Thanks to the insane success of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, the eponymous team from the comic books has garnered quite a bit of attention (and rightly so). However, there’s a DC equivalent to Marvel’s team of extraterrestrials that, as a result of the other’s success, has been lost in the shadows. However, we’re here to tell you that DC’s grouping of alien misfits is incandescently better and deserves an equal amount of positive scrutiny, if not more so.
As a side note, we believe that this comparison will follow suite with what will undoubtedly happen when DC catches up with Marvel Studios and releases its adaptation of their own superhero team, the Justice League, in the wake of the Avengers’ continued success.
But back to the Omega Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Seeing as, at least the first, Guardians film—starring Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Batista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket—is based off the 2008 reiteration of said team (and is, therefore, the most popular), we’ll be comparing that version with the most popular (and well-known) version of the Omega Men, the first one. Here are 15 reasons why the Omega Men are not only better, but should be released as a movie (and, in turn, crush the Guardians film adaptations).
15. The Big Picture—Just Sniffing Around Vs. The Fight Against Slavery
In Guardians, the overarching premise that makes the story “more” than just a bunch of aliens trying to guard their galaxy (hence, their unimaginative name) is much blander than the one surrounding the blood-drenched Omega Men. Before the Guardians’ formation, Star-Lord led a band of rebels against a certain race, the Phalanx, which had conquered the Kree homeworld of Hala. Star-Lord didn’t want another war like that one, so he formed the Guardians, whose main purpose was to be more “proactive.” And that is just another way of saying they will prevent potentially awesome stuff from reaching awesome status.
Meanwhile, the Omega Men are all the product of enslavement. This multi-racial team of badas*es “guard” their “galaxy”—except, in this case, it’s the Vega system—from the oppressors who are enslaving them, a race of warriors called Citadelians.
14. Guardians Don’t Have A Robot
The Guardians need a robot. Artificial intelligence always boosts the plot of any story. Just look at C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars! Case closed.
Well, there’s a robot named Doc in the Omega Men. And, in what only makes this character intrinsically more interesting, this robot wasn’t always a robot. He was originally a humanoid, one of those “mad scientists” who became obsessed with the idea that his brain could be so much more if it wasn’t trapped within his flesh. So, Doc did what any scientist would do in his position—find a way to employ computer-based intelligence that would augment his biological brain power. Doc did so by transferring his mind into a cybernetic head, which was then (and here’s the kicker) attached to his humanoid body. So, on top of being a robot, he is a robot that was not originally a robot. Awesome!
13. Weird-Looking Creatures—Inherently Strange Vs. Ambivalently Strange
We thought that the best way to compare a member of the Omega Men to Groot, one of the best aspects of the Guardians, was to make the theme of his story be about the most unique-looking members because…well…Groot is a freakin’ tree!
Harpis, meanwhile, shares a resemblance to a terrifying demon. That stumps a tree. Oh, and yeah, Harpis has wings! Wings! Interestingly enough, all of the overtly weird characteristics that make her stand out visually aren’t…well…natural.
Harpis wasn’t born with her aerial-supporting appendages. They are bio-engineered wings. And in a separate event, Harpis “transformed” into the hideous-looking creature she is today because she was experimented on. Dang!
Meanwhile, Groot looks like everyone else on his planet—Flora colossus from Planet X. Plus, all other Flora sound like they are repeating the statement “I am Groot” over and over again, due to the stiffness of their larynges, which is Groot’s staple.
In other words, Groot isn’t that special. Groot may look nothing like the other members of the Guardians team, but he shares the same appearance with his entire race. Meanwhile, Harpis looks nothing like anyone else on the Omega Men and she also doesn’t look like anyone else from her race.
12. The Height-Challenged: An Earth-Esque Creature Vs. A Non-Earth-Esque Creature
Rocket Raccoon, like Groot, is one of the Guardians’ only saving graces. Who doesn’t love a small cute rodent that’s actually a psychopath who has an affinity for weapons and a thirst for mayhem and destruction?
