The being called Omega on Earth was created by the sapient humanoid organic metal inhabitants of the planet Protaris, who called the primary of their star system Regreb. (The closest analog to what the Protarians were, as living beings, is the X-Man Colossus, whose primary known super-human power consists of taking on an organic steel form, in which form he possesses super-humanoid strength and a high degree of resistance to harm.)
Protaris's climate was rapidly changing, and the Protarians, who lacked the ability to adapt to the changes, would lose their ability to inhabit it in a matter of years. Doomed to extinction themselves, the Protarians decided to create a new race of organic humanoids, through bioengineering, whose representatives could live comfortably under the new conditions and keep Protarian culture alive. They decided that they needed, first, to create several intermediate models to find the right genetic structure and, second, to learn as much as they could about organic humanoid races, whose thought processes they believed differed from theirs in many ways, to program the minds of their creations properly.
Creating a number of organic humanoid prototypes and planting them on a number of planets, the Protarians programmed their creations to believe the races amongst which they were planted to be their own. They also designed them to transmit whatever they learned about the cultures in which they were planted back to the next prototype in the series.
After a long period of testing, only two prototypes remained to be observed. These were the last two prototypes the Protarians had created, and they were also most like natural organic humanoids. The Protarian designation for their next-to-last prototype translated from their alphabet and numbering system as Model X3Z; this prototype would be called Omega on Earth. The Protarians's last prototype, created in the form of a terrestrial boy, was called James-Michael Starling on Earth; there, two Protarian androids in human form, whom he believed to be his parents, were rearing him in almost total isolation. Neither Model X3Z nor Starling were aware of their true origins.
Omega the Unknown was created by Steve Gerber, Jim Mooney and Mary Skrenes and first appeared in Omega the Unknown issue 1 (1976).
Major Story Arcs
Construct of a Hero
Model X3Z, the future Omega, had been planted on the planet Srenesk, whose culture, the Protarians were convinced, was ideally suited to teaching him concepts of morality and nobility; indeed, on Srenesk, he had risen to become the finest member of the Sreneskian warrior caste and, as a member of the warrior elite, had taken a vow of silence, and thus he rarely if ever spoke. He, like all the Sreneskian warrior elite, wore a blue-and-red uniform which bore a symbol that resembled the Greek letter Omega.
The Protarians believed that their last humanoid prototype, James-Michael Starling, would learn about humanoid emotions on Earth and that, once the future Omega's Sreneskian high moral code was transmitted to him through their psionic link, he would be better able to handle those emotions.
But the Sreneskians ruined the Protarians's plans, without meaning to or even being aware that they were doing so, by discovering what they believed to be the ultimate energy source: a means of tapping the biosphere of their world. To honor the future Omega, they decided to make him the first of their citizens to be granted the power to tap this biospheric energy. This horrified the Protarians; they realized that the biospheric power was too great for the future Omega to control and that he would transmit it, along with his knowledge, to Starling, who would also be unable to control it.
Unfortunately for the Protarians, when they traveled to Srenesk to try to prevent the future Omega from receiving this power, they failed to arrive in time. The future Omega wrongly believed that the Protarians were conquering invaders and tried to use his power against them. But just as the Protarians had feared he would, the future Omega lost control of his biospheric power once he unleashed it against them in such large quantities, and his usage of the power triggered a pyramid reaction throughout Srenesk's biosphere which completely extincted the Sreneskians and destroyed their entire civilization. Only the future Omega himself--since he was at the center of the catastrophe--and the Protarians survived. Unable to accept the idea that he could have exterminated the race he considered his own, the future Omega decided that the Protarians were to blame for the catastrophe.
Though the Protarians bound the future Omega with chains that prevented him from using his power, they realized that he had already transmitted the ability to tap biospheric energy to Starling, to whom he was psionically linked through the Protarian technology that had created all their prototypes of organic humanoids. One Protarian unwisely declared that both the future Omega and Starling had to be destroyed--and the future Omega heard this and broke free. Commandeering a small starship, he traveled to Earth to find and protect Starling.
On Earth, Starling had been having dreams, often degenerating into nightmares, about an alien being who proved to be the future Omega. At the time, he had been reluctant to attend school with other children, but his supposed parents overruled him. As they were on their way to enroll him in such a school, Starling and his supposed parents fell victim to a car crash which smashed the androids beyond repair. Thus Starling, who himself was not seriously injured, learned that they were actually mechanical constructs. Following this discovery, he lapsed into a coma and was taken to the private clinic of Dr. Thomas Barrow.
The following month, Starling awakened from his coma, but Dr. Barrow found that he exhibited no emotional response to the deaths of his supposed parents. Moreover, both Starling's higher-than-mean-average intelligence and his unnaturally un-childlike, highly analytical manner intrigued Barrow.
One night, a Protarian broke into Starling's room at the Barrow Clinic, attempting to destroy him. Instinctively, Protarian Humanoid Prototype Model X3Z arrived at the Barrow Clinic and commenced to fight the Protarian. But it was Starling himself who defeated the Protarian with energy blasts from the palms of his hands, as he had learned to from the dreams he had had; this show of power surprised Starling, who recognized Model X3Z from his dreams. After Model X3Z left, Dr. Barrow was surprised to discover burns on the palms of Starling's hands in the shape of the Greek letter Omega. Unable to convince his clinic's board of directors to allow him to keep Starling at the clinic for further observation, he was able to provide enough money to one of his nurses, Ruth Hart, to take care of Starling so that Barrow himself could keep an eye on him. James-Michael Starling thus went to live with Hart and each of her two roommates. The first of these two roommates was New York Daily Bugle photographer Amber Grant; the second was disk jockey Richard Rory. Hart lived in the "Hell's Kitchen" neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, one of its most dangerous locations; an effort to move Starling out of that area would eventually have disastrous consequences.
