Nomen Omen #1 // Review
A woman born of three mothers is drawn into magic quite against her will in the opening chapter of a 15-issue contemporary horror-fantasy series. Writer/RPG creator Marco B. Bucci crafts an interesting story of an aboriginal magic cast in the modern world. The story captured on the page by Italian comic artist Jacopo Camagni. A very complex story begins to draw itself into page and panel with a narrative opening in the past which cuts to the present as a humble heroine has a birthday in a casual setting before encountering something awful that launches a very intriguing new series.
The issue opens in 1995. Claire and Meera are a young couple driving a beautiful stretch of highway outside of Yosemite when a chance encounter with a massive truck causes the two of them to investigate a very strange crash. Apples are strewn all over the road and an apparently delirious Native American woman wanders out of the forest. There’s a mystical encounter a pregnancy is transferred. The first half of the issue closes in wondrous fantasy. The second half opens in black and white as the young woman born from that pregnancy (Rebecca Kumar) is just out of the hospital with a cast on her arm. It’s her birthday. She has an encounter that reaches right into the center of who she is.
So much of the plot of Nomen Omen sounds like poetry. The heroine is the colorblind daughter of three mothers. The three mothers met on an auto crash that spilled countless apples onto a deserted highway halfway into the decade that would end the last millennium. What opens in color with splashes of white slides into a black and white rendering with splashes of color. It’s a deeply poetic journey into a very conceptually ambitious story by Marco Bucci. The writer is someone who espouses the belief that traditional magic is real. He warns that the 15-part series will build into a cruel story. He describes the comic book as a group ritual. There’s a dizzying amount of conceptual depth in the story that serves as a firm foundation for carefully-crafted moments in the lives of a few people on the edge of magic who get thrust directly into it. It’s a very appealing opening to what might be a brilliant series.
Jocopo Camagni brings drama and magic to the page with compellingly fresh visuals that are tied to the natural world through supernatural energy. The beauty of the American southwest comes in beautiful colors as Becky’s origin is detailed. The nighttime accident has a beautiful kind of brutality about it as an overturned truck in the night has spilled out an ocean of blood-red apples. The second half of the issue is beautiful in its own way. Becky has achromatopsia--color blindness. The entire second half of the issue is sympathetic to the condition...entirely in black and white with the occasional vivid splash of color. It’s a very beautiful opening issue.
A fifteen-part series focussing on magic that is itself an exercise in a kind of group magic, Nomen Omen is a very ambitious, little project. Given the very intricately-balanced nature of the first series and the thoughtful way that it’s been placed on the page, Nomen Omen might turn out to be one of the more accomplished series to come out in 2019/2020. It’s certainly on track to do so in its opening chapter.