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Omega the Unknown

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  617 ratings  ·  101 reviews
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 -...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 24th 2008 by Marvel (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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As a child, Lethem was one of the many who were touched by a strange, singular, prescient comic called 'Omega the Unknown', which prefigured the psychological depth, realism, and genre deconstruction of the early Vertigo titles (my review here). As a successful adult, Lethem desired to return to the source of his inspiration, and to make it his own, which he certainly did, but I'm not entirely enthusiastic about the way he went about it.

Lethem decided to rewrite an iconic piece of cult comic his...more
Maybe it's just because I'm not familiar with the original series, but this seemed really... underdone. Also pretentious, but I'd be okay with that if it were either more intellectually rigorous, or more action-packed. Being neither, it just feels boring. The art is rather dull as well -- the lack of expressiveness weakens the effect of the robotic and otherwise emotionally stilted characters by decreasing their contrast with the "normal" ones.
Federiken Masters
Mar 05, 2011 Federiken Masters rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elitistas y existencialistas
Recommended to Federiken by: Riqui...
Creo que la intención era buena y la idea también, pero el resultado... aburrido como él solo. Toman un personaje que pasó con más pena que gloria por la Marvel de los 70s y lo ponen en un entorno actual, cambiando algunos detalles para que sean más políticamente correctos, pero generando el efecto inverso a la vez (por ej., la amiguita del protagonista pasa de ser una chica pelirroja a ser afroamericana, como para mostrar más diversidad étnica; pero a la vez, los patoteros que eran todos blanqu...more
Omega: The Unknown isn't badly done, but it suffers from "Squid in the Mouth" Syndrome. If you don't know what that means, look here (, under Part Two: Paragraphs and Prose Structure.

This graphic novel gets three stars because there's lots of stuff to like. I enjoyed The Mink, and the way the robots spread their robotness to human beings. The main character was basically raised by a pair of vacuum cleaners, and is utterly monotone and boring. That's ok,...more
Add this to the list of comics from over the last year that seemingly came out of nowhere and began as impulse buys only to quickly rise in my estimation above pretty much everything. Sure Jonathan Lethem is my literary homey with the OG Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill comic-loving chops, but he only co-wrote this and the whole thing is a nostalgic re-imaging of a beloved 70s series I never read, so I was very unsure this was something I'd get into. Boy was I wrong! The fact that Marvel published th...more
Feb 20, 2009 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
I blew through this one--could not put it down. The best superhero comic I've read in years, but then I am not a regular superhero comic fan; more like Alan Moore and Jeffrey Brown's Bighead. This is apparently a fairly faithful take-off from the original series with an updated setting and modified plot.

The storytelling in this book is superb. Lethem manages to avoid a lot of the problems that could befall novelists who venture into comics and takes good advantage of the form. I also really like...more
Damián Vives
Creado en 1975 por Steve Gerber y Mary Skrenes, Omega El Desconocido se convirtió en un personaje de culto de aquella década aunque sin el apoyo masivo para sostener la colección en el tiempo. Uno de sus lectores fue un joven llamado Jonathan Lethem, quien crecería para convertirse en uno de los escritores más prestigiosos de la moderna novela americana. Ahora, Lethem tiene la oportunidad de contar la historia de este misterioso héroe llegado desde otro planeta. Una novela gráfica en diez capítu...more
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah added it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This book was a hot mess that I struggled through, until eventually giving up half way through. And I never give up on books, particularly graphic novels. The combo of existentialism, mute superheros, and wtf robots just did not work for me. Somewhere out there is the right reader for this book. But that person is NOT me.
Dec 29, 2008 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Great fun, essential for Lethem fans, especially those (like me) who got hooked early on books like Amnesia Moon and The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye. A bit reminiscent of the terrific anime series FLCL. Highly recommended.
Absolutely brilliant---probably one of the best comics I've read in the past several months. Lethem's and Rusnak's story builds off of a short-lived and very odd superhero book called, Omega published by Marvel in the early 1970's. The book begins with us seeing teenaged Alexander lose his parents, and what follows is some of the most bizarre bits of comics I've seen in sometime: a silent superhero working in hotdog truck to make ends meet, a severed hand that sprouts legs and joins the revoluti...more
Let me preface my review with two comments, one positive, and the other negative, the latter will set the stage and colour for this review and will serve as a segue into my analysis. First, the art is well done. It's warm, inviting, and in someways, kinda hearkens back to the inky style of the Golden Age of Comics; a simpler time, which as I later found out was which the original "Omega the Unknown" attempted to do - what would seem to be a tribute by Lethem - instead comes across as an inconsid...more
Bryson Kopf
A book completely out of left field from Marvel, a publisher not really known for edgy indie-styled books (unlike DC's Vertigo line) remixing a long forgotten 1970s series by the legendary Steve Gerber. The plot is pretty dense, an odd boy, Alex, is taken to his first day of school but is attacked by robots. His parents get killed, and are revealed to also be robots; meanwhile, a mysterious superhero lurks in the background, springing into action to help smash more robots. There is a few main id...more
There was an excerpt from this in one of those "Year's Best Comics" anthologies that I was reading over the last few weeks. The excerpt was obtuse and baroque, annoying, cloying, demanding my attention. "what is this shit?" shouldn't be the overture to dismissal.
Thankfully, the library had it and I can return it now that I'm done with it.
There is so much to dislike: I hated how it ended. I am beginning to hate the artistic drift off into mystical rumination. Of homecomings and cosmic coincidence...more
3.5 stars...though perhaps this would increase with additional readings.

