Posted by: erikmona | September 14, 2011

NEW 52 REVIEW 11: OMAC #1

OMAC #1
Writers: Dan Didio and Keith Geffen
Artist: Keith Giffen

I know next to nothing about OMAC, a short-lived character created by comics legend Jack Kirby in the early 1970s. He’s been on the periphery of the DCU since his introduction, and apparently had a somewhat higher profile over the last few years. I wasn’t around for any of that, and so far as I can recall I have never before read an OMAC comic book (or even a comic featuring the character in any capacity). I think that means my sensibilities line up well, in this case, with the quasi-mythical “new reader” that the continuity reboot of the New 52 is supposed to attract.

From that perspective, I think Didio and Giffen pulled it off. True, there isn’t very much story in the issue, but the hugely Jack Kirby-inspired art style and the frantic pace of the tale keep things moving so you don’t really notice how little is actually going on. A few panels are so madcap that you can spend a few minutes looking at them, focusing on the details of some clone creature or technological device.

Here’s what’s happening. Cadmus Industries is a stem-cell research project turned bioengineering and human genome-mapping company. 90% of the business operates in an office building stuffed with scientists studying the environment and bio-tech. But the other 10% is a subterranean super-science lab packed with Kirby-inspired technology, characters, and creatures.

There’s yellow-skinned mastermind Lord Mokkari and his Build-a-Friend robotic sidekick. Then there’s devil-horned Dubbilex, a super-psychic said to be one of Cadmus’s greatest creations. Plus huge-mouthed half-men called Gobblers and laser-wielding goons dressed in bright red with eyeless face cowls. The weird stuff below Cadmus is by far the most interesting element of this comic.

The main plot is pretty basic, and if it didn’t crash into a sweet-looking superscience lab, it wouldn’t be all that awesome. The comic opens with Jody Robbins, Assistant Director of an above-ground division of Cadmus, looking for her boyfriend Kevin Kho, who has seemingly vanished.

At the same time, Cadmus comes under attack by a bulky cyborg creature that identifies itself as O.M.A.C., who seems to be guided by an unseen benefactor or commander. The voice leads O.M.A.C. to a secret shaft that leads down to the hidden 10% of Cadmus’s operation. The voice reveals that it was once a part of Cadmus’s mainframe, and that is wishes to download its bank of DNA samples for its own purposes.

O.M.A.C. fights the weird creatures under Cadmus, gets the data he needs after a direct interface with the computer, and is teleported away to safety by the commanding voice. At the end of the issue, O.M.A.C. (we never do learn what that acronym stands for) reverts to Kevin Kho, and the voice reveals itself to be a satellite hovering above Earth called Brother Eye.

I enjoyed this comic despite its simplicity. The last page promises that next issue, “THINGS GET REALLY WEIRD”!

I’m in.

Status: Safe.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Hi Erik —

    Thanks for all these reviews. But I have to say that I am one of those quasi-mythical new readers you talk about. I am a long time D&D fan (DM since 1978) and a fan of Paizo, but for whatever reason I never got into comics as more than a gawky kid. I did want to be a fan when I turned 30, but by then there were SO MANY stories and history that I was intimidated. Imagine trying to DM Greyhawk to a bunch of major cannonfire guys and you were learning the campaign milieu for the first time. I felt like there was so much story and so much history that I would never really appreciate it.

    Every time I went into a store and talked about the comic I read, my responses were “well, that guy is BS now, he was ret-conned from the XXX story and then super dude-z got him and the p*ssy writers had to fix it.” There was a real snobbishness I felt going into a store. I turned me off.

    Now I have a chance. I read the Sept 7th releases, some were great, some were good and some were OK writing, but I was always impressed with the visual, no matter how weird (animal man) they seemed. It was like going to an enclave and seeing divergent styles and approaches artistically.

    And I have two other friends, ages 37 and 42 that feel the same way. For the first time, we can experience the DCU as newbies and be in the loop. My local comics shop said that they were blown away by how many guys my age – 35-45, i’m in the upper range 🙂 – came into the shop saying how they felt like they can finally enjoy comics unfettered by canon.

    For me it has been refreshing.

    Admittedly, I have enjoyed your commentary and I have soaked it in as an intellectual exercise, but I have tried to enjoy them for what they are. I don;t know who is a good artist or a bad artist, I don’t know who “destroyed” one character and who mastered another.

    I love the DC reboot. It’s for me. I just hope you can one day see all this through the wondrous eyes of a newcomer to the medium.

    I think the industry needs guys like you and guys like me. You keep them honest, I keep them producing.

  2. Hey, I’m buying every one of these things, so I think I’m helping with keeping them producing, too. I hope my reviews are not coming off as too snobbish or “inside” or whatever. If you go back and read my first post, I’m trying to be up-front about my biases and where I come from as far as my comics experience.

    I’ve been away from comics for almost a decade, and what I found was that every time I looked in on what was going on, I ended up feeling exactly like you. Totally lost and feeling like the train had left me behind.

    So I think the New 52 reboot is for me, too, and being unconcerned with “canon” for seven years has really helped me to approach these books with a fresh perspective. I’m trying to focus most of my reviews directly on the accessibility of the comics in general, because I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a reader who doesn’t really know anything about the story.

    I’ll talk about this more when I do my Week 1 recap in a few days, but what I’m finding is that I am enjoying the comics that take the opportunity of a fresh start more than the ones that try to have their cake and eat it too by changing very little or by tying in lots of outdated, unneeded continuity (Hawk & Dove has been the worst at this).

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I hope you keep reading my reviews. Feel free to post comments in any of the individual issue threads if you disagree with something I’ve said or just to share your different perspective.

    It is much appreciated!

  3. Oh, well, I absolutely enjoy your reviews.

    It was crystal clear from your exposition that you are a lapsed comics fan that feels removed from canon. Yet you are blessed (?) with some history.

    Though I would still posit that my eyes are less…. well, influenced… by what has happened in the past.

    Agreed, you are also the type that keeps them producing. I actually didn’t buy all 13 of the Sept 7th releases in print (I got 10 of 13), but I did get them all digitally.

    I look forward to your review of the next 13. Batwoman was surprisingly interesting to me. But I’ll comment further where appropriate.

  4. Yeah, I liked Batwoman too. Other Week 2 standouts for me have been Frankenstein and Demon Knights.

  5. Ha! Those were three of the first four of the Sept 14 I have read. 🙂

  6. […] Action Comics Animal Man Batgirl Justice League Men of War OMAC Stormwatch Swamp […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: