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"OMAC lives... so that Man may live!"
O.M.A.C. ("One Man Army Corps") is a DC Comics character, originally a superhero in a futuristic setting, although reinvented a few times since. It was created by artist Jack Kirby during his tenure at DC in the 1970s. He first appeared in "OMAC" #1 (September, 1974). The series only lasted for 8 issues, ending in December, 1975.
The original OMAC was Buddy Blank, a janitor who was chosen by the secret organization called the Global Peace Agency to be their super soldier against the forces of the evil megacorporations that were taking over the world. With the aid of a sentient orbiting satellite called Brother Eye, OMAC tried to prevent a power struggle that would destroy civilization.
In fact, Buddy was the old man who raised Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth (another Kirby series) several years after the mysterious Great Disaster shattered the world. He died in the first issue, leaving Kamandi to roam alone the strange new world Earth had become.
All of this was before the Crisis on Infinite Earths event changed the history of the DC universe. Afterwards, OMAC was reintroduced in a miniseries by artist John Byrne that was, however, not considered canonical.
Around the time of the Infinite Crisis miniseries, the OMAC concept was reintroduced as an army of humans mutated by Nanotechnology and controlled by Brother Eye, which was now supposedly created by Batman to monitor and control metahumans (Observational Metahuman Activity Construct). Except the villainous Maxwell Lord reprogrammed it and used it to attack Earth's heroes instead.
During Countdown to Final Crisis it would be revealed that the actual creator of this Brother Eye was Buddy (who is a scientist now; Batman commissioned it from him.) A subsequent (and poorly explained) chain of events led to the destruction of an Alternate Universe that then became Kamandi's world.
DC's New 52 relaunch introduced a new iteration of OMAC: Kevin Kho, a scientist at Cadmus Industries, found Brother Eye repeatedly transforming him into a hulking monster to serve as its agent on Earth.
OMAC (the original) also appeared in an episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold; in this version a clumsy Hero Worshipper Buddy Blank was regularly transformed into a gung-ho OMAC and back again, with neither side aware of the other's existence.
Not to be confused with One-Man Army, although it was obviously based on the idea.
Tropes shown in OMAC over the years:
- Affably Evil: The "New 52/DCnU" incarnation of Brother Eye, at times. For instance, when introducing himself to Kevin Kho:
Brother Eye: What I want is your complete attention and for you to understand that your life is now mine. I am BROTHER EYE, and you and eye have much to talk about. But first, call your girlfriend. She's worried about you.
- After the End: Kamandi's world (both versions.)
- AI Is a Crapshoot: The Post-Crisis Brother Eye.
- Anime Hair: OMAC's mohawk and sideburns are supposed to resemble a Greco-Roman helmet--making him look like some ancient god of war!
- Batman Gambit: Literally, the second Brother Eye plan (which backfired spectacularly.)
- Body Motifs: Eyes, for some reason. Brother Eye is shaped like an eye, and all the OMACs have an eye symbol somewhere in their bodies.
- Brains and Brawn: Brother Eye and OMAC, for Kevin's version.
- Captain Ersatz: The Infinite Crisis OMACs for the X-Men's Prime Sentinels; both are human beings involuntarily transformed into Cape Busters through nanotechnology.
- Completely Missing the Point: The Infinite Crisis OMACs do not count as One Man Armies.
- Continuity Snarl: The origin of the new Kamandi world.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The corporations the GPA opposed.
- Cut Short: Jack Kirby's series.
- Cyberpunk: The original series was set in pretty much this kind of future before cyberpunk even became a widely used term.
- Death By Origin Story: Buddy in the first Kamandi series.
- Dumb Muscle: Kevin's OMAC.
- Expy: Kevin for Bruce Banner: scientists who find themselves regularly transforming into brutish monsters.
- Fun with Acronyms: O.M.A.C.
- Girl in a Box: Maybe the Ur Example, and played for maximum creepiness value.
- Got Volunteered: Nobody asked Buddy if he wanted to be a superhero. Equally, no-one asked Kevin if he wanted any part of Brother Eye's plans.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each issue of the 2011 series has Fun with Acronyms. For instance, "Office Management, Amidst Chaos", "Odd Meals Assure Confrontation", "Offline Messaging, Annoying Circumstances", and "Occasionally Monsters Accidentally Crossover".
- Improbable Hairstyle: A really badass mohawk that has no purpose other than recalling the Greek god of war.
- Even the biomechanical OMACs have similar headfins, again for no good reason.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: This looks to be the case for Kevin, with Brother Eye controlling the transformations.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Brother Eye could boost OMAC's abilities when needed.
- The Infinite Crisis OMACs are (in effect) Do-Anything Robots.
- Brother Eye returns to boosting for Kevin's version.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The GPA members all wear masks.
- One-Man Army: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This is explicitly why the original OMAC was created--to prevent cataclysmic large scale military conflicts by nipping them in the bud single-handedly. He actually does take out a tinpot dictator's army all by himself.
- Recycled in Space: Kirby initially came up with the idea as Captain America... in The Future!
- Robot Buddy: The original Brother Eye, with the twist that he helped from orbit.
- Robot Girl: Buddy Blank works at a facility manufacturing Robot Girls in the first OMAC story, before his transformation; although he doesn't realize his employers are doing that. He doesn't take the discovery well.
- Robotic Reveal: She was the only person at his job who was ever nice to Buddy, too.
- Super Soldier: OMAC
- Super-Powered Alter Ego: Kevin and the Batman the Brave And The Bold version of Buddy.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Brother Eye can do this with Kevin, transporting him to places of Eye's choosing.
- Time Travel: Used by the Pre Crisis OMAC to stop a robot sent to the past to kill his ancestor with help from Superman.
- Too Good to Last: Kirby's series.
- Uncanny Valley: Buddy's girlfriend--revealed as a robot, disassembled, boxed, and still talking inanely about how she wants to be his friend. Even knowing what she is, he weeps for her.
- The Virus: The Infinite Crisis OMACs are unsuspecting humans infected with nanites.
- What Might Have Been: OMAC's universe has a lot of Orwellian overtones, the most blatant being "Brother Eye" (as in, "Big Brother Is Watching You"). Remember that Buddy is not just drafted into the job, his memory is erased and he's given a new, GPA approved set of parents. All of this is, of course, incredibly creepy and makes the "good guys" who created OMAC look very suspect. But, maddeningly, the series was Cut Short before we got to see where Kirby was going with any of it. The very last issue involves Buddy's old identity and memory being restored. How was he going to react when he realized what had been done to him? The world will never know. Sigh. (The business about OMAC's connection to Kamandi was a much later retcon.)
- Woobie: Buddy Blank
- World War III: Hinted at being the cause of the original Great Disaster.
- Post-Crisis, it was a plague.