X Reviews … O.M.A.C. #8

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

O.M.A.C. #8

story by Keith Giffen & Dan Didio
art by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
colors by Hi Fi
letters by Travis Lanham
cover by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
published by DC Comics

The End.

Every story we are told as children has some sort of flag attached to it to signify the story we  just heard had reached its logical conclusion. For better or worse, and at least for the time being, the visionary behind the tale had decided the narrative reached its end. One thought completed. No further comments needed and no further explanation required. This, much like riding off into the sunset, has become as big a part of our human nature as learning to walk.

There is a problem with this concept; like the song says “The End is the Beginning is the End.” In other words, the end of something is arbitrary at best. You may think the conversation is over, but your wife may not. If you are not married, take it from me, this is usually the case. For instance, how many times have you watched a great movie or read a fantastic book that was concise, entertaining and satisfying. Now, how many times has that successful work been allowed to go to the well one time too many? If you are lucky, it will not ruin the warm fuzzy feeling you had when you experienced it prior.

This is not always a problem, however. Sometimes a good story can be made better when it is expanded for instance the current firestorm surrounding DC Comics’ decision to publish prequel stories to the Watchmen. It is possible they could be every bit as good as the original. Also The Empire Strikes Back might never have been made if George Lucas simply moved on after Star Wars. That does not excuse Jar Jar Binks, and while we are on the subject, where are Episodes VII, VIII & IX which I was promised as a child??? Sorry, I had a relapse there for a second.

Even though someone, somewhere has decide a specific story will end, it does not mean the narrative will remain finished. This month, and to a large extent this week, DC is officially publishing the final issues of six titles from their “New 52” revamp of the universe. Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, Men of War, Mr. Terrific, O.M.A.C. and Static Shock are all ending their runs. In their places, the company will add six new titles they are calling the “Second Wave:” Batman Incorporated, Dial H, Earth 2, G.I. Combat, The Ravagers and Worlds’ Finest.

O.M.A.C. is a book I was not sad to see go. I read the first three issues and was not able to find a reason to continue further. For me, “The End” of O.M.A.C. was issue #3. A good friend of mine and fellow podcaster named Michael was very upset by the news and in truth may still be in denial about the staying power of the book. “OMACTIVATE!” For him, the target of this week’s X Reviews would have to be “The End.” Little did either of us know how true this would be … or would it?

O.M.A.C. #8 is the swan song of the series and I wanted to give it a grand send off for my buddy. The story begins by dropping you right in the middle of a battle between the title character and a strike team from two Clandestine organizations, Checkmate and Cadmus. The goon sqaud sent to engage the O.M.A.C. is later revealed as a decoy to keep Brother Eye, the orbiting artificial intelligence satellite responsible for creating the big blue behemoth, busy. O.M.A.C. is warned to end the conflict quickly because it is distracting Brother Eye from a main attack on itself.

O.M.A.C.’s human tether Kevin Kho, is transported to his Metropolis home, after defeating the soldiers, monster and laying waste to Checkmate’s headquarters. (Mount Rushmore is going to need to major remodeling after this one because that is so Abe Lincoln’s nose!) Kevin is ready to tell his fiancée all about O.M.A.C. when they are interrupted by more Checkmate troops. At this point Kevin is enraged and omactivates to exercise a teeny bit of resentment toward his aggressors. During the altercation, Brother Eye says his goodbyes (perhaps to the reader’s as well) and sends an activation code essentially trapping Kevin in O.M.A.C.’s body. This leaves Kevin “dead” as O.M.A.C. says goodbye to his former fiancée and walks off into the sunset.

The genius of this issue, and I can’t believe I am going to use this word to describe this series, was the monologue running the entire length of the book. Writer/artist Keith Giffen and fellow scribe Dan Didio told an excellent story about how Kevin Kho went from fleeing his home in Cambodia to crossing paths with O.M.A.C.. In both instances, the end of Kevin Kho’s life. The monologue revealed how this event reoccurs over and over during the course of Kevin’s life. This also includes the last page of the story itself. The genius part of all this, is the monologue also frames the action scenes in the story art.

The series that started with a whimper definitely ended with a roar. The art, inks and colors in this issue were “meh” at best being very middle of the road and disappointing. If, however, Giffen wants to continue to draw like this while telling amazing stories in other titles, then count me in!  It also provided the folks at DC an easy way to bring the Hulk, er I mean the Bulk, er I mean O.M.A.C. back into the fray without many issues, and yes “issues” whatever way you want to read it.

I would give this issue an A and would consider giving it another shot, you know if DC had not DeMACtivated it and all. Sorry Michael, had to get one last zinger in there.

O.M.A.C. #8 has a $2.99 cover price. You can find more information on, well let’s face it, other great DC Comics titles by visiting their website at www.dccomics.com. Well, maybe just one more Mike.

If this is how DC is planning to end all of the six titles on the chopping block from the New 52, I cannot wait until they decide kill off Savage Hawkman and I, Vampire!

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