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The O Men #24

Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2004
By: Kelvin Green



ďVicious Circle Part Seven: Seven DaysĒ

Writer/Artist: Martin Eden
Publisher: Ominous Comics

Available at £1.50 per issue from:
Martin Eden,
19a Trevelyan Road
Tooting
London
SW17 9LS
Or from:
http://www.theomen.free-online.co.uk/

or from Martin directly at Bristol 2004.

Writer/artist Martin Eden makes a brave and unexpected move this issue as he takes a step back from the ongoing plotline (with three issues to go) in order to come back and look at it from a different perspective. In the hands of a lesser writer, this wouldnít work. The O Men are nowhere to be seen this issue as instead we focus on their American Justice League-esque counterparts, the USAviors, and a week in their lives that culminates with them investigating the odd goings on over in Britain.

At first glance, this is a more lightweight read than recent issues, with considerably more humour apparent, and a much more lighthearted approach. We get to see, for example, that even the Galactus of the O-verse is no match for an angry man in leathers as Underdog proves his worth yet again. And Galactus is not the only superhero idea that gets satirised here. Big crossovers, and particularly the recent JLA/Avengers series, get poked at affectionately and the idea of superheroes as celebrities is the source of a couple of jokes. Thereís even a throwaway moment that seems to be poking fun at the way US comics tend to portray Britain, as the more bone-headed members of the team indulge in some cultural stereotyping.

But itís not all laughs, as Eden brings in a couple of darker, more ominous (pun quite intended) moments, and handles them equally as well. A moment of realism creeps in as Eden lets us know that the World Trade Centre attacks occurred in the O-verse, and explains why the USAviours couldnít stop it, an explanation that is fitting and understandable. Thereís a sense of creeping doom and of things falling apart as the week goes on, and the reader finds themselves rooting for the team, begging them to not go to Britain to see whatís going on. The final pages are brutal and the cliffhanger heartbreaking. For characters who have had only very brief cameo appearances up until now, and only this one issue to allow us to get to know them, we as readers end up caring a lot for them by the end. Truly great writing.

If I have a criticism, itís that the art isnít as good as it could be and has been. Aside from a brilliant colourful cover that suits a team who live in a brighter, more comic-booky world than our usual protagonists, the internal art seems a little rushed. Edenís artistic strengths are still on show in the subtle facial expressions and body language, but things just seem a little frayed around the edges. And Iím really reaching for criticisms, to be honest.

Great stuff again from one of the best comics out there, self-published or not. Itís a crying shame that this is ending so soon.



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