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Omega The Unknown #3: Review

Jul 1976
Steve Gerber, Jim Mooney

Story Name:

Burn While You Learn!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Omega The Unknown #3 Review by (November 21, 2023)

Review: Actually by Peter Silvestro. Yeah, yeah, superhero action is the subject of the story but the real points of interest are in the kids. James-Michael’s experiences in an inner-city public school may be exaggerated a bit (a bit) but it’s a crash course in sociology and psychology for our sheltered hero. Bullies and mayhem are his new world and we have every reason to fear for him. The most interesting character, whose story arc is complete in two pages, is Freddie, poster boy for the charity. He is fed up with being objectified, made a professional subject of pity, and praised for his courage by people who don’t understand what he is really going through. So he strikes out and becomes a hero—to be almost instantly squeezed back into the mold by the telethon host, an expert at manipulating emotions. But the kid seems happy for now. 

Comments: Also by Peter Silvestro. The title is a parody of “Earn while you learn,” slogan for adult continuing education programs. Written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes. First appearance of Dian Wilkins and John Nedly though it is spelled “Nedley” in all subsequent issues. The letters page includes one by a Jeff Johnson, who is likely not the future Marvel artist but could be.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Omega The Unknown #3 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Back at the clinic, James-Michael Starling and nurse Ruth Hart look at the Daily Bugle’s coverage of the Hulk/Omega battle, featuring photos by Amber Grant. JMS is summoned by Dr. Thomas Barrow. Baffled by the test results offering no clue to James-Michael’s ongoing attacks, Barrow again tries to get the boy to open up and talk to him but James-Michael is still reticent. Barrow tells him he is to start school that day….

Omega the Unknown awakens to find himself a prisoner of Electro in a subway understation, electrified cuffs sapping his strength. The villain wants Omega to restore the damaged assassin robot to working order. Omega strikes him and Electro falls back, knocking the robot onto the electrified tracks, reviving it. Electro is pleased….

James-Michael starts at a Hell’s Kitchen public school. He enters his first classroom where the teacher is unable to restore order to unruly students. He taps the teacher who, thinking a student is sneaking up on him, turns and slaps James-Michael’s face. James-Michael, unfazed, introduces himself and takes a seat. After class, a girl named Dian Wilkins offers to help him find his way around. She introduces him to the nerdy John Nedly but the tough kid, Nick Delbello, horns in, taking offense at James-Michael’s manner and challenging him to a fight after school….

Electro gives the reanimated robot its assignment, promising that when it is through it can have Omega to do with as it likes. While they are gone, Omega breaks his bonds….

James-Michael goes through the rest of his day but on leaving he finds his way blocked by Nick and his pals. James-Michael, not seeing why Nick would have any reason to fight him, tries to leave and the bully demands money to let him by. JM is confused, even moreso after Nick hits him and runs off. Amber picks him up, shrugs off the problem and suggests hitting back next time. At home, they turn on the television and see that a telethon to help disabled children has been taken over by Electro and the robot, with the villain demanding a huge payout or he will harm Freddie, the charity’s poster boy. Omega enters the studio, picks up the robot and hurls it into a television camera, destroying both machines. Electro and Omega have a standoff, each firing his preferred energy blasts at one another. Freddie, tired of being an object of pity praised for his assumed courage, swipes at Electro’s leg with his crutch, causing the villain to falter and be blasted by Omega. The show’s host immediately jumps in, hailing Freddie as the hero and asking Omega for a comment—but the hero cannot speak. At home, Amber is mad that Omega didn’t call her in advance so she could show up with her camera. James-Michael senses a change in the voices in his head, a new clarity….

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney
Hugh Paley
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Irv Watanabe.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Max Dillon)

Plus: Amber Grant (Amber Douglas), Dian Wilkins, Ruth Hart.

> Omega The Unknown: Book info and issue index

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