By d. emerson eddy — We're living in a time where there is a veritable embarrassment of riches when it comes to choice and quality for comics. If you don't particularly like superheroes, that's all right, because there's a huge selection out there. Publishers like Image, Dark Horse, BOOM!, Vault, IDW, Valiant, and more have you covered. Aside from arguably westerns and romance, you're not for want of reading material, high quality reading material, in just about any genre (including superheroes). So, on that landscape, it always surprises me when something raises itself above, strives to do something different, and delivers something unique, something challenging, from seemingly out of nowhere. Nomen Omen #1 is one of those books.
This first issue tosses us into a world of fantasy and horror, but it's subtle at first and taken in extremely different directions. The first half of the book is set in the past, introducing us to our protagonist's parents, her two moms, when they were young almost 25 years ago, going on a road trip. It's filled with standard youth misadventure until they come across a car accident. This is where reality falls out of the book the first time, and we're hit with some mysticism, eroticism, and the conception of our protagonist.
I think it's very impressive here how Marco B. Bucci, Jacopo Camagni, and Fabio Amelia ease us into the story. The first portion follows a fairly standard style for almost a teenage/college age creature-in-the-woods horror story. It lulls us into a false sense of thinking that we know how this is going to play out, even as it's well told, and beautifully illustrated.
Then it all changes when we jump to the future. Color fades. And we're introduced to our protagonist, Becky Kumar, who has achromatopsia. Which is a medical condition whereby people cannot perceive color, on black, white, and shades of grey. Personally, I think it's brilliant that Bucci, Camagni, and Amelia made the choice to show the story from her perspective. It perfectly uses the abilities of the comics page to present something different, something unique, in support of the story. It also helps that Camagni's art throughout looks stunning both with his colors, without, and with the very interesting, impactful use of spot colors that we see towards the end of the book. It's really rather magical.
Fabio Amelia's letters too make a change between the first and second halves of the book. The first half with white borderless word balloons and the latter an enclosed balloon with a line for a tail. I think it's impressive overall that it's almost like we're looking at two different stories, two different series, by different creators. It really adds to the overall experience of this story.
Overall, Bucci, Camagni, and Amelia craft an opening chapter here in Nomen Omen #1 that immerses us in this fascinating world, both in the content of the story and its presentation. All while keeping us off-balance entirely as to what's going on. There's a mystery to the magic that will hook you into carrying on, especially with a killer cliffhanger.
Nomen Omen #1
Writer: Marco B. Bucci
Artist: Jacopo Camagni
Letterer: Fabio Amelia
Publisher: Image Comics
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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.