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. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
Right, let’s all get our heads back in the game. We’re onto the next page of Infinite Crisis, and… oh heck, somebody just transformed into a giant blue person. Is this an OMAC thing again? I’d better activate Chad Nevett to explain it all!
Chad! Thanks to Elana we know what an OMAC is. But what about *this* OMAC? It’s almost like some kind of OMAC… project?
Chad Nevett: The first thing to know about these OMACs is that their acronym is different. While the original OMAC was the “One-Man Army Corps,” this OMAC is “Observational Metahuman Activity Construct.” The ‘OMAC Project’ was Maxwell Lord’s attempt to keep tabs on the metahuman community and, if needed, activate the various OMAC sleeper agents to attack and neutralise them. Or, to put it another way: the OMAC Project is all about stealing Batman’s creepy spy technology.
The main method of controlling and keeping tabs on the metahuman community is through the Brother Eye satellite that Lord controls. This satellite, though, was invented by Batman as a means to keep track of his fellow heroes in case any of them proved to be a threat of some kind. Like all pieces of technology invented by Batman with somewhat good but misguided intentions, the Brother Eye satellite was ‘stolen’ by someone with a somewhat more nefarious agenda in Maxwell Lord, former ally of the Justice League and head of Checkmate.
He used Brother Eye to create and control hundreds of thousand OMAC sleeper agents across the world. These sleeper agents look and act like regular people, but they were altered so that, when the OMAC Project is activated, they become OMACs and act under the guidance of Brother Eye (who is, then, under the control of Lord). When activated, these OMACs resemble the original Jack Kirby OMAC to an extent (they have mohawks, for example), but in a more blue glowy robot sort of way. They possess advanced strength, energy blasts, and other abilities.
In The Omac Project mini-series that was part of the build-up to Infinite Crisis, these OMACs begin showing up at different places around the world, killing various metahumans. Parallel to this, Booster Gold is investigating the disappearance of his best friend, Blue Beetle. At first, he works with Wonder Woman, but switches to partnering with Guy Gardner, while Wonder Woman works with Batman to investigate the OMACs. As coincidence would have it, both investigations lead to Maxwell Lord as he both killed Blue Beetle and controls the OMACs via Brother Eye.
After Wonder Woman kills Lord in Wonder Woman #219, Brother Eye activates a protocol in the event of Lord’s death, causing the OMACs to cause mass destruction. When these protocols are activated, former Bruce Wayne bodyguard/current Checkmate Knight Sasha Bordeaux is revealed to be an OMAC, of sorts. However, she manages to retain her free will and teams up with Batman and members of Checkmate to fight back against the OMACs in an effort to save both the metahuman community and the world.
So what is Checkmate? Or is the question “who” are Checkmate?
Nevett: First appearing as “The Agency” in Vigilante #36, Checkmate was originally an organisation run by Amanda Waller before she was forced to give control to Harry Stein, who restructured it like one side in a game of chess. Stein was the King, Waller the Queen, and, then, there were Bishops, Rooks, Knights, and Pawns. It was a subgroup of Task Force X and acted on the international scene to advance American interests in the pages of Checkmate! as a mixture of intelligence gathering (black) and field operations (white).
Its relationship to Suicide Squad as part of Task Force X was exploited in the “Janus Directive” storyline where the two groups (along with Project Atom) fought an inter-agency war through the manipulations of Kobra. Checkmate was decimated, losing a large number of its agents and its headquarters. Soon thereafter, the Checkmate! series ended and the organisation was relegated to the sporadic appearance, each time under new leadership and, usually, for only a single story.
Checkmate re-emerged to recruit Sasha Bordeaux into its ranks after the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer?” and “Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” stories. As you’ve already had explained, she was created by Greg Rucka and Shawn Martinbrough in Detective Comics #751 as Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard. Bordeaux had been framed for the murder of Vesper Fairchild, an ex-girlfriend of Wayne. Checkmate gave her an out, faking her death, and providing plastic surgery. This was a not-so-subtle laying of groundwork by Rucka for the eventual use of the organisation at some point in the future.
That future came in The OMAC Project where Maxwell Lord has taken over Checkmate as the Black King and seems to view the purpose of the organisation to kill all metahumans. This is not a goal that other members of Checkmate necessarily agree with, which is why, after the death of Lord and Brother Eye begins activating OMACs worldwide to wreak havoc, they work with Batman and Bordeaux to try to stop the OMAC Project.
Clearly “The OMAC Project” miniseries must not solve the problem, given Nightwing is now facing down hundreds of OMACs. What happens at the end of the mini?!
Nevett: Batman, Sasha Bordeaux, Checkmate, and other government organisations lure a large group of OMACs to the Sahara Desert, using a group of metahumans as bait. When the OMACs begin attacking the metahumans, Batman activates an EMP, disabling the robotic components of the OMACs, freeing the human hosts. This appears like a decisive victory against Brother Eye, but the artificial intelligence still has approximately 200,000 OMACs left and continues on its plans to rage war against all metahumans, with the goal of wiping them all out.
Brother Eye raises the stakes by taking over all television screens in the world and playing the footage of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord. Absent context, it looks like she is killing a known Justice League ally in cold blood and it begins to turn public opinion against not just Wonder Woman, but all metahumans by association. The goal seems to be to make the idea of his OMACs openly killing metahumans worldwide more palatable to the general populace, allowing Brother Eye more freedom in how it chooses to attack going forward.
The series ends with Brother Eye preparing for war against the metahuman community, Batman working to disable his own creation, and Wonder Woman deals with the public outcry over her murder of Lord. The leftover remnants of Project OMAC (if you want to call hundreds of thousands of killer robots controlled by an AI satellite built by Batman ‘remnants’) is what Nightwing encounters early on in Infinite Crisis #1 as they collectively prepare to kill all metahumans.
Nightwing, you say? How interesting, I wonder who he is. Thank you Chad! This comprehensively covers this chapter of Infinite Crisis – but it sounds like another one just opened….
Chad Nevett is a writer and critic who wrote a book about Avengers Vs X-Men! I just found out about that! When not pitting Marvel’s top characters into battle, you can find Chad on Twitter here!