Once you get the tone of “O.M.A.C.,” it’s easy to appreciate its directness and simplicity. Part homage to Jack Kirby, part big dumb action comic, and part weird superhero sci-fi comic, “O.M.A.C.” is mostly a Get In, Have People Hit One Another, Get Out sort of comic. Within that framework, Keith Giffen and Dan DiDio put the focus on entertainment and delivering an experience that can be enjoyed in 20-page chunks. The world of the comic is growing one giant slugfest at a time.
‘Mayhem’ is the word when it comes to this issue of “O.M.A.C.” (or any issue of “O.M.A.C.”) as Kevin Kho, O.M.A.C.’s alter ego, finds himself arrested and thrown in a prison under the mind control of a scientist who experimented upon himself, now calling himself the Psi-Fi Man. Wanting to study O.M.A.C., he arranged Kevin’s capture and purposefully causes the transformation into the hulking powerhouse — not a smart move. With a Checkmate team led by Sarge Steel also getting involved, this issue provides lots of fighting and cool concepts like Checkmate’s Ambient Tech.
Artistically, Giffen carries the book. The writing serves the function of letting us know who characters are and why they’re hitting each other, but the art is the main show here. His skewed Kirbyesque style keeps characters moving at all times. There isn’t a boring panel in this comic. The Checkmate team look like they’re having fun fighting against O.M.A.C., while the ‘hero’ always looks focused and a little bothered by everything. There’s a lingering sense that O.M.A.C. finds all of this distasteful even though he excels at physical combat. Much of his actions are defensive in this issue — a change of pace from the first two — and it shows in the art.
Conceptually, “O.M.A.C.” seemed like it would feature a Spider-Man sort of hero where O.M.A.C. complicates Kevin Kho’s personal life. That happens to a degree in this issue, but the focus is much more on delivering lots of superpowered brawling. Giffen’s art is perfectly suited to that and the writing specifically enables that approach. More than a lot of the new DC relaunches, this is a comic that you can just look at the art and still understand what’s going on. Not many superhero comics rely on fights like this anymore and it’s a shame since it’s so compelling and entertaining.