Nomen Omen Omnia: review of the Panini Comics volume

Nomen Omen Omnia: review of the Panini Comics volume

Nomen Omen Omnia

Magic exists, powerful though invisible, and with it the creatures and stories that have been linked to it for centuries. What happens, though, if magic tries to overwhelm modern civilization, colliding (and binding) with the technology that nowadays gives impetus and movement to everything around us? Magic and technology are the protagonists of Nomen Omen, a comic trilogy by Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni recently published by Panini Comics in an omnibus that also includes additional stories and unpublished pages in Italy: Nomen Omen Omnia, full-bodied and suggestive volume in which individual growth faces the complexity of human nature in an epic confrontation. Our review of the new, fantastic edition, between these lines.

A new reality

Becky Kumar, a young creative who works daily with technology, has birth (occurred in enigmatic circumstances) a rare visual disease that prevents her from perceiving colors, called achromatopsia. Still deeply troubled by the recent car accident that involved her and caused the death of her best friend, Nick, Becky tries to enjoy her on her 21st birthday in the company of her closest friends. However, something scary and unexpected disrupts not only her life, but everything Becky thought she knew about reality.

The encounter with a bewitching and terrifying stranger named Taranis will catapult Becky into a world where magic lives and quivers latently all around us, trying to push against the barriers of known existence to escape from field of the unknown and conquer its place in the world. Gradually, Becky will begin to see the colors of this reality only apparently new to her, as part of her long-standing legacy of hers. And it will be called upon to face a battle of epic proportions against the "stories" that intend to overwhelm humans.

An overview of the work

Nomen Omen has been pigeonholed inside of the urban fantasy genre since its first publication, which took place in 2017. To attribute this label to the comic trilogy by Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni, although exact, is nevertheless in our opinion an understatement. It's true: there is fantasy, there is magic, there are creatures of mythology and ancient legends, and all this is integrated into the background of a contemporary city, smartphones, drones, Instagram and virtual reality. But in the soul of this work there coexist so many elements in perfect balance that make it a magnificent conceptual explosion, a transversal reading that embraces multiple imaginative dimensions to tell the complexity of both human reality and fantasy.

You are overwhelmed by an unexpected and daring adventure with a fast pace that involves the most daring spirit of each one; we witness horror sequences that enter the realm of the grotesque, leaving it chilling and at the same time awakening the fascination for horror; we enter the world of an ancient and powerful magic that is not mere waving of wands and reciting formulas, but finds its essence in faith in another reality, in names (True Names), in the body, in contact (even carnal ) with the other. But above all, one is destabilized by Nomen Omen Omnia for its lack of true heroes and true antagonists, good and bad, pure of heart and evil to the core. The boundaries are blurred, as much as they are in our daily reality: the human being does not live only in black or white and in Nomen Omen the whole spectrum of gray that characterizes each one is presented, without heroes risen to intact saviors of humanity, without villains who intend to defeat everything just for the fun of it.

Nomen Omen Omnia is a very mature work that wears the guise of a young adult, operating on multiple levels, both literary and emotional. The mixes are diversified but linked in perfect harmony, the emotional involvement is constant and keeps the reader always on the edge of the abyss, where on this side there is the sympathy for certain characters, while beyond there is the aversion for them. . Becky herself, protagonist catapulted against her will into a reality hitherto unknown to her, becomes the architect and executioner, shapes herself and the world that has sucked her into its vortex of millions of colors and at the same time establishes the life and death of those who find herself on its path. A person made of flesh and human feelings who, finding herself in new and potentially lethal circumstances, tries to do her best with the means and good intentions she has, but often fails and ruinously. Just as his enemy, the antagonist of this story, however evil and ruthless he may be, has intentions that make his role as "story villain" extremely nuanced.

In the trilogy by Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni we immerse ourselves in depth, in an apnea given by the pressing involvement of this story that mixes fantasy, horror, sci-fi, adventure, with an eye on as much towards pop culture as the magical beliefs and principles that have their roots in centuries-old traditions. And we do it because it is easier to find ourselves more in Becky, a witch who stumbles and makes mistakes, than in a spotless protagonist who comes to everyone's defense. In short, Nomen Omen Omnia does not fight the classic and trite epic battle between good and evil, but between different and complementary elements: magic against technology, fantasy against reality, the desire for peace and justice against inevitable deceptions of human nature.

Nomen Omen Omnia: this is what it looks like

Approaching Nomen Omen Omnia means finding yourself in front of something extremely original. Starting with the title of the work. The choice to use Omnia instead of Omnibus gives an almost musical, magically ritual rhythm to the entire title and represents a declaration regarding the content: the volume we are going to read concerns the first narrative arc of the saga conceived by Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni, an omnia dedicated to Nomen Omen, who in his second narrative arc changes his name and turns into Arcadia. In short, in our hands we have the complete cycle that contains the first part of the story, set in a volume that also visually blends the dichotomy magic-technology, urban and fantasy (if we want to remain within safe labels), past and future.

The slightly gummed cardboard cover is first of all pleasant to the touch (although probably more prone to scratches and marks), but it is above all in the illustrations on the first and back covers that we find the energetic originality of the authors and their work. Becky and Taranis are the subjects represented, with fluorescent, bright and vibrant colors, such as green, purple and orange. The choice is not accidental and follows the synaesthetic spirit infused throughout the book: magic, an intangible inspiration of reality, can be perceived on a sensorial level through the colors, in their most contrasting and brilliant combinations. The green that dominates everything, moreover, openly recalls the magic used by Becky herself, a witch similar in some ways to the most famous of the collective imagination such as Maleficent or the Witch of the West. Nomen Omen Omnia captures the gaze, entangles the reader and draws him into its magical net.

If this is not convincing enough for those approaching this work for the first time, this edition of Panini Comics presents several other elements that lead us to recommend further reading. In fact, Nomen Omen Omnia contains within it the additional stories and unpublished content that had not been present in the single Italian volumes until now, making the reading experience complete and adding elements necessary for a broader understanding of the plot. Closes an afterword by Marco B. Bucci which contains the intentions regarding the realization of Nomen Omen Omnia and binds the reader more not only to the book, but also to its authors, together with the covers of numerous authors. Furthermore, the paper used for the pages is thick and glossy: the "Panini paper" which makes a full-bodied volume like this more resistant to the test of time and use (which we already know, will be assiduous).

They contain the detailed illustrations by Jacopo Camagni, never too static, always aimed at delineating bodies in movement, even the most imperceptible. They are fully enjoyable especially in the numerous tables that fill the entire page or on the splash pages, where the scenarios and characters are obviously very accurate and tense towards a certain realism. The colors curated by Fabiola Ienne and Fabio Lucania are not "locked up" within defined palettes, but when present they show themselves as a real and beautiful perceptual explosion that does not allow you to take your eyes off the page. The choice to entrust Fabio Mancini with the realization of Becky's dream sequences, softer and more subdued, which create suffused atmospheres belonging to another world, was also apt. Finally, the volume of Nomen Omen Omnia is equipped with a bookmark, an element often coveted especially in books of important dimensions such as the one in our hands. Obviously, also in a bright fluorescent green.

Reading Nomen Omen Omnia is a must not to be missed, in our opinion, especially now that it is possible thanks to a version complete collectible. An urban fantasy that nevertheless contains much more than one might think: the charm of ancient magic, the nostalgic suggestion of creatures and stories of legends, the closeness to the individual growth of the protagonist and the moral duality that transpires from this story of human wandering. . And more terror, adventure, sensuality, and a pressing succession of emotions that only a world like the one created by Marco B. Bucci and Jacopo Camagni can arouse.

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