My understanding is that the MacArthur Fellows Grant ("genius" award) gave Lethem a bit of creative time and space to choose his next project and the inclusion of comics in Fortress of Solitude provided an opening to work with Marvel Comics. (I don't have any real details, so will not add any other presumptions.)

Here is what I know. Several years ago I was standing in a bookstore in New York City several years ago with the h...more
Reprints Omega the Unknown (Limited Series) #1-10 (December 2007-September 2008). Titus Alexander Island is raised and schooled by his parents, but suffers dreams of a man called Omega. When Alexander’s parents are killed in an accident, Alexander finds they are robots. Placed in the custody of a hospital worker and now finding himself in New York City, Alexander finds difficulty fitting in. Alexander works to adjust to his new life, and the being called Omega finds himself in the city being hun...more
The book Omega: The Unknown is a good graphic novel about a boys journey to becoming a super hero. Alexander’s parents had just died. When they died, he noticed that his parents weren’t really parents but yet robots. He has to move to New York and go to high school. He struggles to find friends and find special interests in robotics. Soon, robots came to New York terrorising the city. Alexander finds that he posses strange powers and is part of an alien group called Omega. He goes out to stop th...more
Tyler Hill
This is an amazing little comic that skews the superhero genre just enough to make it seem new and fresh again, and flirts with true greatness. It's hard to get into details since, as you might expect from a story who's title contains the word "unknown," half the fun is figuring out what it going on for yourself. But, Lethem and Rusnak weave a story the mixes super-heroics, teen-mystery, alien conspiracy, strange science and plethora of narrative devices in a way that does seem truly unique. Dal...more
I read this in the actual issues, but more or less all at once after the run had ended, so it was sort of like reading this trade... Anyway, this is some good stuff. Farel Dalrymple as an artist is almost as good as it gets (and it's a bonus to see his stuff in rare full color), and his kind of herky-jerky drawing really compliments the storytelling, which alternates between strangely-paced/somewhat stoic) and completely bizarre, with a weird deadpan sense of humor throughout.
I didn't really kn...more
Omega the unknown is a fast-paced graphic novel by Jonathan Lethem. The highly detailed and realistic comic styled drawings tell the story of Titus Alexander and his life after his parents die. He is forced to move to New York and start a new life there. He begins having dreams about a superhero who has the same markings on his hands as Titus himself does. When Titus realizes that New York City's real superhero is the man he sees in his dreams, he and his best friend Amandla set off on an advent...more
To start this off, I had a blast reading this book. The pictures in the novel are drawn with such great detail and make the story seem so much better. The plot of the story is the kind that makes you want to read more, and more, and more. The story line goes a little something like this. It starts off with this boy named Alex who gets in a car accident on his way to the city. His parents die and he is stranded alone to live life without any parents. As the story progresses, he meets a girl named...more
I wasn't sure I'd like this: I usually don't like boy-genius stories, or stories of precocious autistic kids (in other words, I usually don't like Wes Anderson). And Jonathan Lethem hasn't really been tested out on me yet, as I've only read his first novel and Amnesia Moon many years ago (who knows how much of this he actually wrote but that's another story).

