OMAC: Omactivate!: written by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen; illustrated by Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins, and Scott Koblish (2011-2012; collected 2012): One of the first cancelled series of DC’s New 52, OMAC takes a quirky cult Jack Kirby character and turns him into a rather unpleasant Techno-Hulk. Keith Giffen is in full Kirby Kopy mode here, a style that’s fun for a couple of issues but soon grows tiresome: the art looks like someone took late-period Kirby superhero art, squashed it, and then sanded all the edges off.
It doesn’t help that the new character design for OMAC is terrifically ugly — the original OMAC had a leaping Faux-hawk before we even knew such things existed; the new OMAC has a bristling, super-giant mane of a Faux-hawk that apparently works as an antenna for power beamed to him from outer space. It’s both colossally ugly and sorta stupid.
The writing is worse than the art — DiDio can only write characters who are either nebbishes or jerks. Creating sympathy isn’t one of his strong suits. Lots of explosions and one- and two-page spreads put the focus on action, but it’s action devoid of interest in those doing the action.
Originally, Kirby’s ‘OMAC’ stood for ‘One Man Army Corps.’ That OMAC was a Techno-Shazam, complete with a non-powered secret identity with the initials ‘BB’ and powers that could come shooting out of the sky, not from a wizard’s magic lightning but from a benign super-computer’s satellite power generators.
Here, OMAC stands for ‘One Machine Attack Construct.’ Because that’s way better than ‘One Man Army Corps.’ If you want to read an excellent, more modern riff on Kirby’s 1970’s character, seek out John Byrne’s 4-issue OMAC miniseries from the early 1990’s, a miniseries which manages to make its subject more ‘realistic’ while preserving the original concept in its entirety. This thing, though — this thing sorta stinks. Not recommended.