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Omega The Unknown #5: Review

Nov 1976
Steve Gerber, Jim Mooney

Story Name:

Through the Rat Hole—Into the Cat’s Lair!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Omega The Unknown #5 Review by (January 2, 2024)

Review: Nice generic cover is preferable to more cats, I suppose. So, Omega defeats El Gato by…something about magic. I’ve read it multiple times and still can’t follow Gramps’ suggestions or the narrator’s explanations. But that’s all right since it’s Teresa who actually takes down the bad guy, by using his magic branding iron against him, which is simple to understand.

The true revelation is that James-Michael can now read minds and what he picks up is the coming appearance of another supporting character from MAN-THING who is Steve Gerber’s personal avatar. So we’ll wait. It’s the brutal beating of a child that gives the issue its real punch (no pun intended) as this is far more realistic than any battle with demonic cats can hope to achieve. And a blow against anyone who claims comics are mere escapism. On a positive note, the scene where James-Michael uses logic to cut through J. Jonah Jameson’s bombastic con job is classic.    

Comments: Part two of two parts. Written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes. Final appearances of Dr. Thomas Barrow and El Gato. Ruth Hart and Richard Rory were regular supporting characters in MAN-THING.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Omega The Unknown #5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At James-Michael Starling’s school, John Nedley, brutally beaten by Nick Delbello and his gang, staggers into the lunchroom and collapses. As the school nurse ministers to him, the voices in James-Michael’s head rise into a clamor of which the only word he can hear is “revenge” from a boy named Thomas “Tank” Tyson, who then runs out of the room. John is taken to the hospital….

Meanwhile, Omega the Unknown runs over the rooftops to reach the home of El Gato just as his limo pulls up. The villain emerges with Teresa Mendez, an enemy who he has hypnotized into becoming his wife; he commands her to make the announcement to his gathered acolytes. He leaves her in their hands, ordering them to prepare her for the Ritual of Purification. Omega enters the mansion through an upper window and discovers El Gato’s study. He becomes fixated on a cat’s skull candleholder and a pair of demonic cat spirits attack him; he tries to fight but the omegas on his hands appear upside-down thus his power is turned inward and his body explodes….

Amber Grant takes James-Michael with her to the offices of the Daily Bugle to confront J. Jonah Jameson over payment for her Hulk/Omega photos. JJJ tries to put her off by claiming the photos weren’t all that good which James-Michael claims is untrue because Jameson proudly published them on the front page and requested exclusive rights. Jameson buckles and writes her a check. Peter Parker asks if he can hire James-Michael for consultation but Amber brushes him off….

Amber takes James-Michael to the soda shop, which has been repaired in the two weeks since the Hulk wrecked it (issue #2). JM tells Amber about John Nedley’s injuries and how the voices in his head grew louder. He detects Ruth Hart walking by outside and knows she is thinking about someone named Richard; he also has a vague impression of some grotesque creature [it’s Man-Thing]….

Omega finds himself outside Gramps’ pawnshop and staggers inside. He spots a voodoo charm with a snake on it; Gramps talks about believing in magic which gives Omega an idea….

With Dr. Barrow’s intervention, James-Michael and Dian Wilkins are admitted to the hospital to see John Nedley. Surgery went well but he is still in critical condition. The sight of his battered and broken body is a shock to JM and Dian….

At El Gato’s home, the ritual begins. The old ladies bring Teresa in, still under hypnosis. El Gato produces a branding iron with a cat on it, intending to lock within her any spiritual powers she has. Omega crashes through the window and El Gato orders the hags to destroy him. While their corporeal forms are immobile, their astral forms attack him. Omega is able to sort out truth from illusion and defeats the old ladies. El Gato transforms into a black panther and pounces on the hero; in the melee, Teresa is jarred out from under the villain’s spell. The man versus cat fight spills out into the street where Omega unleashes his energy blasts on his foe, forcing him back into human form. Teresa brands El Gato on the forehead with his own branding iron, locking his mystic powers—and his consciousness—inside of him forever….

At the hospital, another badly injured boy is wheeled in and James-Michael and Dian recognize Nick Delbello….

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney
Janice Cohen
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

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

> Omega The Unknown: Book info and issue index

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