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The OMAC Project #4

The OMAC Project #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 27, 2005

Cover date: September 2005

Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Jesus Saiz, Cliff Richards and Bob Wiacek
Inker: Jesus Saiz, Cliff Richards and Bob Wiacek

"The King is Dead... "

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The battle from Wonder Woman #219 replays on the Brother I monitor, and we see Superman, standing next to Wonder Woman and a dead Max Lord, asking what she's done.

Brother I begins going haywire, releasing false positive emergencies across the world. Heroes begin to respond.

Superman accuses Wonder Woman of murdering Max. She tells him that it wasn't a murder. The emergencies come in from the JLA, and they are forced to take action before dealing with what happened.

Checkmate members begin to initiate emergency protocols, when one is seized and turns into an OMAC sleeper, killing the members. Protocol: Scorched Earth has taken effect.

Sasha and Midnight are released. Midnight immediately attacks Sasha, who easily overcomes her, her eyes glowing. She tells Midnight that she betrayed Max. They agree warily to find and kill Max.

Booster and Guy find Fire trying to solve Beetle's murder. She's put the finger on Max Lord.

Brother I sees Sasha heading for Max, and again tries to activate her sleeper protocols. Midnight saves her as they take out sentry guns. Midnight tells her that she's obviously a sleeper.

They bust in on a very cold, very dead Max. They check his computer, and realize that he didn't initiate the final protocol, the computer initialized itself.

Batman talks with Black Canary about the emergencies. The conversation is interrupted by Brother I, now calling itself Brother Eye, who tells Batman that he is no longer in control, that the new protocol is to eliminate the meta-human threat, and that Max Lord is dead, through video feeds.

Batman tries to take control, and fails.

Brother Eye shows him Rocket Red Seven being thrashed by an OMAC. Martian Manhunter fails to stop it. At the castle, Brother Eye shows Batman Sasha being skewered by an OMAC as another moves to make the final blow on Rocket Red Seven.

5Story - 5: And we are denied THE TALK. The talk that we KNOW is coming, between Superman and Wonder Woman. It's probably a good thing, though, because if Superman were to talk to Wonder Woman right then, it might come to another fight. Rucka parries well, giving them emergencies to attend to and allowing the plot to move forward. It's masterful, actually, because then they can have the talk at a time when it wouldn't interrupt an already flowing narrative.

Which, to its credit, continues at a powerhouse speed, keeping this the best of the four CRISIS lead-ins. Usually these books will have a weak link and a slow point. This one hasn't. I really respect that.

Batman coming to banter with Brother Eye was good. I was worried they wouldn't make Batman confront his own mistake in this regard, but it looks like they will. It's become a bit of a repetitive theme, to blame the Batman, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. He's such a control freak, he's the most likely to make a mistake. Superman? Morally impeccable. Wonder Woman... well, I'll talk about that in a second. But Batman? He's gotten people KILLED who were his close friends, his best friends, he drives people away. That's what revenge-motivated actions lead to. So to those of you (including myself) that would whine that it's a repetitive theme, bear in mind, that's Batman's THEME. Do the most amount of justice he can, personal consequences regardless. That attitude is dangerous.

Sasha is developing into what will obviously be either a sacrificial figure or a new hero. I'm hoping the latter, actually. If she turns out to be the ultimate Sleeper and Batman has to stop her without killing her, though, that would be nice too. It could go either way right now, and I actually care, which is a sign of good writing.

They didn't shirk away from dead Max, which is good. No missing body. It's like Beetle. You see him cold and dead. That's good. You know for sure this isn't a stunt, it's a honest-to-goodness MILESTONE for the heroes that won't be changed when Creator X wants to bring THE LORD back, or whatever. That makes it more than the old-style event where yeah, Green Arrow dies, but he'll be back in a few years.

Granted, Beetle, Max, and Dibny are no GREEN ARROW! (in big letters), but given their significance through these new stories, they might as well be in big letters.

The Brother Eye plot smacks a little bit of I, Robot (the Will Smith movie, not the classic novel. They're mutually exclusive, trust me), with the main robot deciding that for the safety of all involved, humans must be protected by the all-seeing, all-knowing hand. But it doesn't really take from the story, given that it's the kind of thing that Batman would wholly buy into. All of the Batman future stories indicate that he'll have drones do his bidding. This is a natural extension of the beginnings of that, like the black center of the Superman S. It's fun to play with the future potential failings of our heroes that we will possibly never see, and how they cope with their future selves now, countering their own tendencies. It's Days of Future Past for the DCU.

All in all, the storyline continues its breakneck pace without sacrificing any of the story.

4Art - 4: The art suffered this issue, mostly because of a big continuity jump. And I don't mean fanboy continuity, I mean, one second it's dark and dreary and rough cut, and then the next, it's like an issue of JLA from the early nineties, when Booster and Guy meet Fire. And this isn't intentional, at least, I don't think, it's a different artist, if you read the inside of the cover. It pulls you out of the story, going from the grim and gritty reality of Max being dead, Sasha and Midnight dodging bullets, and then, the story LOGICALLY progresses to Fire, but the art changes direction suddenly and becomes bright and shiny (Bubble Boy style).

It's not horrible, like, it doesn't make you throw the comic and go "MY GOD!" but it does impact the impression of the story and take from it a bit. I love Jesus's work on this, myself, and I also like Cliff for the Fire page. But put them together, it's just a little off.

5Cover Art - 5: Again I find myself forgiving a largely symbolic cover. Used to be, back during the year of horror (for those of you who were there with us, when things were just REALLY, REALLY bad), every cover would be showing something that didn't happen in the issue, just to pop and sell us comics. I used to say that I can take a symbolic cover, I just have to see it make sense. People wrote me and flayed me, saying, "Neal, you'll never see a symbolic cover you like." (Yeah, the letters got that niggling). This is a key example of what I wish I could have cited a two years ago. A cover that shows, yeah, Batman wasn't there, but this is what's happening. He's on the ground, beaten, with his failures that he's caused above him, encroaching, destroying him... it's a very passionate and lost moment for the character involved. To say nothing of tying in well with the previous four covers from sacrifice as probably, I would say, the best. Because the fights Superman had are background compared to this, the consequences, up close and persona. The detail is incredible (Going behind the logo, as this shows, is far from against the law, it's really cool when done right.).

My only real complaint are the words on the cover. WHY DO THEY DO THAT? It's so cheesy and non-sensical and horrible. What last stand? LESS WORDS, MORE ART. Except the three month teaser. That's still got me wetting my pants. I can't wait for the crisis. With the minds behind it, I can't see how it can go poorly.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2005

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