Monday, September 5, 2011

O.M.A.C. #1

Writers: Dan Didio & Keith Giffen
Artists: Keith Giffen
Company: DC Comics

As unbelievable as it sounds, and it is a bit unbelievable, if you were a fan of Jack Kirby's run on OMAC, a trippy spiral into a sci-fi world and setting that dealt with crazy creations and concepts such as the Global Peace Agency and Pseudo-People Factory, this book will send you on a time travel trip composed of pure Silver Age entertainment and awesomeness.  Kirby's book, unfinished though it was, was at the latter end of his career with DC but still fit the bill of being high entertainment while dishing out a bit of social commentary as well.  There were also a lot of similarities with his other works Kamandi and his New Gods opus, that same grand feel of newness and vibrance, that made the story even better.  The tag
team of Didio and Giffen have composed a love letter to that story and are able to wrangle together an appropriate relaunch to that title, one that crackles with a very similar style of energy and flair.

From the get-go, O.M.A.C. (One Man Army Corps) takes the James Bond approach to storytelling and heads straight into the action.  There are problems with that in some ways, as there's a sense of coldness to the proceedings as you're thrown into the story head first.  It's also true that you don't really get into the headspace of our main character, Kevin Kho, as much as one would hope.  Still, the duo of writers hits all the basics of the story.  Not a ton has changed in the overall scheme of things, as O.M.A.C. is still powered by Brother Eye, a remote satellite that orbits the Earth.  The issue itself sees a new setting though, as this seems to be set in current times.  It also brings in some characters that I believe fans will be pleased by.  The motivations of Brother Eye however are a little different, and therein lies one of many surprises that this new iteration brings to the table.

But let's get back to the action.  It really is at the forefront of the first issue, and the way that it's approached is so well executed that you can't help but be sucked in by it.  It's in your face and wonderful and has a way of inducing a grin the size of the sun as you watch it unfold.  Most of that has to do with Giffen and Koblish's stupendous artwork.

Keith Giffen is another one of those artists who's style has really gone through so many changes throughout the years.  It's been scratchy and loose, classic and on the nose, not to mention experimental and unconstrained.  He also, at one point in time, was heavily influenced by the works of Jack Kirby.  With O.M.A.C., he revisits that influence.  Everything that appears in this issue, everything from the action to the anatomy to the face to the tech, all of it scream Kirby.  But not in a way that feels cheap or wrong, in a way that is an homage to the energy and life that such a style is able to bring to the page.  Koblish helps thing along with very strong inks that add such detail and depth.  The design of the new O.M.A.C.'s is very strong.  It has a lot of the elements of the original, especially the massive mohawk, but there's a bit more of an alien to it this go around.  The mohawk is almost a fin, which translates well on the page and adds a bit more movement to the character.

In a lot of ways, this book feels old school, which I know can turn some people off.  But there's something here.  Something that we haven't seen in comics in a long time.  That promise and the promise of things to come in subsequent issues has me waiting with bated breath.

This is an advance review.  O.M.A.C. #1 hits comic stands this Wednesday 09/07/11.

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