Why Kirby’s OMAC is more current than ever

OMAC is one of those motley characters that emerged in a decade of experimentation and creativity in superhero comics: the lysergic seventies, which also saw the birth of Howard the Duck, the Son of Satan or Etrigan. Precisely, the one-man army shares a father with the latter.

It is, of course, about jack kirbyone of the most prolific and imaginative cartoonists in the medium, who during his time at DC recycled some of the ideas he had for a futuristic Captain America and gave life to one of the most unclassifiable heroes of the publisher where Superman or Batman were born.

Of all the characters the King created for the Distinguished Competition, OMAC is one of the least popular. It has not been adapted to cinema or animation like the gods of his Fourth World, it has not had long subsequent stages like Etrigan… but, despite this, it is very interesting to revisit this work almost fifty years after its publication in 1974 to see how has not lost validity. Rather the complete opposite.

OMAC, the one man army

Buddy Blank is a character as insignificant as he is pathetic, just another worker in a company that makes virtual friends. Even within the dystopian future he lives in, he is a gray and weak person. But, as if guided by the hand of Alfred Hitchcock, a coincidence will change his life forever: You will discover a conspiracy by which the dolls made by your company are being used to carry out political assassinations. The culprits will try to assassinate him in cold blood.

Nevertheless, just like it happened with scrawny Steve Rogers, his unwavering principles will make him be selected to be part of a secret program: the OMAC project of the Global Agency for Peace, which will link Buddy telepathically with a satellite called Brother Eye, which will provide him with incredible powers. Thanks to them, he will become a defender of peace and justice in a world on the brink of the apocalypse.

an unhappy world

Jack Kirby was always known for his crazy and irresistible ideas, but there is another facet of this great artist that has gone more unnoticed: his use of the medium as social criticism. yes in 1941 showed Captain America punching Hitler before the United States entered the war, in 1974 he used this unlikely successor as a vehicle to create a dystopia as creepy as it was familiar.

OMAC lives in a world where the dehumanizing corporate culture makes them necessary reserved rooms to cry or smash objects as therapy, where the concentration of wealth has become so pronounced that a tycoon can rent an entire city to throw a party and where the powerful try to extend their lives at any cost, including the sacrifice of young people with those who exchange their bodies.

Kirby takes the opportunity to propose very pessimistic future developments but that, in cases such as billionaires more powerful than some States or the growing market of synthetic “friends”, are too similar to our world.


In a certain way, and not only because of the protagonist’s crest, this proposal is similar to what would later be called cyberpunk. It’s not hard to imagine Kaneda or Deckard wandering the streets of these cities where life is so cheap and the frenetic action leaves no breather. Of course, Kirby also includes his usual villains, dictators and mad scientists.

But what is striking is not only the adventures, but also the setting where they take place: in this future, as it is said from the first issue, there are such powerful weapons that a single war could destroy the entire world. This plot element, heir to the atomic bomb, justifies the existence of OMAC.

man and superman

But… who is the man of the future? Who is our hero Buddy Blank? The answer is very simple: it is nobody. He is a pitiful and depressed individual who has never gone off script in his life and whose only friend is an unfeeling android.

This alienated mediocrity is not only the product of a world in which human relations have become cold, but also a Clark Kent raised to the nth power. This is not the only similarity with the creation of Siegel and Shuster… and it is that, despite the almost total absence of costumed supervillains and the bittersweet tone of much of the work, OMAC It’s still essentially a superhero comic.

Since its inception, the genre has been a fantasy of power, but not power used selfishly as seen in satires like TheBoys: Clark Kent represented in a certain way the average citizen who, after having suffered the Great Depression, would have liked to give what he deserved to the unscrupulous mobsters and corrupt rich men that Superman faced in his first comics. Kirby, knowingly or inadvertently, updates this archetype by allowing us to put ourselves in the shoes of a gray guy who, despite the fact that it seems impossible, puts his grain of sand to make the world a better place.


OMAC presents a bleak future, but leave room for optimism: In this world, the nations of the Earth have agreed to form the Global Agency for Peace, an international mechanism for conflict resolution that really works and that, throughout the pages of this comic, achieves protect the weak from the excesses of the powerful.

Its members, who wear uniforms that hide their features to effectively represent all ethnic groups and nations on the planet, assist the protagonist in his missions. The one-man army is aided by all of humanity, who refuse to accept the dystopian future that awaits them.


This series came about solely as a way to fill in the fifteen pages a week that Kirby was contractually obligated to produce, and it’s not a perfect comic: it ends abruptly with the cancellation of the collection, the characters are blurred, and the adventures are somewhat irregular. Despite this, it presents us with some fascinating ideas that, in the hands of a Moore or an Ellis, could have given rise to a masterpiece. But unfortunately, DC has hardly taken advantage of the potential it has.

Post-Kirby, OMAC has been attempted to be brought back on a few occasions, without great success and, in most cases, giving up what makes this rarity great. And yet, the potential is still there, like a diamond in the rough: the themes that are proposed with an unsubtle brutality are still as relevant as ever. Therefore, although the dialogues have aged poorly, we can only encourage reading this series.

I lie. We can do something else: echo what she said Grant Morrison about this comic supergods. “The first DC Entertainment executive to read these words should greenlight a movie.” Until then, let us hope that some providential Brother Eye will free us from the tedium in which we live and the future that awaits us.

Why Kirby’s OMAC is more current than ever – TV Series