But I really liked the hipstery art and coloring, and the whole book is a great package of neat design. And the story is a really odd one t...more
I know what you're asking: how can I review a book that isn't coming out until October? Well, I have already read 9/10ths of it in its "original form" (the tenth issue has yet to appear, as of this writing), and I can say with some confidence that this is the best comic I've read in quite some time. It's also easily the best fusion of the "traditional superhero" and the "alternative" I've ever seen. Oh, and it's hilarious to boot.

I don't know how the book will handle the small sad fact that two...more
Renee Alberts
Novelist Jonathan Lethem’s first foray in to graphic novels is an engaging blend of science fiction, mystery, coming-of-age, parody and homage to the original 1976 Omega the Unknown comic books.
Intersecting storylines parallel and overlap with characters’ mysterious pasts and motivations, including a silent superhero, his cheesy corporate foil, an overachieving high school student, and a talking (and singing) statue. The plot’s dizzying turns keep the reader guessing exactly from whom and what...more
Having never read the original Omega comics (except for what is in the afterword), I can't really say if Lethem does it justice, judging by what I've seen I think he may, but despite good writing (with occasional overwriting) and capable art, the book failed to engage me. Can't quite decided if it was due to it being overdone to the point of occasionally convoluted or if it had to do with the weird angularity and lack of detail in characters' faces or just the basic plot didn't grab my interest...more
A little confused by the negative reviews this is getting. It's not essential, but if you're a big Lethem fan like I am, this is like catnip. However, I would love to see it illustrated in the classic "Marvel House Style" of the original mid-70s run - the sort of funky/primitive style of the illustrator is not really to my taste, but not totally distracting.
A weird book, for sure, but that's what I liked about it. It's so bizarre that it always keeps you guessing. But it never pushes its weirdness or uses it as a crutch. Instead, it tells the story of a mute superhero trying to save the world and the teen he’s linked to, who is trying to connect with the world. It’s that character, Titus Alexander Island, who makes the comic so interesting. He’s a very real teenager, even if he is cold and superior; he’s also innocent to the trials and tribulations...more
This volume compiles ten issues of this comic. I'm not sure if this started as an ongoing that was cancelled or if it was always intended to be a short series. Whatever the case, I ended up wishing this had been a more compact graphic novel because the beginning is intriguing but reading through the whole thing gets to be kind of a slog. I'm not even sure I liked any of it, but the story elements and imagery really dug into my head suggesting the creators (particularly artist Farel Dalrymple) we...more
Probably my favorite part of the book was Lethem's commentary on the original, short-lived Steve Gerber series. I could identify with the intensity of his response to the original comic as a young adolescent, his vivid, sometimes even enhanced memories of it, and his desire to recreate it and finish it as it should have been finished. That said, Lethem's re-visioning of this series didn't pull me in. It seemed too calculated & deliberately ironic, and there were too many tangential plot thre...more
I actually didn't read the hardcover but the individual comic issues. It occupied a weird alternate reality with odd superheroes, instellar robots, alien observers and nanotech invaders. I liked how the Farel Dalrymple art was odd enough and far enough from the standard Marvel heroic tradition to create a tension. You knew from a glance this wasn't standard fare, and the tension was both part of the narrative and the reading experience.

The use of language in the text was also great. I loved how...more
This is quite possibly the worst thing I've read all year. There were superheroes, super villains, evil robots, magic salt, a labyrinth, robot parents, nanobots, and all sorts of weird elements to this story. I usually like weird, but weird didn't make this tale very good. In fact, the weird barely made this tale make any sense at all. There were moments of lucidity in the story which always seemed to be followed by things that didn't make sense. This book was just a big ole waste of time. I'm g...more
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Jonathan Allen Lethem (born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer.

His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel t...more
More about Jonathan Lethem...
Motherless Brooklyn The Fortress of Solitude Gun, With Occasional Music Chronic City As She Climbed across the Table

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