The OMAC Project #1 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: The Eye in the Sky (from the interior) or …So that Man may Live (from the cover)

OMAC created by Jack “The King” Kirby

Written by: Greg Rucka
Pencilled by: Jesus Saiz
Inked by: Jesus Saiz
Colored by: Hifi Design
Lettered by: Phil Balsman
Assistant Edited by: Rachel Gluckstern
Edited by: Joan Hilty
Publisher: DC Comics

DC’s Solicitation

Spinning from the events of DC COUNTDOWN and IDENTITY CRISIS, a crackerjack thriller by Greg Rucka (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN) comes to life in the brooding, gorgeous art of Jesus Saiz (MANHUNTER) in a 6-issue miniseries featuring covers by Jose Ladrann that can’t be missed!Every hero and villain in the DCU is under the gaze of an unbelievably powerful spy satellite. It’s a technological marvel that answers to only one person – and he’s got plans for it that are completely unknown to the superspy organization he controls: Checkmate!

In a world where men can fly and melt metal with their eyes, there’s now an army created specifically as an answer to them: a One Man Army Corps. Batman and an old ally are about to learn the chilling truth behind the OMAC Project – but will they work with or against each other?

 

 

The Review

Story

On one hand I haven’t felt such massive story-related buzz and hype around DC books since the mid-late 1980s. On the other hand with all the variant covers and gimmickry I’m also reminded of the industry-damaging mid 1990s. Borrowing a hand from a friend, on that hand I’m also well aware of the decompressed storytelling that is all the rage in the mid-2000s.

The OMAC Project channels 30 years of comic trends into a brew that feels nostalgic and yet contemporary.

Unlike the 1980s when the industry was inundated with storyline events where each issue of a mini-series was jam-packed with action and drama, The OMAC Project #1 is pretty much all drama. No real action. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t feel like a complete read to me. That said, with the decompressed storytelling being all rage this issue is intended to read well as part of the broader mini.

I’m all for daring and status quo altering storylines. Comics and its characters should not stagnate. That said, after reading The OMAC Project #1 readers are not much farther along in the story then after a read of Countdown. This issue just reinforces the themes of Countdown and the information therein. Nothing really “new” happens in this issue.

The major revelations? Batman learns that Blue Beetle is dead. And… Booster Gold and Wonder Woman both set on path to find Blue Beetle who they do not know is dead.

While from a plot perspective the issue left me wanting, I found the characterizations in the book stiring. The conflicted nature of Sasha Bordeaux – current Checkmate operative and Batman’s ex-girlfriend – comes through quite clearly. Also seeing how far Booster Gold has fallen personally added to pathos and drama of the issue.

No action in this issue, but lots of emotion.

Art

If you are a reader of DC’s Manhunter series you already know how great an artist Jesus Saiz is. The facial expressions that his characters’ wear tell their story.

Sasha’s cool exterior and confused interior.

Maxwell Lord’s frustration and anger.

An uncharacteristically stumped Batman.

Booster Gold’s pain and concern. His expression when Wonder Woman grabs him to fly him over the city so that can talk is priceless.

Wonder Woman’s strong femininity.

Saiz’s art really complement the emotional drama of Rucka’s story.

The colors used in the issue are also soft and bright in many parts. Its serves as a nice counterpoint AND complement to the dark themes of The OMAC Project.

So…

As a reviewer I find it tough to review books in this age of decompressed storylines. I remember a time when any book – part of a mini-series or not – was a meaty read. A genre-melding romp of action, drama, humor and so much more. Times have clearly changed and so must our expectations.

The OMAC Project #1 is an inviting enough visual read that I will be back for issue #2. I hope we’ll get more action and more momentum. I’m sure we will as anyone familiar with the decompressed storyline formula knows.

The art is and visuals of this issue are superb and the emotional drama does pull you in. Just don’t expect any huge post-Countdown revelations.

This book has sold out at DC and is going back to print with a variant cover second printing hence my 1990s “feeling” I mentioned before. Also, from what I’ve seen in the local comic shoppes around here this issue sold out in a matter of hours. Or… retailers are saving copies to sell on eBay for $20 or more, another reason it feels like the 1990s again too.

Here’s a look at the new cover:

Unlike the 1990s though, the story – even though just a drama – is here in spades and complements the solid art.