Modern Retro: O.M.A.C. #7 Reviewon March 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm
Considering that Keith Giffen’s art on O.M.A.C. is an obvious and unabashed tribute to Jack Kirby, if there is any justice in this world, we will eventually discover that Giffen’s pencils of Superman’s face in the opening of this book were redrawn by Al Plastino… or in a more modern turn of irony, Rob Liefeld.
Actually, having looked at that lede I just wrote, and at O.M.A.C. #7 itself again, I think doing something like that wouldn’t be a dose of justice, but something that co-writer Dan DiDio and Giffen might do just as a self-referential goof, for the sheer, lunatic thrill of it… which seems like the reasoning behind almost everything they do in this book. This is not a bad thing. O.M.A.C. has, since its launch in September, been many things: over the top, agressively retro, and almost deliberately schizo in its jumping from outlandish scenario to outlandish scenario every month. It has also been one of the most consistently entertaining comics of the first batch of the DC’s New 52.
Sure, DiDio and Giffen have provided the slimmest of throughlines to bring us from issue to issue – Brother Eye turned Kevin Kho into O.M.A.C., and Maxwell Lord and Checkmate are giving chase – but ultimately that has only served as an excuse for bringing a new guy for O.M.A.C. to punch every month… and this month, it’s Superman. Kinda. Superman – the flagship character of DC Comics and the kind of crossover that most struggling (cough cough cancelled cough) comics would milk into a three-issue crossover – appears in ten panels across four pages. Then O.M.A.C. fucks off to spend the rest of the issue with a talking cat, while Superman… kinda looks like his face was inked by Liefeld, actually.
I recognize that this sounds ridiculous… and that’s because it is fucking ridiculous. The writers have their character bail on a battle with Superman (granted, it’s post-New 52, kinda cocky and dickish Superman, but still) to spend time in battle with a bunch of Dr. Moreau knockoffs. But it’s a battle chock full of Kirby machines that look like they were transplanted straight from Apokolips, with giant manimonsters stomp the living Christ out of each other. This book is like a comic from 1973 erupted from the dustiest longbox in the back of your local comic store, simplistic “man’s inhumanity to man” moral and all. The only thing it’s missing is a handy coupon for ordering XRay Spex.
I would say that Keith Giffen’s pencils are unique, except they’re not; they’re Jack Kirby. It is obvious, it is blatant… and it is effective. Old school comics feeling fairly drips off the page, from the design of the machines to the Kirby Bubbles in every energy effect drawing that make it look like Tron jacked off on the original art. It is homage at its most basic level… and when you consider the big, broad one-and-done nature of the story, it is perfect. It’s not unique – between Joe Casey’s GØdland from a few years back and the current Kirby Genesis book from Dynamite comics, Kirby riffs aren’t anything new. But Giffen’s going all in with this book, and as someone who grew up reading comics in the 70s, it is a blast of pure, comforting nostalgia. Like a blast to the face from Tron.
This is a hard book to wholeheartedly recommend, because it’s pretty much doomed by this time next month. But if you have a soft spot from comics from the 70s, it, as all the O.M.A.C. issues have been, are a pure, full-on blast to read. Between this issue, and the recent issues of Spider-Man focusing on the old relationship between Spidey and The Human Torch, it is a good week to be a comics fan that’s about 40 years old. So do yourself a favor and check out O.M.A.C. while you still can.