Sep 2, 2008

[Comics] The OMAC Project

The OMAC ProjectOver the weekend, I decided to spend my time finally reading my copy of Infinite Crisis along with all the accompany build-up novels that resulted in the series. First in line was The OMAC Project, an interesting tale of surveillance taken to the next level.

This was one of five titles all related to side-effects that all come together in Infinite Crisis, which was a pretty interesting way of taking this story. In recent reviews, I tend to poke fun at a lot of the DC comic book crossovers to be rather weak and hokey and often needing to fulfill some editorial imperative. The stories leading up to Infinite Crisis were definitely a major change in direction for DC Comics and showed a definite improvement in terms of their maturity and approach to a story as major as this one.

The OMAC Project follows the events after Dr. Light was practically lobotomized by Zatanna during the events of Identity Crisis. During that time, Batman also had some memories erased and when he realized this, he took steps to try and protect himself and other humans from this kind of superhuman abuse of power.

An OMAC.Image via Wikipedia To this effect, he creates a secret network of spy satellites designed to monitor all superhuman activity on Earth under the control of a master computer satellite called Brother Eye. In The OMAC Project, Maxwell Lord and the Checkmate organization manage to take control of Brother Eye and combine OMAC technology to create a sleeper army of over 1.3 million OMAC cyborg units designed to eliminate the superhuman threat as needed. The 6-issue limited series follows the heroes attempts to understand what the OMACs really are along with the internal power struggles within Checkmate.

The entire storyline seems to be the logical conclusion to a lot of Batman's metahuman suspicion that has been brewing in events even before Identity Crisis. After all, this is the same hero who keeps a Kyptonite ring to fight Superman in case he goes rogue or becomes a threat to the world, and this was merely an application of his suspicions on a grander scale. The introduction of the OMAC virus under the control of Brother Eye may not have been part of his original plans, but it still would make some level of sense if things were taken in extremis. It's similar to themes also explored during the tail end of the Justice League Unlimited animated series about fear of metahumans.

The concept of Brother Eye also plays on all the classic Orwellian Big Brother type of concerns about increased surveillance by higher authorities and how that information is to be applied. In conjunction with this is our fear about the single-mindedness of artificial intelligence when given a directive and how it always seems that the ultimate machine mind solution things is extermination of the subject in question.

The presence of the OMACs in the world may not be the main challenge that the heroes eventually need to cope with in Infinite Crisis, but it does add a disturbing additional player in the mix in the form of the all-seeing Brother Eye and his army of OMAC cyborgs that dwells within the blood of practically any human being infected with the nanobots.

After this story alone, I knew I was going to enjoy Infinite Crisis.

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