Batman: The Brave and the Bold S01 E23

Episode Title:  “When OMAC Attacks!”

Original Air Date: October 16, 2009

So, at this point I had forgotten that this season had a (sort of) over arching story centered around a (sort of) original, mysterious villain. Just as we go into the final few episodes of the season we get a nice invigorating shot in the arm from the character with much yet to be discovered, Equinox. I had reached a point where I was just trying to grind out the season, but now I am actually curious about what will happen next.

The teaser has Batman teamed up with DC odd couple Hawk & Dove attempting to broker a peace accord with some nondescript alien warring factions. The peace loving Dove and man of action Hawk disagree with the best means by which to attain that end. Thank goodness Batman is there so a peace treaty can be signed bringing an end to the alien conflict, though it appears the conflict between Hawk and Dove may rage eternally.

Omac_(BTBATB)

The story proper opens with Batman meeting with two faceless representatives of the mysterious Global Peace Agency (abbreviated GPA), where Batman is introduced to their top agent, a clumsy, unimpressive Janitor named Buddy Blank. Batman is confused by this at first, but when activated by the satellite known as Brother Eye, Buddy becomes that powerful OMAC (one man army corps). Batman and OMAC are tasked with apprehending the terrorist Kafka, who reveals his own ability to transform into the metallic super villain Shrapnel. as OMAC quite literally jumps into battle with Shrapnel, Equinox (remember episode 14?) emerges from the shadows to speak to the Dark Knight. The villain explains that he answers to a higher order and functions to maintain balance in the world. Batman tries to attack Equinox, but is entirely ineffectual against the seeming omnipotence of the man in black and white. OMAC gains the upper hand in his battle against Kafka and is preparing to unleash a lethal blast at the villain when Batman intervenes and prevents Kafka’s death. Batman insists that they were supposed to take Kafka alive but OMAC disagrees. Shrapnel releases a burst of liquid metal shards, striking OMAC in the chest at his power center and knocking him back. Batman throws a smoke grenade and runs to his ally only to discover he’s transformed back into Buddy. Batman gets him away just in time. The GPA confront Batman and accuse him of failing again. Batman warns them that Equinox intervened but they don’t believe him and insist that their weapon malfunctioned. The Caped Crusader insists that Buddy is a person, not just a weapon, and OMAC could benefit from some of Buddy’s spirit. The building shakes as Shrapnel attacks and Brother Eye transforms Buddy back into OMAC. Batman suggests to OMAC that he try using a softer touch in his battle with Shrapnel this time. Equinox confronts Batman again and explains that their goals of balancing the scales are similar, and alludes to the destruction of a city being required to balance out the destruction of a village. Batman quickly goes to an opening in the wall of the building to view smoke rising from the local nuclear power plant. Shrapnel smashes OMAC down and explains that the GPA destroyed an innocent village when they came to his country, and he survived to get revenge. The battle makes it’s way to the power plant’s control room where the plant’s cooling mechanism is damaged and a melt down seems imminent. OMAC has a revelation and decides to stop fighting back against shrapnel, and simply relies on his own shields. Batman tries to stop the melt down, but Equinox shows up and battles him. Shrapnel runs out of energy, and is subdued by OMAC as Brother Eye loses power and OMAC reverts to Buddy. Buddy goes to the power plant and tackles an unsuspecting Equinox, allowing Batman a chance to stop the impending disaster. The meltdown is averted but Batman collapses, on the verge of death. Equinox enters and says that he can’t allow Batman to die. Batman insists hit’s his life to sacrifice but Equinox heals him with a touch and then teleports away. Buddy, with his new found confidence, assists Batman, but Batman worries that more of Equinox is yet to come.

When OMAC Attacks 020

I suppose I risk sounding redundantly repetitive (I meant to do that) by saying yet again that I really love Jack Kirby characters, but the series has seriously been using them at a high frequency lately. I guess Kirby was called the King for a reason, but I worry they are going to lean on him too heavily in this first season, then we may not get to see his world again in the later seasons. Buddy Blank / OMAC has always had a serious Billy Batson/ Shazam dynamic, though with a technological source of power rather than a mystical one. Despite how interesting Kirby’s OMAC may be, the real source of joy in this episode is Equinox. I am really curious about this character because, though he does resemble Libra from Final Crisis, he is original enough that his motivations are not known and how his story will resolve is completely unknown to me (quite the feat given the amount of minutia I have picked up about the DCU over the years). Overall, I can honestly say that this is the first time the season I honestly can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode (“The Fate of Equinox”). Even as a stand alone episode this is a very enjoyable story, but in the context of the season, I can say that this is the best episode yet!

Featured Characters: Hawk and Dove (Ditko & Skeates, 1968), Omac (Jack Kirby, 1974), Shrapnel (Erik Larsen, 1988), Equinox (as Libra, Wein & Dillin, 1974)

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