Comic Book / O.M.A.C.
Rush hour can be murder.
"OMAC lives... so that Man may live!"
("One Man Army Corps") is a DC Comics
character, originally a superhero in a futuristic setting, although reinvented a few times since. It was created by artist Jack Kirby
during his tenure at DC in the 1970s
. He first appeared in OMAC
#1 (September, 1974). The series only lasted for 8 issues, ending in December, 1975.
The original OMAC was Buddy Blank, a janitor who was chosen by the secret organization called the Global Peace Agency to be their super soldier against the forces of the evil megacorporations that were taking over the world. With the aid of a sentient orbiting satellite called Brother Eye, OMAC tried to prevent a power struggle that would destroy civilization.
In fact, Buddy was the old man who raised Kamandi
, The Last Boy On Earth (another Kirby series) several years after the mysterious Great Disaster shattered the world. He died in the first issue, leaving Kamandi to roam alone the strange new world Earth had become.
All of this was before the Crisis on Infinite Earths
event changed the history of the DC universe. Afterwards, OMAC was reintroduced in a miniseries by artist John Byrne
that was, however, not considered canonical
Around the time of the Infinite Crisis
miniseries, the OMAC concept was reintroduced as an army of humans mutated by nanotechnology
and controlled by Brother Eye, which was now supposedly created by Batman
to monitor and control metahumans
(Observational Metahuman Activity Construct). Except the villainous Maxwell Lord reprogrammed it and used it to attack Earth's heroes instead.
During Countdown to Final Crisis
it would be revealed that the actual creator of this Brother Eye was Buddy (who is a scientist now; Batman commissioned it from him.) A subsequent (and poorly explained) chain of events led to the destruction of an Alternate Universe
that then became Kamandi's world.
DC's New 52
relaunch introduced a new iteration of OMAC: Kevin Kho, a scientist at Cadmus Industries, found Brother Eye repeatedly transforming him into a hulking monster to serve as its agent on Earth. This series only managed to last eight issues before being cancelled again, and Kevin vanished into Comic Book Limbo for a time. He recently reappeared in the Bad Future
of DC's Future's End, a series that also features Brother Eye trying to take over the world once more.
OMAC (the original) also appeared in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold
; in this version a clumsy Hero-Worshipper
Buddy Blank was regularly transformed into a gung-ho OMAC and back again, with neither side aware of the other's existence.
Not to be confused with One-Man Army
, although it was obviously based on the idea.
Tropes shown in OMAC over the years:
- Affably Evil: The "New 52/DCnU" incarnation of Brother Eye, at times. For instance, when introducing himself to Kevin Kho:
Brother Eye: What I want is your complete attention and for you to understand that your life is now mine. I am BROTHER EYE, and you and eye have much to talk about. But first, call your girlfriend. She's worried about you.
- After the End: Kamandi's world (both versions.)
- A.I. is a Crapshoot: The Post-Crisis Brother Eye.
- Anime Hair: OMAC's mohawk and sideburns are supposed to resemble a Greco-Roman helmet—making him look like some ancient god of war!
- Batman Gambit: The second Brother Eye plan (which backfired spectacularly.)
- Body Motifs: Eyes, for some reason. Brother Eye is shaped like an eye, and all the OMACs have an eye symbol somewhere in their bodies.
- Brains and Brawn: Brother Eye and OMAC, for Kevin's version.
- Captain Ersatz: The Infinite Crisis OMACs for the X-Men's Prime Sentinels; both are human beings involuntarily transformed into Cape Busters through nanotechnology.
- Completely Missing the Point: The Infinite Crisis OMACs do not count as One Man Armies.
- Continuity Snarl: The origin of the new Kamandi world.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The corporations the GPA opposed.
- Cut Short: Jack Kirby's series, which ended on part 2 of a three-part story, no less.
- As well as the new 52 series. In a case of history unfortunately repeating itself, both series were cancelled after only 8 issues.
- Cyberpunk: The original series was set in pretty much this kind of future before cyberpunk even became a widely used term.
- Death by Origin Story: Buddy in the first Kamandi series.
- Dumb Muscle: Kevin's OMAC.
- Expy: Kevin for Bruce Banner: scientists who find themselves regularly transforming into brutish monsters.
- Fan Sequel: Due to widespread dislike of the post-Kirby OMAC revivals, in 2002 two British fans wrote and drew OMAC #9 for fanzine publication, in the style of Kirby, in order to wrap up the final story. note
- Fun with Acronyms: O.M.A.C.
- One-Man Army Corps, Observational Metahuman Activity Construct, Omni Mind And Community, Omegatech Mechanoid Armored Cop, Outerworld Monitor and Auto Containment, One Millionth Actual Clone, and One Million And Counting. See Idiosyncratic Episode Naming for more.
- Girl in a Box: Maybe the Ur-Example, and played for maximum creepiness value.
