Wednesday, September 28, 2011

O.M.A.C. #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writers: Keith Giffen and Dan DiDio
Penciler: Keith Giffen
Inker: Scott Koblish
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham

In which Keith Giffen, Dan DiDio and company have their hero Kirby-crackling his way through a smorgasbord of doohickeys, thingamajigs and whachamacallits.

O.M.A.C. is a comic that’s intermittently fun to read, but still not very good. It’s fun because Keith Giffen, Scott Koblish, Hi-Fi and Travis Lanham are accomplished craftsmen who know how to get a good-looking and captivating comic out of a bunch of characters smashing and tearing through stuff (“PA-THOOM,” “RRIIIIPP,” “BASSSHH,” etc.) and shooting each other in the face (“FFRRAATZZ”) with bright and colorful beams of free jazz.

The reason why it’s not very good is because it doesn’t have anything else. Giffen and DiDio evidently don’t put much stock in things like plot, characterization or tension. Their version of the O.M.A.C. (which stands for “One-Man Army Corps”) goes right back to Jack Kirby’s: Its human host is a corporate drone who gets “activated” and sent on missions—which it carries out more or less via remote control—by an intelligent satellite named Brother Eye. And so that’s what we get here: The O.M.A.C. shows up and punches and blasts his way through a bunch of walls and floors and bad guys and Kirbytech.

He does that without much trouble, and while there’s a subplot involving his human host’s girlfriend and a colleague, it doesn’t get a lot of play. This is very much a comic about a powerful big dude with a Mohawk who smashes things, and everything else—including why he’s smashing them—is of secondary importance.

Which, as I say, is a hoot to watch, since the artists know what they’re doing. Then again, it’s not as wild and entertaining as, say, Joe Casey and Tom Scioli’s Gødland, either, as far as mad Kirby pastiches go. And, in any case, without proper characters, motivations or even just a genuine, meat-and-potatoes threat for the protagonist to spice things up, the appeal here is rather limited.

Grade: D+

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