Whats the deal with the OMACs. I remember the 90s had a mohawked guy running around. Infinite Crisis had the robots and Brother Eye. Now some sort of new Brother Eye in the new 52?
Oh man, OMACs. There are lots of different versions across the years. Sometimes it stands for One Man Army Corps, sometimes Omni Mind And Community or Observational Metahuman Activity Construct and there’s been more. A recurring theme is satellites, mohawks and eyes shaped logos but regardless, here’s what you need to know for OMAC 101!
1) Buddy Blank (1974)
From Buddy’s wikipedia:
Set in the near future (“The World That’s Coming”), OMAC is a corporate nobody named Buddy Blank who is changed via a “computer-hormonal operation done by remote control” by an A.I. satellite called Brother Eye into the super-powered One-Man Army Corps (OMAC).
As Kirby envisioned him, OMAC is “OMAC is essentially Captain America set in the future” with his biggest power being density control. “An increase in density leads to superhuman strength and enhanced durability, while a decrease in density leads to flight and super-speed. Brother Eye could provide other abilities as well, such as self-repairing functions and energy generation.”
He was revamped in 1991 into the current Earth timeline and tied with the later OMACs but… nobody cares. In the 90s he looks like this:
2) The OMAC Project (2005)
These are the ones you’ve probably seen and heard the most of. The original Kirby idea is updated with Brother Eye (originally called Brother MK I) being a satellite AI created by Batman (then taken over by Maxwell Lord and Checkmate, then in control of itself) paired with a nanovirus that infects the Earth and is able to transform people into living machines – OMACs.
From the Wikipedia:
The OMACs are cyborgs, human bodies transformed by a virus into living machines to assassinate any and all beings with superpowers. The virus was created from Brainiac-13’s nanotechnology, which had been acquired by the U.S. Department of Defense and Lexcorp, and was then secretly introduced into general vaccine supplies.
Batman and a bunch of super friends, including his ex-girlfriend Sasha Bordeaux who worked for Lord and had become part OMAC herself, take down Brother Eye and cure the OMAC infestation. It was all a leadup to Infinite Crisis and the main point seemed to be for a) Batman to look bad and b) for the OMACs to give everyone lots of things to punch.
Naturally, after the defeat they were never heard from again as is the way in comics…
3) Michael Costner (2006)
Michael Costner, a seventeen-year-old petty thief, spent his entire life in Gotham City; first as an orphan in care of the local orphanotrophy, then scraping his life on the streets, stealing to sate his addiction to heroin.
While still at the orphanotrophy, Michael was infected with the OMAC nanovirus through a contaminated flu-vaccine shot. However, Brother Eye never activated him during the Infinite Crisis events, having lost contact with him as Michael began a life off the grid. Instead, in prevision of a victory by the metahumans, Brother Eye kept Michael as a “sleeper agent,” the last unit to be activated only in times of dire need.
Brother Eye’s downfall, at the hands of Sasha Bordeaux, signaled that moment. Brother Eye, now spliced between a NORAD hard drive containing the bulk of his core programming and a backup satellite orbiting the Earth, activated Michael, incidentally saving him from a round-up. The Michael-OMAC reveals himself to be problematic from the first moments of being online.
You’ll be shocked to hear that Michael rebels against his programming and eventually takes the fight to, now revealed, backup satellite of Brother Eye. You’ll be equally shocked to hear that, during a team-up with Superman he destroys the satellite, loses his love interest and their unborn child, and enters the world as a new hero..
…who’s basically never heard of again. Nobody notices.
4) ReMAC (2008)
A modified OMAC [which was only partially activated and leftover from Infinite Crisis] is shown as a part of the new Outsiders team in the 2008 Batman and the Outsiders series … The OMAC, aptly renamed ReMAC, appears to be “an iPod with its tracklist wiped.” Dr. Francine Langstrom is unable to discern who ReMAC was before being infected by the OMAC virus; finding ReMAC a mere husk, devoid of any personal identity. This complete lack of personality makes ReMAC the perfect infiltrator, using its advanced shapeshifting abilities and its unquestioning obedience for the Outsiders’ sake.
Since its lack of personality allows villains to snatch control of ReMAC, turning it into an enemy, Batman rigs up a telepresence system turning ReMAC into an advanced drone for Salah Miandad, Dr. Langstrom’s chief assistant, enabling operation from the Outsiders HQ, the Batcave, or other secret locations.
However, while testing a new neural interface, less dependent from his stamina, to control the former OMAC, Salah is knocked into a coma. His mind comes to reside in ReMAC, supplanting the missing personality of the drone for a while (one full issue), until, due to the machinations of the villainous Simon Hurt, ReMAC is fed a malicious self-destruct code that blows it to pieces, making the restoration of Salah’s consciousness impossible.
7) Other OMACs (pre-New 52)
Honestly, there was a bunch of other examples of them popping up around the place but once again it was mostly because, just like a good little robot army, they provide a good, faceless swarm of powerful opponents for the good guys to punch. Likewise, Brother Eye continues to turn up and they play roles in Final Crisis and Justice League: Generation Lost
There’s a bunch of stuff on the Wikipedia page that I’ve linked to a few times and you can also check out the DC Wikia’s diambiguation page to see heaps of different versions from other stories, in video games and TV shows and and across the multiverse…
6) Kevin Kho (2011)
In The New 52 … a Cambodian-American man named Kevin Kho is introduced as the new O.M.A.C. Maxwell Lord is revealed to have had a hand in Kevin’s transformation.
He looks a lot more like the original Buddy Blank version and really didn’t get fleshed out before his solo book was cancelled after eight issues. Then he joined Justice League International just in time for that book to be cancelled. Then he, surprisingly, turns up in the Suicide Squad book during the Forever Evil arc with the Crime Syndicate of America.
A major recurring theme of Kevin’s brief and forgettable tenure was whether he or the OMAC and Brother Eye were in control of the body. For example, here he is leaving his fiancee after he was lost the ability to change back into a human:
It went back and forth, back and forth but at least ended on a rather amusing note.
While James Gordon Jr. is talking to Harley, the Thinker has taken O.M.A.C. and begins transferring his mind to it. Now activated, O.M.A.C. proceeds to attack … OMAC is fighting King Shark and Kamo while Amanda Waller attempts to activate Belle Reve’s failsafe through the Thinker’s computer. Before she is able to do so, Kevin Kho reaches out to her telling her he is trapped within OMAC. As Waller works with Kho … the [Suicide] Squad begins to attack OMAC. Kho is able to regain control of OMAC before Waller has to enact her last resort. But without knowing, Captain Boomerang knocks OMAC into the porthole, sending him to another dimension.
Well, funny if you find the constant, underserved suffering of an annoying character funny, I guess :)
Pretty much! You should be able to find more information on all those links if you want to know more and I’m happy to answer any further questions you might have. Hope that helps?