Wednesday, 22 May 2013

OMAC Volume 1: Omactivate!

Following on from yesterday's post about the Wonder Woman: Blood collection, I figured it was only fair to throw down some thoughts about the other collection I picked up last week, OMAC volume 1.

When we first meet OMAC, he's a rampaging beast being controlled by the sentient satellite Brother Eye and charged with stealing information from the mainframe of Cadmus Industries. Once completed, Brother Eye teleports him away. It's only after that's done that we meet his alter ego, Kevin Kho who's initially unaware of his OMAC other half. Kevin spends some time getting back to Cadmus (where his girlfriend also works and is missing him) along the way meeting a couple of bad guys, all the while being manipulated by Brother Eye. The Checkmate organisation, run by one Maxwell Lord, attempts to shut down both OMAC and Brother Eye with little success at first until a final assault on the satellite forces it to upgrade OMAC, allowing Kevin's intelligence to come to the fore and take control of his brutish form. It's a poisoned chalice, though, as Kevin is unable to change back and is stuck in his OMACtivated form at the end of the story.

One of the stranger titles to be given a chance with the launch of the New 52, OMAC garnered something of a cult fan base without ever breaking any records in the sales charts, hence it's cancellation after eight issues. While tempted by the art of Keith Giffen, I was put off by the writing of Dan Didio (which I've commented on more than once) and so didn't bother.

I am, though, glad I took a punt on the collection - Giffen's art is partly his own, partly a homage to Jack Kirby's with huge action packed splash pages and Kirby dots galore. And while I will always point out clumsy dialogue, here Didio's bombastic exclamations and overt exposition fits perfectly with the tone of the story. OMAC is big, brash and delightfully unsophisticated; it wears its heart on its sleeve and then gleefully waits for someone to punch it while shouting "I ... AM ... OMAC!"

I have to wonder what the series would have become had it gone on longer; while some characters (such as the new Amazing Man and Psi-Fi Man) might have become recurring villains, I doubt they'd have had much longevity. That said, maybe it was best the series was cut short so we're left with that rarest of things particularly from DC these days: a good, fun comic.


  1. Yeah, OMAC was one of the surprises of the New 52. I was hesitant to get it at first, but I took a chance and ended up as a member of the cult you mention. I quickly grew to love the book, and looked forward to it every month. The sheer, unbridled lunacy and non-stop action is infectious. Definitely disappointing when it was canceled (a bit precipitously, in my opinion, because I think it could have gathered a larger following given a few more issues), but it remains as one of the shooting stars of the New 52 universe.

    1. Totally agree, Jeff - it was a ridiculous amount of fun. Can't help thinking if it had continued for longer, though, that it might have started getting a bit grim and gritty and self-involved.

      Ah well, we shall just have to love it for the clumsy, loveable beast that it is!


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