Months ago, I would have told you I have no guilty pleasures in my comics reading. Probably because I’m from that prior generation where reading comics itself is a guilty pleasure. Now, I have a different barometer. DC’sO.M.A.C. is a guilty pleasure within a guilty pleasure medium.
Regular haters of DC will feel guilty because they’re reading a story scripted by Dan Didio, DC’s Co-Publisher who introduced Sue Dibny to Dr. Light and slipped roofies to Superboy Prime. Kirby advocates might like myself will feel guilty for getting a bigger Kirby high than in any of the Kirby Genesis comics (which despite some solid writing from Kurt Busiek and company has some comparatively static artwork that reminds one more of Neal Adams, which is like ordering a vanilla shake and getting an avocado smoothie). Here, the action is fast paced, kinetic and lively as hell, from page to splash page.
This artwork comes from Keith Giffen. I’m not sure what makes his art more “Kirby like” here when comparing it to the similar style found in that Legion of Superheroes annual he did a while back. Maybe it’s just that he found the right vehicle and character to make it click. Whatever happened, it works. I won’t overthink this.
In the pitch for O.M.A.C. (did Didio pitch himself?), they must have used the phrase “Techno-Hulk.” In this reinvention, Brother Eye is a sentient computer and the catalyst in place of a Gamma Bomb that makes hapless employee Kevin the holder of the O.M.A.C. power, which basically makes Kho a monosyllabic blue hulk with a Mohawk. Brother Eye is also the deus ex machina that helps the hapless Kevin Kho whenever he’s in danger (usually because of Brother Eye’s manipulation). Meanwhile Kho’s girlfriend Jody Robbins, filling in as Betty Ross, is kept in the dark, but for how long?
Kho works for the non top secret part of DC’s long infamous Cadmus organization, which Brother Eye escaped from and is now seeking revenge on. Cadmus, Dubbilex and others want O.M.A.C. and Brother Eye back, making them equivalent to the constant threat that General Ross provided to the Hulk. It works, doesn’t it? Perhaps against all logic, but it works.
The pattern for the last four issues have been thus: Kho transforms into O.M.A.C. and either attacks superpowered beingd as part of Brother Eye’s secret agenda and/or fights back against the forces that hunt him down. O.M.A.C. fights unitl he gets hurt, Brother Eye helps him “Hulk out,” and the rest..
I’m not sure how long people would be able to tolerate issue after issue ad infinitum (unless you’re this guy), but it is certainly fun to watch while it lasts. It may not last that much longer, as crossovers are starting to happen in the New 52. Next issue, it’s O.M.A.C. vs. Frankenstein. That might be the point where I jump off, as the most consistent quality of the best New 52 books have been the fact that they were self-contained so far. But given that O.M.A.C. and Cadmus are Kirby creations, Darkseid appeared in Justice League #4, and I believe there are references to other Fourth World stuff Kirby did, all the books have to start “making sense” now. Maybe issue #5 will be just a fluke, and the book will go back staying in its own weird Kirby-esque world.
One more thing: This panel in issue #1.
I’d feel less weird about this exchange between supporting characters if the co-publisher wasn’t at least partially responsible for it (Didio and Giffen are listed as co-plotters, and scripting credit is kind of vague). Given all the accusations of sexism leveled at DC over the years, I hope Didio realizes (as a company head) that by and large, real people in work environments, unless it’s the low rungs of service sector, do not get to talk like this. Even if the two were ex-lovers (which the dilogue seems to suggest), that guy making with the creepy flirting should have spent issues #2 and half of #3 (at least) in an office looking uncomfortable while Jody looked on.
Maybe at least some sensitivity classes?