Join us in a beautifully intriguing urban fantasy nightmare with “Nomen Omen” #1.
Written by Marco B. Bucci
Illustrated and Colored by Jacopo Camagni
Lettered by Fabio Amelia
“TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART,” Part One No matter how fast you run, sooner or later your past will catch up with you. Enter Becky Kumar, a geeky twenty-year-old from New York City who is about to cross the veil between our reality and a realm of otherworldly truths. From writer and RPG creator MARCO B. BUCCI (Magna Veritas, Memento Mori) and artist JACOPO CAMAGNI (X-Men Blue, Deadpool The Duck) comes a tale of tales, witchcraft, and secrets for mature readers that rewires the rules of urban fantasy. #wakeup
The debut of “Nomen Omen” is quite a ride. Not quite a reckless dive into magic and mysticism as some others may attempt, Marco B. Bucci uses the first of his fifteen issues to slowly work the audience into how the world works from an outsider’s perspective. Very little, if anything, is actually explained, and that style of writing works wonderfully for “Nomen Omen” #1. Not quite decompressed, but not breakneck speed either, Bucci’s writing comes in more a stream of consecutive bursts of revelations and surprises, rather than any single large, sweeping “this is who you are” moment. The result is a trek into the dark woods with Bucci to guide, never knowing what is going to come next or how things may be turned on their heads from the calm beginning to the shocking end, without ever seeming overwrought or reliant exclusively on twists either. There is something ethereal to the dark fantasy story, but Bucci seems comfortable with not letting readers know precisely what it is just yet.
Even if one were to look past the intriguing story, Jacopo Camagni’s artistic brilliance makes up a large part of the draw for “Nomen Omen” #1. Utilizing smooth pencils, he creates a fluid, flowing world that comes together as utterly natural on one hand, while simultaneously allowing a relatively seamless integration of mysticism. When there are intrusions, the panel structure can feel it, images seeming to almost lean on one another, intentionally overcrowding a page to give an overall stressful sensation for readers in keeping with the characters themselves. To further integrate into the characters’ perspectives, Camagni uses shadows for a foreboding feeling, or only very small slivers of panels in order to assess the bare essentials of something that happened which a character would have difficulty easily remembering, and also makes use of consecutive, barely changed panels of the same image to show time passing, such as food slowly disappearing from a table.
More than the illustrations by themselves, Camagni’s use of color is able to both convey mood and draw readers into the narrative itself. At certain points in his artwork, color can be very soothing, such as the example of warm, soft colors, such as a car ride against a sunset through the peaceful mountains. In such scenes, everything is entirely colored in, including the various figures and objects, rather than anything being left as a random wash of light. By contrast, as that very same drive transitions into night amongst forested locations, use of color is much more harsh, in keeping with the increased fear on the part of the focus characters. Sticking nearly entirely to reds and dark greens, Camagni is able to both give a common depiction of people caught in lights on the road as if viewed through an imaginary low light vision camera and, through such a limited range, emphasize ritual markings and people differently while never truly turning away from a feeling of fear.
Then there is Camagni’s use of color as a narrative tool. Given that one of the characters has achromatopsia (total colorblindness), Camagni is judicious in his use of any hues outside of a grayscale for large portions of “Nomen Omen” #1. This lack of color, aside from being consistent from a narrative point of view to show our new protagonist and her visual perspective, has a multitude of additional uses. Color is not entirely absent, and much like in the closing moments of the first few pages, a shocking display of new, vibrant shades and hues provides a raw sense of energy, of wonder, for readers who were not expecting it at all. Each of the mystical elements in “Nomen Omen” #1 are treated with this level of bizarre, intrusive color, though beautiful to look at all the while. From the wonder of a dream to the shock of a horrifying event, Camagni definitely knows how to use the full spectrum of his palette to great effect.
Fabio Amelia’s lettering encompasses a multitude of different styles throughout “Nomen Omen” #1. The main difference point seems to be in the context of the words themselves. Conversations use print in all capital letters, with bold for emphasis, as is common of many different series’ typography. Blocked out, gray boxes of upper- and lowercase text when going into heavily analytical thinking, such as remembering the symptoms of a specific type of injury, making those panels almost appear like a series of snapshots to a medical textbook. The way in which sound effects are represented makes them appear intentionally grating, as if scratched into the page by a nail or knife rather than written or drawn. An odd, intriguing style of writing from top to bottom like a teardrop comes up at one point, demonstrating a passage of time as well as being written out like a beautiful poem, distinguishing itself in a marked way from most other comics on the stands.
Final Verdict: 8.5– A fascinating story and gorgeous artwork await in this newest tale of a dark urban fantasy.