But at the same time, you have to realize that he’s a freakin’ raccoon. We know what those are, and there’s already an Earthling-alien-mutt thing on the team (here’s looking at you Star-Lord), so why do we need another creature we’re familiar with? Plus, the Guardians’ strong dude, Drax, already contributes to the group’s collective diversity pool (or lack thereof) by providing an ample supply of the “let’s kill everything” mindset.
Meanwhile, the Omega Men gift us with their own cute little creature—Elu. Aside from his small stature, Elu is a complete divagation from Rocket. And that’s a good thing. First off, Elu is a complete fabrication, adding more of an unfamiliar factor to a team that’s supposed to be a grouping of different aliens. And the more aliens don’t look like us, the more alien they seem.
What’s more, Elu is a Roguian, one of the universe’s most obsessively shy creatures. Having a timid character in a group that doesn’t support introverted behavior is sure to add more conflict. Plus, Roguians have an interesting evolutionary characteristic. After birth, all Roguians learn how to produce a natural force shield so they can be protected from everything…even each other.
11. The Lady Folk—Generic Vs. Not Generic
We had trouble with this particular section because the Omega Men are too awesome. Confused? We’ll clue you in. There’s only one woman in the Guardians—Gamora. Meanwhile, there have been a crap load of women in the Omega Men, making the latter a more equitable team; in other words, a better team.
All that aside, the female member of the Omega Men we’ll be writing about is Kalista. What makes her stand out is that, unlike pretty much every other member of the DC-based extraterrestrial team, she joined the Omega Men despite her world remaining free from the domineering force that is the Citadel. This tells a lot about the intricacy of her character because what drives the other “Omegas” (and what made them join the Omega Men in the first place) is their own horrific experiences that came at the hand of the Citadel.
Plus, uh, she’s a resident sorceress! Meanwhile, all that’s interesting about Gamora is that she’s the last of her species (and there’s already a Guardians character on this list who’s the last of his kind) and that she was trained to become a weapon, soon earning the name “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy.” Great.
10. The Strong Dudes—Blind Strength Vs. Introspective Strength
Seeing as there are two “strong guys” in each team, we just had to compare them. The Omega Men’s buff guy, Broot, definitely has more of a right to figuratively flex (and literally) his muscles than the Guardians’ Drax. Broot comes from a race of immense and powerful beings who, ironically, have dedicated their lives to peace, a fact that is all the more profound when you realize the following: when his people were later forced into slavery, their pacifism made it impossible for his people to rebel (even when their young children were damned to die by working on a mining colony).
What makes Broot resonate more so as a character is that he struggles with a deeply embedded dichotomy. He loves his people’s religious beliefs, but has trouble following them blindly. Pre-Omega Men, he was shunned by his people because he slaughtered a slaver who killed his son, and post-Omega Men, Broot only utilizes his extraordinary strength as a last resort even if it would help his team.
Meanwhile, the Guardians’ Drax the Destroyer only became the Destroyer after his spirit was captured and placed into his powerful new body. While bada*s, he’s now just basically a mindless killing machine.
9. The Leaders—Tragic Vs. More Tragic
First off, the leader of the Omega Men is a non-humanoid. This adds some much-needed alien diversity to a team that is supposed to be a collection of extraterrestrials. (Why even make an alien-centric team when they look like humans?)
But the most crucial variable to note is that both Omega Men’s Tigorr and the Guardians’ Star-Lord share similar tragic pasts, except that Tigorr’s is exponentially more tragic.
Star-Lord is the archetypal boy who grew up without a father, an alien man who had carnal relations with an Earthling who’d later become Star-Lord’s mother. Since his father left, Star-Lord became plagued by some intense daddy issues. But at least he had a mother who loved him even though she was later killed. Star-Lord is also portrayed as a “loner” because he has no home even though Earth was never destroyed.
