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Omega: The Unknown by Jonathan Lethem

Omega: The Unknown

by Jonathan Lethem

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Omega: the Unknown is a really interesting graphic novel. The original Omega comic book series was from the 1970s, canceled after only ten issues until Jonathan Lethem revived it in 2007. This is a complex story involving a secret robot conspiracy and a mute, misunderstood, alien superhero.

“Alex” (Titus Alexander Island) is a precocious child-prodigy type, homeschooled until a car crash kills his parents - whom he at that moment discovers were robots. Alex’s life is turned upside as he moves in with a young nurse named Edie, attends high school for the first time in Hell’s Kitchen, while trying to figure out while he has this weird link with a mute, mysterious blue-costumed man and the Greek letter “omega” burned into the palms of both hands.

Also, there are robots everywhere, which is weird enough, but there is also a secret robot invasion going on, where they get into people’s blood and turn them into robot-zombies. At the same time, the city has another masked hero, a boisterous celebrity-type calling himself “Mink” who has marketed himself as the city’s saviour.

At high school, Alex isn’t able to fit in - his advanced vocabulary and academic learning sets him up as an easy target for bullies. Alex does make one food friend, a girl named Amandla, who helps him navigate the social world he is so alien too, and later helps him uncover the mystery of the blue-costumed man and the robots.

I found the plot really interesting - I liked the robot conspiracy thing, the nanomachines in the fast food chain and the take over of the university science labs. It was a neat touch, having the guy running his chip wagon outside the high school that had the secret antidote/vaccination to the nanobots in the salt on his fries.

I did wish we got to learn more about Omega though - the mute alien superhero seemed so sad and the comic strip he drew to explain his origins - so creepy.

I did wish the artwork had been better. It’s not really a style that works for me. And I found Alex to be a pretty boring protagonist. I never seemed ruffled or disturbed by anything that happened, no matter how bizarre, and that made it hard for me to connect or empathize with him.

So this is okay . . . it did make me curious to read the original comics from the 1970s. It was interesting to read the notes at the back of this collection, and look at some of the pages (from the original comics) they reproduced there, to compare to the new version. ( )
  catfantastic | Oct 13, 2015 |
Originally written in the 1970s Omega: The Unknown was a superhero comic that only lasted for a few issues. Now, all ten issues have been rewritten and placed into graphic novel format.

Omega: The Unknown is about a seemingly mute superhero; a boy who has lost his parents; a self-appointed superhero, The Mink; and an invasion of robots and nanotechnology! Two of them share the same destiny.

This was a book that leaves you wondering what happens next? Or how in the world does this all fit together? Although, I feel I missed a bit of the story, since I'm not used to reading graphic novels, I can certainly say it is not your traditional 'superhero' comic. ( )
  radical_rachel | Nov 6, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0785130527, Hardcover)

The story of a mute, reluctant super hero from another planet, and the earthly teenager with whom he shares a strange destiny - and the legion of robots and nanoviruses that have been sent from afar to hunt the two of them down! Created in 1975 by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, the original Omega the Unknown lasted only ten issues, but was a legend to those who recall it - an ahead-of-its-time tale of an anti-hero, inflected with brilliant ambiguity. One of Omega's teenage fans was award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem, who has used the original as a springboard for a superbly strange, funny, and moving graphic novel in ten chapters. Collects Omega: The Unknown #1-10.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:43 -0400)

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Presents the first ten volumes of the "Omega: The Unknown" comic, which features the adventures of a mute, reluctant super hero and the teenage boy who shares his destiny.

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