O.M.A.C. ("One Man Army Corps") is a DC Comics character, originally a superhero in a futuristic setting, although reinvented a few times since. 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 was 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 reappeared in the Bad Future of The New 52: Futures 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.
- Anime Hair: OMAC's mohawk and sideburns are supposed to resemble a Greco-Roman helmet — making him look like some ancient god of war!
- 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.
- Bioweapon Beast: In issue #4 of the original series, a court of justice located on top of Mount Everest comes under attack from an enormous spider-like "Avenger". It was genetically engineered by the criminal currently being held there; in the event of his capture, the beast is meant to track him down and self-destruct at the place of his imprisonment, killing everyone else in the vicinity.
- Canon Welding: Although DC's editors had implied early on in Kamandi's letters page that Kamandi and OMAC might share some connection, the official revelation that Kamandi's world is the future of OMAC's world didn't come until after Kirby had left Kamandi.
- Captain Ersatz: The Infinite Crisis OMACs for the X-Men's Prime Sentinels; both are human beings involuntarily transformed into Cape Busters through nanotechnology.
- Cut Short:
- Jack Kirby's series ended on the eighth issue, which was part 2 of a three-part story.
- The New 52 series, in a case of history repeating itself, was 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.
- Eye Motifs: In all OMAC versions, it has an eye drawing in the chest that represents Brother Eye.
- Expy: Kevin for Bruce Banner: scientists who find themselves regularly transforming into brutish monsters.
- Fan Sequel: 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. Details here.
- Fun with Acronyms: O.M.A.C. has been used as an abbreviation for 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.
- 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:
- Instant Turn-Off: In the first issue of Kirby's OMAC, Buddy Blank seems to be very pleased with his new partner Lila at his workplace, she being the only person that was kind to him. That, until he found the secret of the factory that made Robot Girls... like Lila, which eventually horrified Buddy.Lila: Hello... put me together... and I will be your friend...
- Left Hanging: The last issue of the original series ends with a single panel abruptly declaring that the island OMAC and his opponents were on has exploded. It comes out of nowhere and leaves basically everything unresolved. We don't even know if anybody survived the explosion.
- 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 use special sprays that conceal their faces. They explain that this practice is due to them being representatives of humanity as a whole, and thus cannot be allowed to be associated with any given ethnicity.
- 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 is an A.I. that occupies an eye-shaped satellite. It assists the protagonist without ever needing to leave its 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: Inverted. The first panel of the first issue shows a disassembled Robot Girl. The significance of her identity only becomes clear later, when the reader finds out that she is actually Lila, the only person at Buddy's job who was ever nice to him.
- 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.
- Issue #1 of the New 52:
- It features the sound effect "BARR-SOOM." "Barsoom" is the name of Mars used in Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars.
- Kevin Kho's cell phone ring tone goes "Dum da dum dum daaa," which is how you would transcribe the classic melody from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Issues #1 and 2 of the original series involve extremely lifelike humanoid robots with a short lifespan.
- One of the inventions from the World That's Coming is a virtual memory adventure device. Kirby must've have Philip K. Dick on the mind when he was writing the series...
- Issue #1 of the New 52:
- 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. He's villainous in most of his modern appearances.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Brother Eye can transport Kevin to places of its 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. Post-Crisis, it was a plague.
- World of Ham: It's written by Jack Kirby, and it shows. Every single line is delivered in the most operatic fashion possible.
- World War III: Hinted at being the cause of the original Great Disaster.