Meanwhile, Tigorr was born to an unwed mother (meaning his dad was out of the picture) and his mother didn’t really care for her son (which is worse than having a mother who cared for you, even if she dies). Plus, Tigorr, unlike Star-Lord, actually is the last member of his race and lost his wife (who was the same species as him). Tigorr’s an actual loner.
Everyone loves conflict. The more conflict, the better. And the leadership dynamics of the Omega Men are fraught with it.
The original head honcho of the Omega Men was Pren, who, it’s imperative to note, later renamed himself to Primus which translates to The One Who Leads, a decision that’s emphatically ironic on so many levels, namely because his position as leader was short-lived. He lost it (and his right eye) through trial-by-combat to his second-in-command Tigorr.
In what adds a few more layers to Primus’ complexity, Tigorr’s quick success as a leader caused Primus to fall into a state of drunken self-pity.
In Guardians, Star-Lord was, for the most part, always the leader and no one else wanted to take that from him. The only reason why Rocket Raccoon did later on is because the original team disbanded. Heck! Rocket decided to lead the new Guardians in the spirit of Star-Lord’s vision. Not really mutinous.
7. Chaotic Neutral—Crazy Guy Vs. No Crazy Guy
In addition to all of the enemies that both the Guardians and the Omega Men have to face, only one team has to deal with a Lobo. And that team is the Omega Men.
Lobo is, in every sense, a crazy a*s psychopath. To compound that, his name literally means, “one who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it.” That’s not an overstatement. It might be an understatement, though. Let’s just say that it makes more sense to call Lobo that (instead of Lobo) because he enjoys…nay…thoroughly lavishes in the act of devouring another’s insides. Oh, and did we mention that he’s the last member of his race because he killed them himself?
If you want a better answer than the “Omega Men are better than the Guardians because the Guardians don’t have a Lobo,” then we’ll say this: The Guardians don’t have a chaotic neutral character to contend with, in addition to their usual slew of actual bad guys.
6. Intergalactic Idiosyncrasies—A Useless Head Vs. A Life-Altering Agreement
Both of these storylines have some sort of history that defines their respective spaces. For the Guardians, their galaxy is repository of, literally, a giant freakin’ head (which they use as their base of operations) known as Knowhere. All that’s known of this major decapitated appendage is that it was part of a nameless, now murdered, Celestial. The murderer of said dastardly deed having gone unknown for millennia.
While a giant head is awesome for obvious reasons, it doesn’t actually impact the story at all.
Meanwhile, the history of the Omega Men’s sector—wherein they do their hustlin’—directly affects them and impacts their story as a whole. Here it is: The only reason why the Omega Men were able to become the peacekeepers in the Vega system is because of an agreement made by the Guardians of the Universe (not to be confused with the ones of the galaxy) and Agent Orange. Basically, the agreement doesn’t allow the Green Lantern Corps to enter said space.
Not having the Green Lantern Corps at the Omega Men’s beck and call makes their job a lot—A LOT—harder and profoundly more interesting because criminals choose to hide there as a result, making the system a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
5. DNA Craziness
(Disclaimer: The awesomeness that you’re about to read about this particular race isn’t even their entire history because it’s much too long to detail here.)
We can’t compare this amazing plot point in Omega Men to anything in Guardians because the latter’s writers weren’t creative enough to come up with something as intense as this. Basically, the system in which the Omega Men serve originally consisted of only two species. But then, along came a race known as the Psions. They are the reason why there are now 25 species in Vega. That’s right. They utilized the DNA from one of the systems’ races to create 23 more!
And remember the law in which pertains to the entire Vega system (the one barring the Green Lantern Corps from both entering and interfering in said system)? Well, the Psion’s recklessness was so…well…reckless that the Corps and Guardians of the Universe have considered removing that restriction. And while we originally said we wouldn’t dive into the Psions’ entire history, we will let you know that what the Psions did with their DNA replication, ironically unbeknown to them, is them perpetuating their own creation.
