Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Finally, the world’s wildest animated television show is back with all-new episodes. Are you ready for the review that’s coming!?
“When OMAC Attacks!”
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
As we all know, I’m quite the fan of Jack Kirby’s OMAC series, and had been salivating in the usual Pavlovian manner for some time now in anticipation of this episode. Could it live up to my expectations? Well, no, not really.
Our opener this time around slips us a bit of the Ditko before the episode goes all Kirby. Batman’s off in space, trying to solve an alien war without bloodshed, and he’s got Hawk and Dove in tow with him. These two fall in line with the usual portrayals– they’ve got the mentality of Hank and Dean Venture and the bickering of Casey Affleck and Scott Caan from Ocean’s Eleven through Thirty-Seven. Batman does all the work here, but the opener sets up the themes of this episode– war and peace, and the balance between them.
The episode proper begins with Batman getting chewed out by the faceless faces behind the Global Peace Agency, so I was immediately giddy at the prospect of Kirby Kraziness. The Dark Knight’s on the trail of classic OMAC nemesis General Kafka, and the GPA is providing him a partner– in the form of puny Buddy Blank. But with a laser from orbiting Brother Eye, the Southern-drawled Buddy transforms into OMAC, the One Man Army Corps, complete with Kirby Krackle effects.
Both Buddy and OMAC are voiced by Jeff Bennett, who gave us the brilliant Rat-Pack-ian Joker earlier this season. He’s more well-known, however, for providing the pipes of one Johnny Bravo, the big-haired, big-muscled, small-brained Elvis soundalike from the bygone days of Cartoon Network, back when they showed cartoons. OMAC reminds me of Bravo, and it’s not just because of their tall coiffures– they’re both the blustery type who rush in without thinking. In OMAC’s case, this means punching things in the face, a lot– “Hit hard or not at all, I always say”– but, this being Brave & the Bold, that type of headstrength comes back to bite one in the posterior.
Most of the episode, in true OMAC fashion, is one long fight scene, but it lacks a lot of charisma. I enjoyed the first act of the episode, especially the homage to that time OMAC punched seven guys in the face at once and the presence of the Castro-esque Kafka, the existentialist’s Communist, but once the incredibly generic and overly mysterious Equinox strolls in out of the shadows, revealing himself as the mastermind, I lost interest. Things go all FUBAR, and Kafka’s sci-fi goo turn him into a giant robo-monster-thing calling himself, in true diabolical bad-guy-must-say-his-name fashion, “Shrapnel!” OMAC gets hit in the eye-signia and transforms back into Buddy Blank, who, of course, is unaware that he is also OMAC.
Batman saves him, of course, and confronts the Global Peace Agents, who are, in this universe, a bunch of dicks, claiming Buddy is simply “a mannequin we dress as OMAC.” Interesting choice of words from guys who have featureless plastic-y heads. Pretty soon, though, Buddy’s back as OMAC and back in action.
Equinox shows up from stage left again, and acts enigmatic some more. I really don’t enjoy this character. He casually beats up Batman, pulls random powers out of his butt, and delivers all his lines in the most bored manner possible. Oded Fehr’s probably going for mysterious, but it comes off simply as monotone. Equinox reveals, however, that the Peace Agents are less peaceful than advertised, having caused a village’s destruction– so he’s gonna let Shrapnel nuke whatever city they’re in, to balance the scales.
Meanwhile, OMAC figures out, somehow, that all of Shrapnel’s power comes from getting pummeled, or somesuch, so he decides not to hit back. This works or something. Blah blah, cut to the chase. Reduced to Buddy Blank, he takes on Equinox to save Batman– who runs protection-free into the nuclear reactor to shut it down. With a wave of Equinox’s hand, however, Batman lives to fight again. So what’s this bad guy’s angle? I have a feeling we’ll find out in a future episode, maybe.
The episode ends pretty abruptly, with the GPA never getting the comeuppance they clearly deserve, Equinox getting away, and Buddy Blank, though feeling better about himself, completely still a tool that some faceless pricks use when they need some dirty work done. The Batman I’m used to wouldn’t stand for this BS.
The Moral of the Story: War is the same thing as peace, so long as you couch it in the right terminology. (What kind of lesson is this for a kids’ TV show?)
The Verdict: A couple Kirby trappings, but no Kirby spirit.
Next week: The musical episode! With Neil Patrick Harris!
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