Protarian Humanoid Prototype Model X3Z had, in the meantime, won a measure of public acclaim in New York City for his fights against such opponents with super-humanoid powers as the Hulk and Electro, and J. Jonah Jameson, chief editor and publisher of the New York Daily Bugle and the individual who was more to blame than anyone else for Spider-Man's undeserved criminal-fugitive legal status, dubbed Model X3Z "Omega" after the symbol adorning his Sreneskian military uniform. Without possessing any real skills that he could employ on Earth aside from combat using his super-humanoid powers, Omega obtained irregular employment for odd jobs from a New York City pawnbroker nicknamed "Gramps," who in turn nicknamed him "Sam."
Eventually, Starling accompanied one of his schoolmates, Dian Wilkins, to the futuristic house where he had lived with his supposed parents. Omega joined Gramps on a journey to Las Vegas, Nevada, in an effort to win enough money at games of chance to move Starling out of the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan to a home in a safer location. During their playing of these games of chance, Omega violated his Sreneskian vow of silence on increasingly more numerous occasions. Though the two won a small fortune using Omega's limited psychokinetic powers in this manner, Ruby Thursday of the Headmen robbed them. Using her powers to make herself resemble a normal woman as Omega pursued her, Ruby was able to delude Las Vegas police into believing Omega to be attacking an innocent person, and they shot him to his own death.
Hart, Grant, and Rory involved themselves with the Defenders in an effort to locate Starling after Omega died. In the course of ensuing events, even as the Defenders located Starling, Moondragon established a telepathic link with a dying Protarian who had come to Earth, and thus learned Omega's and Starling's true origins.
When confronted, James-Michael Starling, who refused to accept the truth about his true origins, declared that he would use the full power of Earth's biosphere against the Defenders and the Protarian for allegedly lying to him. But then Dian Wilkins came forwards, and Starling could not allow her to die--yet he realized that once he unleashed his full power, it was indeed too great for him to control. Thus, to save Wilkins's life, Starling turned his power inward, burning himself into ashes without harming anyone else.
Moondragon buried Omega's and Starling's remains in an unknown location in deep outer space.
Omega's Known Super-Human Powers
Omega is known to have possessed four distinct super-humanoid powers: (1) his strength level, (2) his biospheric power, (3) limited psychokinesis, and (4) the psionic link between him and James-Michael Starling.
1. His Strength Level. Omega possessed sufficient super-humanoid strength to lift (press) approximately 2 tons under Earth gravitation. His strength level was such that he once halted an automobile that charged at him.
2. His Biospheric Power. Thanks to the technology of the Sreneskians, Omega could draw upon the energy of the biosphere, or all the living beings, of whatever planet he was on at the time. On Earth, he used this biospheric energy to fire destructive bolts of force from his hands which, in one case, were powerful enough to obliterate an entire automobile. Whenever he used this power, it would leave burns, and later scars, on the palms of his hands in the shape of the Greek letter Omega, which the symbol adorning his Sreneskian military uniform resembled.
3. Limited Psychokinesis. Omega had certain limited powers of psychokinesis which he could use, citing one example, to influence the way a pair of dice fell when thrown.
4. The Psionic Link Between Him And James-Michael Starling. Omega was psionically linked to James-Michael Starling, who, like himself, was a humanoid being originally created by the Protarians of Protaris. The psionic link between the two caused the knowledge that Omega gained to be transferred into the subconscious mind of Starling, and also endowed Starling with the ability to tap into a planet's biospheric energy, an ability which Omega also possessed.
Omega's Known Vulnerabilities And Limitations
Omega was not impervious to harm, as made tragically evident when he was shot to his own death by uniformed officers of the Las Vegas, Nevada, Police Department in his ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Ruby Thursday of the Headmen.
If Omega utilized his power to tap the energy of a planet's biosphere beyond a certain level, which was never precisely gauged, he would lose control of that power and trigger a cascade reaction throughout the entire biosphere that would destroy all life on the planet, as he did when he accidentally destroyed all the people of the planet Srenesk.
Omega The Uninteresting?
Those who have actually taken the trouble to READ the preceding content have been viewed dismissively.
Omega The Unknown was created by the late Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes at the height of Gerber's reader popularity at Marvel Entertainment in the 1970s, and he was most intriguing because of the vague suggestion that Gerber and/or Skrenes had had both a distinct back-story in mind and mysteries that they meant to be revealed slowly to readership over time. This was time that was denied to the character, since its initial run lasted no longer than ten distinct issues, which was not even a full year's worth for any such monthly publication, and the book was cancelled very early. Gerber's narrative omissions were meant to tantalize, but instead, they proved frustrating to readers who left the book behind in droves.
Later Marvel Entertainment revivals of the actual character of Omega himself, however, revealed the sad ability of the company to reduce a promising mysterious character with a small cult following to being as unfortunately limited in intelligence as almost any other title it then published.