Who's Broot?

Who's This? A big Omega Man.

The facts: Broot is the brick of the Omega Men, and one of the originals, first appearing in Green Lantern #142 (June 1981). He accompanied his cosmic team through various spotlights and followed them to their own (38-issue) Direct Market-only series as of April 1983. Though not all the Omega Men can be said to have survived their appearances, Broot has been a member of the team consistently through various revivals.
How you could have heard of him: Though Broot was not one of the New52's "Omegas", he was part of the DC You reboot written by the now-ubiquitous Tom King.
Example story: Omega Men #2 (May 1983) "The Sacred and the Profane!" by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen
Broot's origin story is told early on as an explanation of why his home town was massacred by the Citadel. It's all his fault. All you need to know is that the people of Changralyn, despite their brute strength, are pacifists in the extreme, so when the Citadel first came, they allowed themselves to become a slave race rather than take up arms against the invaders. So what could have merited this grisly a punishment?
Well, from early on, the boy who would become Broot questioned the status quo. The logic of passivity escaped him.
Not that they explained it very well. JUST BELIEVE, YOU CRAZY KID! When you graduate, they paint a personalized symbol of passivity on your brow and you're supposed to go out into the world and find a mate who wears the very same symbol. That's how Broot meets his wife. They love each other. They have a baby. And on the day of its birth, the Citadel comes and "offers protection" from would-be aggressors. In exchange, all they ask for is one offspring from every family to "give them a better life". Broot is the only one who says NO!
The child is killed more or less accidentally in the melee (it's too graphic for me to show it). Broot, having broken his people's greatest law, is to blame. The Gordanians take off with his wife instead. The Elders asked for them to take Broot too and this time, he didn't resist. And that's how he met the other Omega Men. And his freedom fighting actions with THAT group visited war atrocities on his planet.

Now in the present, still an exile, Broot is shocked to discover an alternative religion has sprung up around his actions.
It gives him a headache, but what else WOULD these people do? They are so used to operating passively within a structure, that they crave it. Though these may be willing to raise a hand against the enemy, they are still unable to think for themselves. Imagination and analysis seem to be mutant traits unique to Broot. They don't get it. When he fought, it wasn't for fighting's sake or as an aggressor, it was to protect his family. He leaves them to it and because he dared question the philosophy they think he stood for, it's good riddance once again. It's not pacifism that's the problem, it's THOUGHTLESSNESS.

I don't have much love for the Omega Men, in part because I've read few of their stories, but Broot has always been to me one of the more compelling members. Digging a little deeper into it only confirms that.

Who's Next? A cult leader.


Tony Laplume said...

He is being broot! The Tom King comic is a classic and still my favorite King.


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