You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. Just as we were really starting to explore the story, however, we’ve had to ask for a bit of help about the first issue from an expert in the area.

Everything seems to be in order at the moment, apart from this thing which somebody mentioned recently called an “OMAC”. What is an OMAC? Sounds like a Jack Kirby thing. We’re going to need a Jack Kirby expert to help us out on this – Elana Levin, can you clue us in on what OMAC is?

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What is an OMAC? What does OMAC stand for?

Elana Levin: Created by Jack Kirby in 1974 OMAC stands for One Man Army Corps– a superpowered being and “our choice for keeping the peace in a world that can’t afford violence.” OMAC serves the Global Peace Agency in The World That’s Coming. 

Not “the world that may be coming”–  Kirby speaks of The World That’s Coming in definite terms here. And since he predicted the iPhone and Donald Trump, who am I to argue? 

OMAC is the O.M.A.C. of the Global Peace Agency — an internationalist, all powerful government where men and women of all nations serve in equal percentages, hiding their true identities behind a cosmetic spray– to be unbiased you see. Metaphorically, OMAC stands for the Captain America of the future. As Cap is to America, OMAC is to the future global government.  

Over the eight issues of the original series OMAC spends a lot of time fighting not just the likes of Doctor Skuba, but evil corporations, plutocrats who rent cities (so basically Mike Bloomberg) and a wannabe dictator who looks like the lovechild of Fidel Castro and Josip Broz Tito

Who was the first OMAC – and how did they *become* OMAC?

Levin: OMAC begins with Buddy Blank — a total nebbish and sad sack working for an evil technology corporation called Pseudo-People Inc. Buddy believes he deserves a hot girlfriend to perform emotional labor for him and so he falls in love with a lifelike but ultimately non-sentient sex robot. 

This is not an exaggeration. OMAC #1 is an incredibly feminist comic skewering the commodification of women’s bodies and men’s expectation of women’s emotional labor, exposing it as a destructive dynamic that hurts everyone. I listed it as the 2nd best #1 comic issue of all time in Shelfdust’s survey of critics.

Buddy gets his powers through the GPA’s benevolent, all knowing, and not at all creepy or Orwellian satellite named Brother Eye, “the most advanced and complex piece of metal in this dangerous age”. The Brother Eye satellite transforms Buddy via “Electronic surgery! A computer hormone operation done by remote control!!” 

The end result is a larger-than-life man who can control the density of his body for strength or speed depending what Brother Eye thinks he needs.  It also gives him cool hair that looks like a Centurion’s helmet. 

So is Buddy Blank OMAC during Infinite Crisis… or has something else happened here??

Levin: Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. The whole point of Buddy Blank is that he’s blank. He is an absence. A nebbish. The GPA that holds anonymity and lack of identity as a virtue chooses him because he is so blank. Like the nameless, faceless members of the Global Peace Agency OMAC could be anyone! The satellite hormone surgery re-writes his entire personality so much, the GPA recruited new people to be his parents since he presumably wouldn’t know his old ones any more. 

The original series was unceremoniously cancelled leaving the most abrupt ending possible– Blank depowered and blown-up off panel with Doctor Skuba and Brother Eye trapped in space slag. I can see why creators might want to try to make a more satisfying ending than that. But any stories that try to make Buddy cool or meaningful himself are entirely missing the point. So ignore that urge.

OMAC is OMAC.

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Thanks Elana! Doesn’t get much more definitive than that. I think that covers everything we needed to find out about! Let’s crack Infinite Crisis #1 back open again tomorrow and comprehensively cover it once and for all!

 

Elana Levin is a critic and podcaster who is best known as the host of Graphic Policy Radio. For more from her, you can find her on Twitter here!