Wednesday, April 20, 2005

THE OMAC PROJECT #1: Spoiler Free First Look Review

It’s the beginning of the end and it looks like it is going to be a fun ride. With the publication of the THE OMAC PROJECT #1, DC Comics has truly begun its wild ride toward this year’s INFINITE CRISIS event. This is a “First Look” review, spoiler free and based upon one read of the comic. Consider more impressions than a full review, which will be coming once I have had a chance to fully digest the book after two or three more reads. For thos just tuning in, THE OMAC PROJECT follows hot on the heels of COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS. If you need more details, scroll on down and read that spoilerific review.
THE OMAC PROJECT is written by Greg Rucka, well known for his nourish pulp writing, especially of the spy thrillers and the Dark knight himself. Jesus Saiz does the gorgeous art, which while a little rough around the edges lends a moody feel to the story. If I have a complaint about the art in general, it’s the colors. They are not bad, per se, but the glossy paper doesn’t let them sink in the way it seems they should. From what I understand, slick paper is actually sheaper, but I think I would have paid an extra fifty cents or even a dollar for clean colors.
The story itself is mostly about Sasha Bordeaux, former bodyguard and love interest of Batman and current Knight to Max Lord’s Black King of Checkmate. It is clear that she is conflicted about her role in Checkmate, and the direction of Checkmate in general under the rule of Lord. She takes great pains in this issue to cover her tracks, and much of the narration in the book is her voice, giving us an insight into how and why she remains in Checkmate and under Lord even while she feels something is wrong with the whole scenario. Sasha has a distinctive voice and a strength in her character that is welcome. So many of Batman’s past loves have been, at best, cardboard Lois lane wannabes.
We also learn a lot about Checkmate and Max Lord’s capabilities, in regards to observation of meta-humans in particular, and we get a glimpse of what O.M.A.C. and “Brother I” is, though nothing is perfectly spelled out for us. It is clear that Rucka has a mystery in store for us and it promises to be a doozy.
The Dark Knight Detective himself makes an appearance or two, mostly trying to determine what’s gone wrong with his newest toy and how that fits in to the trouble brewing in the DCU. To say more would violate the ‘spoiler free’ clause of this review, but it is safe to say, I think, that it confirms that Batman is indeed a paranoid bastard (not that he doesn’t have reason to be -- see IDENTITY CRISIS).
Finally, we get to see Booster Gold -- although his costumed identity is nowhere to be seen -- and Wonder Woman -- the one of the Big Guns (no, that is not a euphemism) who took Blue Beetle seriously in COUNTDOWN -- join up to look into the strangely absent Blue Beetle. Of course we know what happened to Beetle (I’ll spare both of you out there who haven’t read COUNTDOWN) but they don’t. it is nice to see that someone cares.
Overall, on a first read, THE OMAC PROJECT lives up to the hype. It is a good start to what looks to be a good story about the conspiracy/politics corner of the DCU as the INFINITE CRISIS looms ever closer. And unlike a lot of books lately, with decompressed storytelling to fit the trade paperback market, none of the pages in THE OMAC PROJECT seem wasted of fluff.
All in all, I recommend the book to anyone who like Rucka, Batman, the DCU, or a good pulpy conspiracy yarn.

3 Comments:

Blogger planetzeist said...

i thought the art was actually pretty weak.

and with the Formerly Known as the JL in the current DC pages, with Dibny alive and Lord residing over them, maybe they really should get a continuity person....

11:19 PM  
Blogger ReynardEller said...

You're just bound and determined to dislike everything about INFINITE CRISIS, aren't you? Formerly Known as is a throwback to the days when having dumbass 'heroes' was considered amusing. Let's hope it is the last time we see it.

6:05 AM  
Blogger planetzeist said...

no, that isn't it at all, i actually want to enjoy a big arc with repurcussions. so many of teh dc titles i read (mainly JLA) have sucked so hard recently.
the art did very little for me, aside from make me angry.
and i know Formerly is a throwback (next up they are taking on my fave team from across town, the Defenders) and the creators have stated that they threw continuty to the wind, but to someone who doesn't read wizard or whatever, it might be more than a bit confusing, would you not say?
your review helped as i had no idea who the woman was, but if i was a part-time DC reader would i know that?

8:14 AM  

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