DISCLAIMER: They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if that is the case, then the team over at Thoughtballoons must be really chuffed right now because the whole idea behind this Blog entry is ripped directly from them! Thanks, guys :-D
So anyway, I wanted to write a piece about one of my favourite Marvel characters because I don't feel he gets the props he deserves. He goes by the name of Omega Red, but unfortunately, outside of Wolverine circles, he is pretty-much unknown, so here is my spotlight on him:
Why Omega Red?
Omega Red (aka Arkady Gregorivich) has always held a place in my heart, in that he was my first-ever comic book villain. Back in the early ‘90s, my first (and possibly only) comic was X-Men #4, which featured Omega Red as the lead antagonist against the X-Men. I’ve since learned that this was in fact his first ever appearance, so if you think about it, Arkady and I came into the world of comics together.
He was quite the villain too: He appears to have a “Healing Factor” on par with Wolverine’s, except that his needs to be recharged from time to time by draining the life-force from others, and is therefore referred to as his “Death Factor”. He is also able to secrete pheromones that are deadly to anyone in his immediate vicinity and has long Carbonadium tentacles that he can extend and retract through openings in the undersides of his wrists, which “serve as both conduit and stabilizing factor for his mutant pheromones.” So basically, he’s just a serious bad-ass!
Anyway, since his appearance in the story arc of X-Men #4-7, he had a steady stream of cameos for the next 2-3 years, but these soon dwindled to yearly appearances. From the start of 1999, there was a 3 year gap where ol' Red was laying low, until he popped up again in Wolverine #170 for a brief arc, and then returned to a 4-year-long hibernation.
Ultimately, however, it was his buddy Wolverine who plucked him from the archives to feature in a Wolverine: Origins arc lasting 5 issues. There was then another year’s break until finding a few more sporadic gigs, and even popped back up in Wolverine: Origins… only to be killed! Poor Arkady…
Will we ever see Omega Red again? Who knows? If the past has shown us anything, it is that if a comic book character dies… it doesn’t necessarily mean they are dead!
In keeping with Thoughtballoons' tradition, I've also prepared a comic script based on this character. I'm not sure where it would fit into his chronology, or even if it could, but I feel it sums the character up pretty well, so I hope you enjoy...
PANEL ONE, PAGE-WIDTH
We see a close-up of Omega Red looking straight at us with flaring red eyes. He has a slight grin on his face.
CAPTION: Most call me a murderer.
CAPTION: Which is an accurate-enough title, I suppose.
CAPTION: You must remember, however, that I never asked for this...
PANEL TWO, PAGE-WIDTH
We see that he is sitting on a self-made throne of sorts, his carbonadium tentacles hanging off the ends of the armrests. He is now smiling.
CAPTION: I admit, I do enjoy it.
CAPTION: But only so much as a smoker enjoys a cigarette--or an alcoholic, a bottle of whiskey.
PANEL THREE, PAGE-WIDTH
We can now see the whole scene with two energy-giving mutants on the floor before him (e.g. Gambit). He has a tentacle wrapped around each. They both look malnourished and barely conscious. Omega Red is now laughing.
CAPTION: The good news is--
CAPTION: --I've discovered a way that I no longer need to kill.