, and Omega Men #3 takes the opportunity to expand on the cosmic side of the DC Universe by introducing a new player into the fold with Princess Kalista. The Princess begins her day with some brutal sparring with a native of Planet Euphorix. Kalista coldly explains to her sparring partner that he will die so that she can practice. In an act of cruelty, she forces her opponent to say his name before she kills him.
It’s a startling introduction that openly shows just how unjust the world of Euphorix is. And even as Kalista’s servant Talim dotes upon her, the reader gets a sense that Kalista yearns for some excitement that doesn’t come at the hands of slaves. Fortunately for her, that excitement arrives in murderous fashion as the Omega Men attempt to kidnap her. Kalista is not so willing to go, and her skill in combat proves quite dangerous for her would-be captors. Kalista duels Tigorr in one-on-one combat with each taunting the other before the rest of the Omega Men come to help.
Captured, she is thrown into the same cell that holds Kyle Rayner. She is fascinated by Kyle’s calm demeanor as well as his artistic endeavors. When she questions him as to his relaxed attitude, Kyle explains that they have explosive implants embedded in their necks; he uses the art to pass the time. It is not long before Kalista is called in to meet Primus, leader of the Omega Men, in order to discuss her fate.
Barnaby Bagenda’s art really shines in this issue as the storytelling is done primarily through this issue. I highly recommend that anyone reading this issue digitally read it both in the guided panel-by-panel view as well as in a page view like you would a print comic as both bring out different aspects of his artwork. A view of the individual panels will show great artistic skill in creating beats and pauses in the story (aided by Tom King’s expertly paced dialogue), while looking at the overall pages will show some lovely symmetry in the layouts. A large portion of the fight deals with a protracted bout between Kalista and Tigorr and Scrapps, and Bagenda creates a ballet of sorts, highlighting their different fighting styles as they duel. It’s a nice way to inform readers about the characters using their physicality.
Color artist Romulo Fajardo Jr. does a great job bringing Bagenda’s characters to life with a varied palette. The backgrounds are usually smoky washes, which gives the book a cohesive feel, even as it changes locations from Kalista’s palace to the spaceship of the Omega Men. And when the backgrounds are more detailed, Fajardo brings them to life with warm oranges and weighty blues and grays that make the world palpable. The use of color to provide shading on the characters faces is a nice touch that makes them come to life on the page.
Tom King’s script wisely allows for Bagenda’s charismatic art to do most of the storytelling, but when the characters do speak, King makes sure that it’s not superfluous dialogue. Kalista’s obsession with learning the names of her victims speaks to her vanity and arrogance. She knows she’s a deadly woman and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. And her conversation with her servant, Talim, towards the beginning of the issue aids the reader in understanding her actions at the end. It’s dynamic character building like this that will help separate Omega Men from the pack of science-fiction books on the stands.
Omega Men #3’s focus on action may be a detractor for readers looking for a more plot-intensive issue. While readers are introduced to Princess Kalista and given some great scenes for establishing her character, the issue doesn’t do much to advance the story beyond the Omega Men kidnapping her. That being said, this issue delivers some great action and Kalista makes an effective first impression, so it’s hard to fault the issue for letting the plot take the back seat.
Powered by Barnaby Bagenda’s electric artwork and Tom King’s sharp script, Omega Men #3 is the best issue yet in a series that continues to improve upon its foundation. Princess Kalista makes for a fascinating cast member and it will be nice to see her dynamics with the Omega Men evolve as the issue moves on. For fans of rogues and science fiction, Omega Men is proving to be can’t-miss material.