Jack Kirby’s OMAC: One Man Army Corps TP (DC)

Kirbys OMAC TBP Cover

Rating:  4/5 – A short lived series filled with high concepts and big action.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Jeff Bouchard

Jack Kirby’s Marvel work should be familiar to most comic fans but some of his DC creations may not be.  After having created the early foundation for the Marvel Universe with Stan Lee, Kirby had a falling out with Marvel and took his talents for a short time to DC Comics in the 1970s.  There he created the Fourth World saga, which although commercially unsuccessful at the time, gave comic fans the New Gods that are still present in DC comics to this day.

During his second wave of titles after the Fourth World books, Kirby created Kamandi, the Demon and OMAC: One Many Army Corps, the latter coming in 1974 towards the end of Kirby’s contract with DC Comics.  Kirby wrote, penciled and edited the series with inking duties handled by Mike Royer and D. Bruce Berry.

Jack Kirby’s OMAC: One Man Army Corps collects all 8 issues of the series and follows Buddy Blank’s transformation by the most sophisticated machine ever devised, Brother Eye,  from regular guy to unstoppable force as OMAC.  The series is set “in the world that’s coming” as Kirby routinely pits OMAC against criminals in this dystopian future including the corrupt corporation Pseudo-People Inc, the crime boss Mister Big and the water stealing villain Doctor Skuba.  As with a lot of Kirby’s work, high concepts abound in the pages of OMAC: One Man Army Corps and you are not at a loss for action.  Each issue points OMAC in the direction of righting a wrong, from the automatons created by Pseudo-People, Inc. to the body stealing scheme of the Crime Cabal.  There is so much for Kirby to work with and although campy to some readers I am sure, it is a lot of fun to see OMAC get thrust into these crazy situations and have to battle his way out.

Kirby’s standard kinetic and dynamic art is fully on display within the pages of OMAC: One Man Army Corps as OMAC punches and kicks his way through battles with monsters, mutated beings and armies. Some copies, albeit not the best of quality, of Kirby’s penciled pages are interspersed throughout the trade and offer some nice looks into the early parts of the process from one of comic’s legendary creators.  It is unfortunate that the series came at the end of Kirby’s run with DC as it was a lot of fun to read and offered something really different than the normal mainstream book.  With his departure DC decided to end the series rather than continue on with another creative team which leaves readers with a rather abrupt ending to issue 8, with last panel clearly crowbarred into the issue to signify the end of the series.

Although short-lived, OMAC: One Man Army Corps provides an entertaining reading experience filled with sci-fi/futuristic concepts and page turning action.  Kirby leaves readers with lots of questions as to the origins and backgrounds of the book’s main characters as he never really explores OMAC or Brother Eye too deeply in these issues but much like he did in his other works, Kirby left a great deal for other creators to work with if they ever so choose and gave comic fans a wild ride to enjoy at the same time.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – jeff@gmail.com
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