- Got Volunteered: Nobody asked Buddy if he wanted to be a superhero. Equally, no-one asked Kevin if he wanted any part of Brother Eye's plans.
- Hitler's Time-Travel Exemption Act: In Byrne's miniseries, OMAC decides the easiest way to undo a time-displaced villain's tampering with history is to kill Hitler. Which he does, graphically. Years later, as Buddy, he decides that this was a bad idea and sets up a plan to have Brother Eye correct his mistake.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each issue of the 2011 series has Fun with Acronyms. For instance, "Office Management, Amidst Chaos", "Odd Meals Assure Confrontation", "Offline Messaging, Annoying Circumstances", and "Occasionally Monsters Accidentally Crossover".
- Improbable Hairstyle: A really badass mohawk that has no purpose other than recalling the Greek god of war.
- Even the biomechanical OMACs have similar headfins, again for no good reason. Other than to look like the original OMAC.
- In Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, the OMAC instead has a helmet with a crest on top, which more readily reminded readers of ancient Roman Galeas.
- Kevin sported a truly ridiculous mohawk.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: This looks to be the case for Kevin, with Brother Eye controlling the transformations.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia
- Mind Screw: Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape is the story of Tom Tresser's time in the Electric City, which is controlled by Brother Eye (now calling himself Lord Eye), which revels in Mind Screw. Including, but not limited to, non-euclidean geometry, amnesia, time-loops, shape-shifting, and hallucination. It messes with Tom so badly that when he returns to the main DCU, everyone thinks he's just completely lost it.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Brother Eye could boost OMAC's abilities when needed.
- The Infinite Crisis OMACs are (in effect) Do-Anything Robots.
- Brother Eye returns to boosting for Kevin's version.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The GPA members all wear masks.
- One-Man Army: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This is explicitly why the original OMAC was created—to prevent cataclysmic large scale military conflicts by nipping them in the bud single-handedly. He actually does take out a tinpot dictator's army all by himself.
- Once an Episode: The introduction of every chapter of the original series mentions "THE WORLD THAT'S COMING!".
- Recycled IN SPACE!: Kirby initially came up with the idea as Captain America... in The Future!
- Robot Buddy: The original Brother Eye, with the twist that he helped from orbit.
- Robot Girl: Buddy Blank works at a facility manufacturing Robot Girls in the first OMAC story, before his transformation; although he doesn't realize his employers are doing that. He doesn't take the discovery well.
- Robotic Reveal: She was the only person at his job who was ever nice to Buddy, too.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Zig-zagged in the Byrne miniseries. OMAC is retrieved from After the End of the original series and is sent back in time to stop Mr. Big from backing Adolf Hitler — only to realize that this was what created the original decadent future he came from, and that it wasn't worth saving. He and Brother Eye develop a plan to make sure World War II happens, which involves rewriting the ending of the battle with Doctor Skuba that caused the cliffhanger the original series ended with.
- Shout-Out: Issue #1 of the New 52 has a couple of really clever ones.
- Stupid Evil: OMAC's first enemies in Kirby's story. When Buddy Blank accidentally comes in their secret installation to visit his friend Lila, he was entirely unaware of what was going on here and had no curiosity about it; they could have easily get rid of him by just telling him Lila was absent and he wouldn't have shown up anymore. Instead, they decide to reveal him everything about their plan just so they can sadistically tell him his friend actually is a Robot Girl conceived to murder people, and then attempt to murder him. Cue his first transformation and a remarkably deserved Mook Horror Show.
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: In the original comics, Brother Eye was a good guy, although one could interpret him as having Orwellian overtones. He's villainous in most of his modern appearances.
- Super Soldier: OMAC
- Superpowered Alter Ego: Kevin and the Batman: The Brave and the Bold version of Buddy.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Brother Eye can do this with Kevin, transporting him to places of Eye's choosing.
- Time Travel: Used by the pre-Crisis OMAC to stop a robot sent to the past to kill his ancestor with help from Superman. It's also a central element of Byrne's miniseries.
- The Blank: The Global Peace Agents wear masks that give them this look. Final Crisis implies it was based on the mask of The Question.
- The Virus: The Infinite Crisis OMACs are unsuspecting humans infected with nanites.
- What Could Have Been: OMAC's universe has a lot of Orwellian overtones, the most blatant being "Brother Eye" (as in, "Big Brother Is Watching You"). Remember that Buddy is not just drafted into the job, his memory is erased and he's given a new, GPA approved set of parents. All of this is, of course, incredibly creepy and makes the "good guys" who created OMAC look very suspect. But, maddeningly, the series was Cut Short before we got to see where Kirby was going with any of it. The very last issue involves Buddy's old identity and memory being restored. How was he going to react when he realized what had been done to him? The world will never know. Sigh. (The business about OMAC's connection to Kamandi was a much later retcon.)
- World War III: Hinted at being the cause of the original Great Disaster.