Or – “Some Life Experiences Shouldn’t Be Plot Points…”

omac2.jpgreviewbubble.jpgI suppose when I reviewed the last issue of OMAC, (the review, which may have been overly harsh, can be found over here…) I should have been more specific. When I lamented the story and wished that the plot would GO somewhere, I sort of meant somewhere GOOD. Granted, it’s an interesting issue, and it’s not without it’s subtle charms, but, frankly, it feels a little bit like Banky Edwards or Brodie Bruce wrote this issue, without even getting the fun Kevin Smith cursewords. What do I mean by that?

Banky & Brodie are two separate characters played by Jason Lee in “Chasing Amy” and “Mallrats,” respectively, known for their comic geekery and opinionated natures. In one famous scene, Brodie quizzes Stan “The Man” Lee for several minutes about the sex lives of his most famous creations, and this issue brings the awkward feeling of that conversation back to me, with the added frisson of horror that it’s actually happening in a canonical DCU title. But enough wool-gathering, let’s get moving. This here book ain’t review herself, dangolahtellyouwhut.

We start this issue where we left last, with a complete cluster-schmozz in the Nevada desert. A bus carrying a troupe of “dancers” has crashed into a convertible carrying the last OMAC, a heroin junkie named Mike who spends most of his time crying like a pre-teen schoolgirl about how unfair his life is. Mike, thankfully, OMAC’ed up (OMACified? OMACticated? How ’bout OMACramee’d?) right before the crash. Unfortunately, the big blue marblehead is just a few turns off plumb and starts annihilating everything in sight, as the orbiting Brother Eye satellite desperately tries to regain control of its last, best hope. Vienna, the ostensible love-interest-slash-hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold is stunned and horrified, but even more horrified to realize her evil manager (the guy who nearly shot her to death last issue) survived as well. He puts his gun in her face, and suddenly gives Mike the trigger he needs to regain control.


Note the headless, smouldering corpse of Pete in the right corner, there. Never pull a gun on the psycho thirty foot cyborg’s pseudo-girlfriend, Pete. Life lesson learned. Vienna spends several years screaming at OMAC to put her down (not wise when you’re a hundred feet up) and is stunned when he complies. The cyborg can’t talk, but he manages to carve letters in the ground to tell her what’s up. M… I… K… E.. “Ohmigod! You ATE Mike Costner?” Heh. This girl is only about two shades brighter than Mikey himself. The OMAC gets frustrated, and manages to dump her into the waters below, known colorfully as “Shark Alley.” Either OMAC is a bigger idiot than he seems, or he’s a cold and merciless mofo, as Vienna hears an ominous tuba solo and feels remarkably like a veal cutlet. “Dah DUMM… Dah DUMM…” Then, suddenly, Mike leaps down to save her, and I realize that it’s definitely cold and merciless.


What 17 year old namechecks Esther Williams in conversation? As an aside, I think he threw her to the wolves– er, sharks, just to get the “hero treatment.” That is wrong on multiple levels, moreso given what’s about to happen. As an aside, I have an old friend (Howdy, Bruce!) who hates it when a character just shapeshifts only their hand into a weapon. After reading this sequence, I can certainly see what he’s talking about. The artist does pretty well with it, but the whole page reads pretty ridiculous to me. “Hey, he must be a superhero, look at the size of his FOREARM!” Gyaah.

Speaking of the art, I’m liking it better this month. It reminds me of Rick Veitch on “The Maximortal” and “Bratpack.” A quick check of the credits reveals that we’re dealing with a whole new artist. A NEW artist halfway through an EIGHT ISSUE series? Part of me wonders if that’s some sort of sign, but more likely it’s just the nature of the comics biz today. Mike explains that he can’t really control his powers (except when he can) and that he doesn’t know what’s up with OMAC’s general behavior. They find a cabin, Mike kills a wild boar for food (where the heck are they, anyway, with sharks and boars running about willy nilly?) and Vienna takes a bath. Ooookay… When Mike explains that he remembers sparing a female policeman in the first issue, and Firestorm (while merged with Lorraine Reilly) in the second or third, Vienna waltzes in wearing a hand towel and hypothesizes that Mike’s partial control of his OMAC form only comes about when he doesn’t want to hit a girl.

Wait, what? Seriously? His power comes from displaced mommy issues? And what about page two of this issue where OMAC disintegrated Vienna’s female friend in cold blood? Was she not “girly” enough for Mike’s sense of honor? Best of all, after traipsing about naked for ten minutes, Vienna seems surprised when Mike notices, and then insists that he’s sleeping on the floor. He puts on his best Ron Jeremy face and, heaven help us all, it works.


About now I start beating myself in the face with my daughter’s tricycle and wondering why so many writers apparently subscribe to the “Anakin Skywalker School Of Seduction Dialogue.” We either timejump forward, or it doesn’t last long, because the next page has Vienna explaining that she’s been celibate for awhile because “I’ve just been freaked about… catching something.” Foreshadowing. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Mike tosses out his own bombshell, explaining that this was his “first time.” Thankfully, before I give myself a permanent concussion, the book ends, but not before Brother Eye tosses out his own embarassing revelation…


On the plus side? Vienna is a stronger character than Mike, even though her taste in men is highly suspect. However, I gotta say this is the last issue of OMAC I’m going to be reviewing. I’ll probably still buy the things (a completist mentality is one of my character quirks), but I can’t sit and inflict this on you every month. It’s not a bad comic, just one that I find very… clumsy and blah. Mike’s on-again, off-again powers, the unique but focusless plot, and the sheer ugliness of the OMAC just doesn’t gel for any sort of real comic enjoyment. It’s the kind of book you want to talk about after reading, but not in a good way, in that sort of “Can you BELIEVE this book?” way. I feel bad, too, cause Bruce Jones is an author I respect and like, and the only things of his I’ve reviewed have left me cold. This one was slightly better than last issue, but the difference was marginal, leaving #5 with the same 1 1/2 stars as the last outing. Maybe I’ll have better luck reviewing Martian Manhunter?



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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