“O.M.A.C.” #1 is the sort of comic that sounds good when you try and boil it down to a one-sentence description – Keith Giffen channels his inner Jack Kirby and blows stuff up – but sadly doesn’t quite click when it’s actually drawn on the page.
Giffen and co-writer Dan DiDio are going for a loose plot in “O.M.A.C.” #1, jumping into a situation where O.M.A.C. is rampaging through Cadmus Labs and destroying everything in his path. It’s a strange sort of structure; we meet the supporting cast of O.M.A.C.’s alter ego, then we meet O.M.A.C., then we meet O.M.A.C.’s enemies, and only at the end do we finally meet O.M.A.C.’s alter ego. And through all of that? A whole lot of destruction. Characters are given miniscule personalities (Kevin’s girlfriend is worried that he’s not there, bad guys are worried about O.M.A.C. attacking, and O.M.A.C. himself has no personality at all), and aside from O.M.A.C. being told his mission to find the Cadmus mainframe, there’s no motivation for anyone here.
The attraction that remains, then, is Giffen’s art. Giffen and inker Scott Koblish have a good match here; we’ve got Giffen’s blocky character designs, while Koblish keeps the art looking clean and uncluttered. Giffen draws O.M.A.C. as a brute of a being, which fits well with how he just plows through everything in his path. His face is more like a gorilla’s than a human’s, and Giffen has shifted the iconic mohawk into what looks more like a tropical fish’s dorsal fin. It shifts position, flopping back and forth, and raises up in moments of extreme anger. With an ever-present energy crackling around it, I keep hoping it will turn out to have a function before too long. Colorist Hi-Fi seems to have heard that there was a special on purple ink at the printer, because the color is everywhere. I know that purple on a cover supposedly raised sales, but this appears to be taking it to an extreme.
Aside from the art looking very Kirby-esque, though, I’m not sure if there’s enough of a hook to read a second issue. Considering that O.M.A.C. doesn’t appear to have any personality when powered up, save for following Brother Eye’s orders, this has the potential for an incredibly boring protagonist. And with what little we’ve seen of Kevin Kho when not transformed into O.M.A.C., there’s no hook there either. “O.M.A.C.” #1 just falls flat, and unless you’ve got a deep abiding love for Kirby’s creations, it’s sadly forgettable.