In 1991, Marvel Comics relaunched its entire X-Men line, it’s flagship franchise of the era. The crown jewel of this relaunch was X-Men #1, marking the first time two core X-Men titles were being published at the same time. Chris Claremont, who had led the X-Men line for 17 years, wrote the issue and superstar artist Jim Lee drew it. It went on to become the bestselling comic book of all time. It also marked the beginning of the end for Claremont’s time on the X-Men. Creative differences with Lee led to Claremont’s exit from the series. Lee took on plotting duties with a writing assist from another X-Men legend, John Byrne. Lee only stuck around for a few issues before exiting to co-found Image Comics. Before he left, he introduced the villain Omega Red to Marvel’s mutant mythology.
The USSR created Omega Red during the Cold War. It experimented on serial killer Arkady Rossovich in an attempt to create a Russian super soldier. Omega Red has a death factor that saps the life out of those around him. His government implanted a carbonadium tentacle in each of his arms. Omega Red uses these tentacles in combat and to further drain the life out of his enemies. He needs to do this to live, otherwise, the carbonadium would poison his body.
Lee returned to his creation for a recent sketch of Omega Red. Here’s the end result:
If you’re interested in Omega Red art, check out Lee's original character designs, which resurfaced online last year.
Omega Red appeared in a deleted scene of Deadpool 2. The scene was restored in the film’s unrated Super Duper Cut, which was released on home media. Rookie New York Jets play Dakoda Shepley played Omega Red in the scene.
“It was certainly really cool,” Shepley continues. “I can’t imagine being a full-time actor and being a full-time football player. The days I was there, even as an extra, I was there from 7 am to midnight. Where am I going to work out? I’d have no time to train. It’s definitely something I’d like to pursue after football, whenever that may be.”
In the comics, Omega Red returned in recent months in the pages of Weapon X and even joined Weapon X-Force. Later he was turned into one of X-Man’s Four Horsemen of Life and took part in the X-Men: Dissambled battle that led to the X-Men disappearing from Earth and becoming trapped in the Age of X-Man universe.
What do you think of Lee’s new Omega Red sketch? Let us know in the comments.
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