For a series which is based around the concept of time travel, in a legacy property like Doctor Who, the relentless forward march of time has proven to be something of a curse. As the years roll on by, bits of the programme’s past start detaching themselves, like melting icebergs. All in all, a stark reminder that none of us are getting any younger, as the list of names remaining from Who’s original run gets ever smaller.
One of the more recent losses was Bob Baker, who – with his co-writer Dave Martin – contributed to Who throughout the 1970s, and will forever be feted for jointly creating K-9. With Baker having passed away in November 2021, his legacy is in safe hands, as his work lives on not only through Doctor Who itself, but also via spin-offs, such as the Omega comic mini-series from Cutaway Comics, which reaches its climax with a barnstorming fourth issue.
A major challenge for Omega writer Mark Griffiths has been in using the character of Omega without explicitly referring to his being a Time Lord (due to that dratted BBC copyright), but Griffiths has managed to get around this beautifully, and given little nods and winks here and there, while also making sure the story has been perfectly accessible for non-Who fan comic readers. In fact, having to avoid references to the main show has given a certain creative freedom and innovation to the comic, by not being shackled to it like Prometheus.
Even if the story had not been up to snuff (which, thankfully, could not be further from the truth), then Omega definitely would have been worth getting for the artwork alone, which is a joy to behold. You would be hard pressed to find a better looking comic during the last 12 months, and what makes it particularly remarkable is that it has originated from a small, independent publisher, and not one of the industry’s heavy-hitters; in fact, they could evidently learn a thing or two from Cutaway.
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The legendary John Ridgway’s art is always a delight, and he certainly has risen to the occasion when meeting the varied and exacting demands of Griffiths’ script. What has elevated the comic even further is the frankly astonishing colour work by Andrew Orton, giving the art a richness and vibrancy that really feels like next level stuff. Being far better than we had any right to expect, Orton’s vital contribution to the success and impact of Omega as a finished product simply cannot be overstated.
With Omega having been kept very much in the background until now, the time has finally come to cross through to the universe of anti-matter, and finally encounter the one who has been behind all of the planet Minyos’ woes. As Omega is a being composed of sheer force of will alone, we get to see him exercise his great mental powers, demonstrating here just how formidable he truly is. Griffiths manages to give a poetic end to the story, while also leaving things just where they need to be, in order to tie into the continuity which was already established in Doctor Who.
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An honourable mention also needs to be given to Omega’s backup strip, ‘The Demons Of Eden’, which took a TV story and used it as a jumping-off point for something bold and fresh, rather than falling into the trap of doing a basic and predictable sequel. Writer Ian Winterton and artist Martin Geraghty have delivered something which is cut from very much the same kind of cloth as the best material of comics such as 2000 AD, proving a wonderful tonal contrast to the lead strip.
As with all Cutaway’s releases, you also get another extras-filled bonus disc, which includes audio interviews with John Ridgway and Ian Winterton; a newly-recorded commentary for the David Tennant tale ‘Utopia’ by the director, Graeme Harper; a video commentary on issue #4 of Omega by Mark Griffiths, Andrew Orton, and publisher Gareth Kavanagh; as well as – and perhaps most excitingly – an exclusive clip of the forthcoming audio adaptation of Omega, which will be starring that never knowingly understated national bloody treasure which is Brian Blessed.
Appropriate casting, really, as Omega has definitely been an endeavour worth shouting about.
Omega #4 is out now from Cutaway Comics.