Writer: Devin Grayson
Artists: Alitha E. Martinez, Bryan Valenza, Chris Eliopoulos
H1, September 2020
MIGHTY ALIENS AND SMART ROBOTS often claim it makes good sense to eliminate humanity, like scraping clean a lakebed of malarial mosquitos so other creatures might live. It was fun to see super-smart heroine Dr. Cecelia Cobbina in OMNI arrive at this same conclusion after some reflection, trying to figure out what to do with her new powers of intelligence, and the powers of others like her “ignited” in recent weeks around the world, apparently created by a kind of planetary intelligence, perhaps, evolving a new host of individuals to help save the planet, perhaps, conjuring big thoughts and big imponderables.
Finally, the good doctor relies on her conventional medical allegiance and Hippocratic oath of beneficence to cross out
destroy all humans from her to-do list. She obviously made the list for us, or for her growing team. She does not need lists anymore. Her head is a dynamo.
This description reminded me of a journey south a few years ago by a reporter who asked a local what people “do” around here, and got the response, “Well, meth, mostly.” Seems a lot of folks want a dynamo under the hood.
Super-smart fantasy heroes usually appear preposterous, acquiring all information as content for their intelligence by osmosis or by sticking their finger in a computer terminal. I imagine a cowboy would spit, and say, “That all you got?” because knowledge, intelligence, common sense, any of it, is immersed in one’s experience.
Doing something as an act of learning makes it positive and ready to re-use. Without a reality test, smart looks breezy, and this is part of the fun in these adventures, testing how the super-smart hero actually performs.
Here the good doctor’s believable powers of intelligence ignite on the tinder of her former attributes as a learner and a scientist, and a compassionate caregiver. She keeps watching herself, wondering what it means to be smart, and always, what is the smart thing to do right now?
The design of her mental dialogue is a pivotal part of the trip. Writer Devin Grayson displays nine types of intelligence, each with its own colored text crowding each moment. The doctor hero meticulously observes aspects of the situation and logically assesses extensively before speaking or acting, quite the same as all of us trying to think right and express ourselves, only super-fast.
The frames of mind are from Western science, but the scheme looks a lot like chakras from the East, representing energy centers in the body that think according to their own particular frames of reference.
The organization called Omni appears in Issue 3, established by a mysterious funder to support the ignited super-smart doctor and her search for others with special powers. She reflects on the meaning of the word Omni as “all,” and decides to employ the organization’s resources and business card.
With this introduction, perhaps we finally approach an answer to what the world might look like once we sensibly adopt a unified administration to oversee and steward all mineral, organic, and human life in the cosmic reach of time potentially ahead. This is a charming tale of faith that smart compassion has a chance to help.