4. The Main Villainous Groups: Part I—Citadel vs. the Universal Church of Truth
In the most effective superhero stories, the way in which a hero fights crime is directly correlated to the villains he/she fights. In other words, the best scenarios are those wherein the villain shapes the hero. The evil adversarial groups we’ll be analyzing either perceive the Guardians or the Omega Men as their arch nemesis or, at least, play a consistent role in trying to thwart them in some way.
The Guardians’ group of baddies is extremely embarrassing—the Universal Church of Truth, a cult that suffers from Dragon Ball Z syndrome. That means their outlook is limited to a black and white perspective. They either want to destroy you or control you. Their only guise is their religious façade, which they use as a front to either take over your world peaceably or “purify” your world (i.e. destroy it).
Meanwhile, the Omega Men’s Citadel takes over planets by actually enslaving them (read: inflicting suffering) rather than just exterminating or “peaceably” taking over. And they are not interested in taking over the universe, just the Vega system. This makes them less generic than one that wants universal domination.
They also have a more interesting history. The Citadelians aren’t really an actual race. They’re basically clones of the Citadel progenitor. What’s more, they’re utter buffoons as a result. Talk about intriguing!
3. The Main Villainous Groups: Part II—Raker Vs. Harry
Since we’re on the subject of the Citadel and the Church, let’s focus on pivotal figures (who aren’t the leaders) and then put it through our “compare and contrast” machine.
For the Church, a central bad guy that deserves recognition is Cardinal Raker. And the only reason why he deserves this is due to the way in which he was killed. It’s completely bada*s. Drax drives a dagger through Raker’s skull. Yes, that’s right. Through. His. Skull. Wow!
Like Raker, all of the Cardinals have an interesting ability too, which involves tapping into what is known as the belief battery, wherein “prayer power” is harnessed and stored. When tapped, all Cardinals can do anything if they believe they can. That’s pretty nifty.
But his character (and he’s a standout member of the church, too) is pretty boring besides having that ability. Meanwhile, Harry Hokum, a member of the Citadel, is a sneaky little snake. He’s an Earthling, first and foremost, and not a clone, but was able to work his way into the upper echelon of the Citadel high command. Even after the Citadel was defeated, this outsider was somehow able to establish a new Citadel, not just infiltrating the highest tier of command, but becoming numero dos. As second in command, Harry supervised the gruesome execution of hundreds of political prisoners. Freaky!
2. The Main Villainous Groups: Part 3—The Leaders
We promise this is the last of our Citadel/Church comparisons, but this one is important. With a group or race comes a leader. And that’s what we’ll be covering here.
The leader of the Universal Church of Truth is, much like the actual Church itself, black and white. Named Magus, this guy came to one day believe that he was a god, an opinion which proliferated into creating an army that conquers the galaxy and eliminates those who are “impure”…all in his name. You basically worship Magus or die.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Citadel was originally a hybrid being of an Okaaran and a Branx Warrior who later gave himself a new designation, one that aptly describes the complexity of his character perfectly—Complex-Complex. But that identity switch was so much more than just a change in nomenclature. With it came him making his body into the computerized nerve center of the planet, bestowing upon him the means of controlling his mentally incompetent spawns.
Oh, and the reason why he created the Citadelians is because he was sterile. So, instead of gathering people into a cult (like Magus), Complex-Complex actually created the people who make up his “cult.”
1. Crazy Amount Of Kills vs. Not A Crazy Amount Of Kills
Besides Groot’s habit of dying again and again, no one else from the Guardians has died (besides one other character who we’ll keep nameless so as not to spoil the heck out of that important plot point). However, if you want to get really technical and bring in alternate universes into the equation, then you can say that three members from the Guardians have been killed.
Meanwhile, a good chunk of the Omega Men have been slaughtered—18. And out of those 18, 6 were killed (or destroyed, yes, there’s a difference) by Lady Styx’s Darkstars.
The reason why this is important is because it makes the Omega Men’s story more realistic and doesn’t make them seem imperious to death. While it can be argued that the less real, the better, it doesn’t work in this case because death impacts a story in more ways than one. It keeps us on our toes like Game of Thrones. Who’s gonna die next!?