Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Are you ready for the world that's coming?"

Isn't the whole point of Jack Kirby's OMAC, that the answer to that question is, "No!"

Just got the brand spanking new DC Universe Classics OMAC figure, one I had been planning on getting since I heard about it. And now...I'm not quite sure how I feel about OMAC the figure, since I'm not quite sure how I feel about OMAC the character. We're going to knock out a little look at both, although I'll have to go back and check out his comics later.

I haven't read all of Kirby's OMAC issues...I don't think. I think I have Paul Pope's cover version of OMAC #1 from Solo #3, and I have to look around for the digest reprint of DC Comics Presents #61, "The Once-and-Future War!" But I know I read some of Jim Starlin's early stuff on OMAC, originally intended as a back-up feature in Kamandi, then being added to Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 before it finally saw print in Warlord #37. I mention it, because I think there was a retcon to his origin, that shows up here in the Biography.

In the late 21st century, a group of aliens engineered the construction of a powerful satellite called Brother Eye in order to avert a great disaster threatening earth. The satellite targeted an unsuspecting stock boy named Buddy Blank. He became the One Man Army Corps, or OMAC. After years of battling any and all threats, Buddy took refuge in a forgotten underground military installation and raised his grandson in isolation from the horrors roaming the terrain above.

That crotch is kind of terrible. That bio ties a lot of things together, but I hate it. The retcon I mentioned, is that I don't think Brother Eye was built by aliens in Kirby's stories. Maybe it was, or maybe Kirby would've revealed that later...but I don't believe so.

I've also always wondered: did Buddy Blank become OMAC, like Steve Rogers becoming Captain America, or Billy Batson becoming Captain Marvel? Or...I suspect OMAC is a separate entity, overwriting Buddy Blank like taping over a movie? Blank is described as nondescript, almost a non-entity, so it's hard to say if anything of what he was carried over into OMAC. If there was anything there from the start.

And while OMAC may have 'battled any and all threats,' he lost in the end: the 'great disaster' mentioned there, that Brother Eye and OMAC were created to stop, was the Great Disaster of Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. (I'm looking forward to Kamandi's upcoming figure as well, but we'll see if I'm as conflicted then!) Blank's grandson, who took a name from the military installation he grew up in: Command-D. So, a good chunk of the biography, is about OMAC's inevitable failure. (Also, since Buddy Blank didn't seem like he had a wife or girlfriend or anything, so he had kids after he became OMAC? That, or Buddy liked hookers, OK?)

For me, even though I didn't read them regularly as a kid, OMAC and Kamandi fell into the same spectrum as Planet of the Apes, the Road Warrior...or the Day After: the end of the world was coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it was coming. And there wasn't a damn thing you, or OMAC, or Charlton Heston, or anyone could do to stop it. Kind of a fatalist futurism, then. Maybe that's why I feel so weird about this figure, then. Like, "yay, we're boned!" DC Comics had around that time, just pre-Crisis, at least three possible future apocalypses set between around now and the Legion of Super-Heroes 30th century: Kirby's, and separate ones seen in Hex and Warlord. Which just made things even more depressing: even Superman couldn't stop the Great Disaster...

Ah, the figure itself. The ankles aren't the rocker-type you usually get from DCUC: they just have a basic hinge. (EDIT: Rocker-type ankles? When? Was I thinking Marvel Legends? Sorry! At any rate, there isn't any side-to-side movement on the ankles.) Both OMAC's hands are fists, and seem...slightly small. My figure has a loose left bicep, which may be the first major quality issue I've had with this line.

The orange pants are accurate, but...I'm not sure they were absolutely necessary. Likewise, OMAC isn't quite as thick as he probably could be, but the line only has so many bucks...I don't know if there was another body type that would've worked better, though.

That face doesn't scream Kirby to me. I have a vague feeling that it's maybe, maybe, based on George Perez's version from DC Comics Presents #61, but keep in mind I'm saying that without getting that issue out yet. Could be way off, is all I'm saying...And maybe a yelling face, or a more angry one, would've been stronger than this overly neutral OMAC.

Also, for a change, the button? Looking good! And a Validus arm, that'll be swell if and when I buy the whole lot of other figures. Still, it would've been something to get a Build-a-Friend accessory, wouldn't it? Ah, that would've freaked out the squares...

The packaging has an "Only at K-Mart" sticker, although I do believe this wave is available online as well. (Fortunately, a K-Mart is within spitting distance of my place.) Overall, I'm glad to have OMAC, since he's a new character for the ever-growing lineup, and one that's never had a proper action figure before. (How he was overlooked all this time by DC Direct, I couldn't tell you.) I may have to re-read some Kirby OMAC stories, and focus less on the terribleness of "the world that's coming!" and more on the awesomeness of OMAC punching the hell out of things.

I did pick up one more from DCUC Wave 15, but haven't opened him yet! Soon.

1 comment:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

The proportions feel off on this figure. The waist is too small, and it's hard to tell, but it seems the legs aren't measuring to the proper head height for a superhero. Then again, that could be an optical illusion resulting from the hair.