With James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Universe on the horizon, one Blue Beetle character could provide the connective tissue between the previous studio regime and the future that’s to come: OMAC. The film introduced OMAC—an acronym for “One Man Army Corps”—as a technological enhancement for the villain Carapax (Raoul Trujillo). It was featured as an armored exoskeleton that could be implanted into the spines of ordinary humans. It then turns them into bulky weapons of war. Blue Beetle (Xolo Maridueña) and his family and friends destroyed the OMACs at Kord Industries. However, the OMAC mythos is too big and too promising to be contained in one film. A film about DC’s Authority is in development and OMAC could tie the emergent threads of the DC Universe together.
The Origin Story and Purpose of the First OMAC, Explained
The original OMAC first appeared in Jack Kirby and Mike Royer’s OMAC #1 (1974). We meet Buddy Blank, a mild-mannered office-worker chosen by an omnipotent peace-keeping agency to become OMAC. Using an enormous eye-shaped satellite called Brother Eye, the peace-keeping agency imbued Blank with superhuman strength, speed, and durability. He also got a costume reminiscent of the Greek god of war, Ares, complete with a decorative fin.
From the very beginning of OMAC’s history, the character focused on the relationship between technology and the human body. In the beginning pages of his first issue, OMAC muses, “Where does humanity stop and technology begin? We no longer know…”
Seeing how much Blue Beetle explores the connections between Jaime Reyes and the Scarab, OMAC is a natural point of comparison for the protagonist.
OMAC, Superman, and the Authority’s DC Comics Relationship
OMAC could be an essential part of the DCU because of a relationship with a team on the horizon: the Authority. The Authority is traditionally made up of members like Apollo, Midnighter, and Jack Hawksmoor. In the nineties, The Authority was the edgy alternative to the Justice League. Their members were flawed and disinterested in being the model of heroism for anyone.
But recently, The Authority’s lineup and purpose got a new reimagining in print form. Grant Morrison and Mikel Janín’s 2021 series, Superman and the Authority, debuted a new OMAC as a team member. This OMAC, nicknamed “Mac,” is distinct from Buddy Blank’s iteration of the character as well as the militaristic vision of OMAC presented in Blue Beetle.
Blank’s OMAC suit includes a warlike fin and eye insignia. Conversely, Mac dons a pink mohawk hairstyle and pink facial marking shaped like an eye on his forehead. When Mac introduces himself to Superman and the rest of the new Authority team, he mentions that he uses he/him and they/them pronouns. Mac’s OMAC suit includes heavy armor. It works by him verbally commanding how much power he wants to use on a scale of one to ten. Mac is from Earth 9, and is in love with Earth 9’s version of Lightray. This makes him a character from DC’s multiverse.
Because of Mac’s uniqueness, as well as his comic book ties to the characters in future film projects involving the Authority and Superman, he presents a striking opportunity to strengthen this emergent lore in the DC Universe. This new OMAC has shaped the course of Superman’s mythology over the past two years in DC Comics.
We see their journey in the Warworld Saga arc, spanning principally Action Comics #1029-1036 and Superman: Warworld Apocalypse by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Riccardo Federici, David Lapham, and more. Along with the rest of Superman’s new Authority team, Mac went to Warworld, a desolate gladiatorial planet ruled by the tyrant, Mongul, in order to liberate the people trapped there. The Warworld Saga laid the foundation for a new era for Superman and redefined the Authority within DC’s status quo.
The Future of OMAC in James Gunn’s DCU
James Gunn said the comic book influences for the new DC Universe includes stories written by Grant Morrison. These include stories such as All-Star Superman and their Batman run. Morrison’s Superman and Batman work is setting the stage for two pillars of the DC Universe. Therefore, it isn’t a stretch to wonder if Superman and the Authority’s OMAC will make an appearance in Superman: Legacy or The Authority as a member of the team. There is no way of knowing if another OMAC was already operating outside of Palmera City in Blue Beetle. And we also don’t know if there is one like Mac existing someplace else within the multiverse.
Grant Morrison explored the multiverse heavily in works like The Multiversity. So fans will have to wait and see if this element is adapted into the DC Universe. Featuring OMAC in the Authority’s team would cultivate a greater sense of cohesion between Blue Beetle and the future DCU. Mac’s version of OMAC in The Authority would be relatively accessible to newcomers, even if they don’t know much about this collective.
OMAC’s thematic focus on the hybridity between technology and the human body is relevant to today’s world and era of superheroes. It would be a huge missed opportunity if OMAC is just a one-off character. From everything that James Gunn and Peter Safran have revealed about the new DCU, it’s clear that the franchise will pull from the lore from DC Comics. OMAC is a powerful example of the creativity in DC’s superhero comics and it’s time to bring it into full focus.