I was cautiously optimistic when I picked up “O.M.A.C” #1 last month. It seems that more often than not, creators approach Jack Kirby’s creations with so much reverence that they tend to strip out any originality in their approach and effectively cripple their own stories before they start. Giffen has never been a creator to let the legacy of characters or creators intimidate him, so he’s a natural fit to take the brand of “O.M.A.C.” in a completely different direction, but he does so with his own brand of reverence.
Giffen supplies the art for this book and, more than once, truly seems to be channeling the creative force of Jack Kirby, straight from the Source Wall. You can almost sense that there were Kirby Krackle dots all around Giffen as he drew the panels to match the story he co-wrote with Dan DiDio.
DiDio has never given me much reason to seek out his work as a writer, but the story itself is a throwback to days gone by. From the bold starburst on the cover that declares this issue features a “MASSIVE ATTACK!” to the caption boxes that actually set the scene within the story, there are elements within this comic that are a welcome sight for this long-time comic reader. Those are things that play to comic fans, but for new readers coming into this series (why they would pick “O.M.A.C.” of all titles is beyond me) those items may seem clunky or off-putting.
Given the time, this issue is certain to win over readers — old and new — as it delivers action, suspense, drama, intrigue, and a whale of a cliffhanger ending. That cliffhanger is more potent for long-term DC readers, as is the appearance of another superhero “name” that is reimagined within this issue. “O.M.A.C.” is a great slice of DC Comics’ history and Jack Kirby legacy, but it is unhindered by either.
Through two issues, the titular character hasn’t blazed a whole lot of new ground, but there is definitely potential in the story; the character of Kevin Kho does offer the reader a guide through the story as it expands. “O.M.A.C.” can be taken as a part of the whole DC relaunch, or it can be enjoyed quite nicely by itself. Whichever the case, this is a read that treads into the realm of science fiction (borrowing heavily from comic book science) and peppers it with the intrigue of an espionage thriller.