One More Allusion to Cards: O.M.A.C. #5-8 in The New 52 Pick Up

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This is the second cycle of New 52 DC books since Dan Didio and Keith Giffen’s take on O.M.A.C. was cancelled. Even though it was pretty much perceived as doomed as it was liked from the very start, I’m still bummed about it.

I only touched on it relatively briefly when it was still out, but I found it to be the most experimental of DC’s titles. And by “Experimental,” I mean, “least likely to make money.” Grant Morrison might be more experimental in theory, but he can put snot on a napkin with more likelihood to garner an audience for it than this title could. And yet, even though Action Comics came out the same week for a while, my first reaction was, “Hey, O.M.A.C.’s out.” No more.

There will surely be a collection, and I hope it’s limited to the original eight-issue run, since I know it’s coming back as a guest character and part of some new version of DC’s Cancelled Comics Cavalcade. So now the character is going in the hands of other writers and illustrators. Granted we had that in issue #6 by guest artist Scott Kollins, which some people didn’t like, but I was bothered more by the level of detachment in the artwork rather than the quality of it. Kollins did his best Kirby where he could, but something about the writing and the dialogue didn’t always match up entirely. Seems like an abstract comment, but consider the concrete evidence in the part where Kho’s estranged girlfriend and sketchy best friend are talking about him as if he’s absent, but there Kho is standing right there.

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Hell, I would have sulked away too if I was that close and people didn’t notice me.

That said, issue #6 had one moment I found hilarious, given the context that it was the first time we saw Kevin Kho and his supporting cast in the same room for the first time in the series’ history, and it’s interacting with an agent of Apokolips.

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Well, I thought it was funny.

I think the reason I haven’t mentioned Jeff Lemire’s co-scripting Frankenstein’s appearance in issue #5 (in fact, I almost published this without mentioning it at all), is because it left no lasting impression on me, neither positive nor negative. It was there, it was okay I guess, and I’m glad it didn’t derail anything. Considering my feelings about modern day crossovers, the creators can notch that up as a win.

I almost wish the book had ended with issue #7, which was the book’s highest point, especially with its countless winks to O.M.A.C.s creator, Jack Kirby by artist Giffen. Where else in DC comics could you get not only a reference to Kamandi in Prince Tuftan, but also show a splash that evokes the Dingbats of Danger Street?

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Maybe I’m looking too hard, but I see a labor of love, people.

There’s even a cameo by Superman (another Kirby nod), and I think even in the few pages he appears (unannounced on the front cover), I think the Kirby style actually had the best take on his awful costume and his new character–that of a violent thug–though I’m sure that was no one’s intent.

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Issue #8 ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, and Didio and Griffen’s take on the lonely Hulk walk-off into the sunset is at this point perfected. I give credit to the creators for making the comic feel like a self-contained playground, even in spite of fill-ins. Part of me even wonders if they only intended to do eight issues (Kirby only did eight issues himself of his original O.M.A.C. series) before Didio moves on to help carve out what seems to be the secret history of the New 52.

I have to say, even though I’m cutting back on DC titles, and even though I have the same reservations for Didio as an editor many people have, I am tempted to follow his writing more closely. Call me crazy, but I think he even caught some of the spirit of Kirby’s quirky dialogue in an issue or two. He seems to genuinely respect Kirby’s work for the company in all its memorable and quirky forms, and it seems that in this new DC, he and others are doing their best to make Kirby’s contributions essential to the origins of this rebooted universe. I don’t know if this is just lip service (I know nothing as far as whether Kirby’s estate gets anything from DC), and there may be gross interpretations of some characters Kirby would never have dreamed of, but lip service is more than Marvel has given The King in recent months, so thank you for that, DC.

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About Chad Parenteau

I'm a poet. I run the Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge that runs every Monday night. I review comics in my spare time.
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2 Responses to One More Allusion to Cards: O.M.A.C. #5-8 in The New 52 Pick Up

  1. Pingback: 52 Pick Up – Week 27 (Take A Drive) | Serendipity

  2. Pingback: We Got Reviews: Action Comics #7-12 | wegotcomicissues

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