Friday, August 26, 2011

Jimmy Olsen

It seems fitting to wrap up the Drewniverse's 52 with Jimmy Olsen. Not only has Jimmy been the victim of many, many, MANY self-and-Superman inflicted "reboots" in his career, but the character himself was sort of rebooted in continuity early on in the dawn of Action Comics #6. See, previous to that, Jimmy was an unnamed "office boy" who existed in crowd scenes at The Daily Star. It took his appearance in the Superman radio program to give him a name and a voice. In a way, the current DC reboot is just one of many that have been washing over the setting since its birth, changes to in-comic continuity inspired by out of comics factors. We've seen it again and again over the years from kryptonite to Harley Quinn, the DC universe yawns wide to gobble up new takes, new ideas, and new characters that emerge from popular culture.

Is it any wonder things become so convoluted, so quickly? One practically needs a roadmap or a change log or something to keep track of what is "real" and "imagined" in these fictional stories.

Jimmy Olsen, Reporter (#52/52) will be that log.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of Jimmy, I need to mention another red-haired comicbook character who served, in a way, as the inspiration for Jimmy's role in the Drewniverse: Archie Andrews. Now, all I know of Archie comes from reading the same two Archie Digests that were left at my dentist's office the same summer I got my braces installed some, ungh, twenty years ago. Which is to say, I know Archie has some woman troubles, a friend who may or may not have a horrible eating disorder, and gets up to a whole lot of hijinx. So many, I've always assumed, that they've had to publish them in digest form. I had never seen actual individual Archie comics, but I assumed there were out there, lots of them. So many, in fact, that a reasonable person would be like "Whoa, slow down, just give me the bare bones so I can keep up" and thus the digests. Too busy to keep up with the kids of Riverdale in all (I assume) three hundred and twenty five Archie titles? No problem. We've summed everything you need to know up in this digest for you.

Yes, I know this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what a digest is, but hey, I can be pretty thick sometimes. I only figured out a few years ago that The Gambler from the Kenny Rogers song of the same name actually died in the song. Likewise, I had assumed for years that a digest was just an abbreviated summation of some other body of work - Reader's Digest offered paired down editions of classics and email message groups had a daily or weekly digest feature.

Anyhoo, with the Drewniverse (and DC) featuring some 50+ monthly titles, it would be foolish to expect the average reader to buy them all. Sure, as publishers we'd want them to, but in reality not many people have a $150 monthly comics budget. With that much monthly output, it would be really easy for readers to get lost, to fall behind, and to give up in frustration. We don't want that. We want a way for the hardcore to follow the setting and the casual to be able to pick it up and put it down on a whim. If the story is good, the casual reader will keep buying. If not, we want to make sure they have an easy way to reengage with the setting to get caught up when they want to give it another shot. I'm thinking here of some comments Jason Mantzoukas of the How Did This Get Made? podcast made when discussing the Green Lantern movie - Jason knew who the Green Lantern was, considered himself a fan of the Green Lantern (especially his The New Frontier incarnation), but had no idea what was going on with the character recently beyond some colored rings stuff.

You know, I bet the same sentiment could be true for many, many potential DC comics buyers. We enlightened few on the internets are pretty aware of the current state of our comicbook settings, even if we never buy the books. I never read House of M, but I could summarize it for you (and even do a longer description than "Bendis wanks into a sock for 8 issues" - I KEED I KEED). But the average potential reader who doesn't spend their days surreptitiously sneaking peeks at Comics Alliance or iFanboy will know little about what's going on. Hell, for all they know, Spider-Man is black right now. Jimmy Olsen, Reporter would give the lapsed fan an easy way to pop into the setting to see what's up.

So what do we proud, we few, we forum lurkers get out of Jimmy Olsen? We get our official register of continuity. #52 will be the method of editorial story control over the setting. With the big name characters appearing in multiple books (no matter how much I've tried to limit it), who did what when can get pretty muddled. In steps Jimmy Olsen. If it's mentioned in Jimmy Olsen, it's in continuity. Events that happen outside of it still happen and are still in continuity, but it takes a mention in Jimmy Olsen to get it nailed on, immutable (barring time travel, natch). So Superman could fight an army of levitating Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) in the north in Superman and that's totally real and totally did happen, even thought the same month in Justice League, he's busy pushing a War World out of orbit around our yellow sun. It would be up to Jimmy Olsen to set how that order of events happened, to smooth over any unfortunate story consequences that may have sprung from that. That way if, to take a totally random example, a writer decided that Superman would give up flying in favor of hassling drug dealers, Jimmy Olsen could dial that back with a mention of "the rumors that Superman has given up flying are unsubstantiated. Heck, I saw him fly by just last week!"

Yeah, we're Schrodinger-ing continuity here some, but then again, every comic ever has done that. All things being equal if Batman #5 states that a giant ocean liner sank off the coast of Iceland while Superman #5 says that the same ocean liner was actually stolen by Ocean Master, there needs to be a third party comic, one who speaks with the Voice of Thunder, back by editorial fiat, to bring things into line. This would hopefully prevent these continuity clashes from snowballing, just like they did over the decades that brought us Earths 1 and 2. Hopefully our editorial staff will have enough control over our writers that this continuity correction will be more of a gentle nudge rather that ZOMG WHY DID YOU KILL WONDER WOMAN?

Also, given that this is a reboot where certain things may or may not have happened in the past, we'll need a house organ to state what's what when it comes to backstory.

This is a lot of responsibility to place on one title's weedy, tweedy shoulders, I know, but I think Jimmy can take it. Jimmy Olsen, Reporter will be a book divided into parts. Each issue will feature a stand-alone Jimmy Olsen story, one where he encounters and interviews major players of recent comic events. So he could be kidnapped by thugs and rescued by, say, Huntress which would give us a chance to establish her recent timeline in regards to the rest of the Drewniverse. Or he could have a stunned jailhouse interview with Lex Luthor where the billionaire decries the slanders and lies levied against him ("Uh, Mr. Luthor, to be fair, the weapons used in the lab break-in had the LexCorp logo on them, so a lot of people will think you are responsible-" "Mr. Olsen. My LexCorp logo also appears on a line of hand lotions. Am I therefore responsible for what you do with those late at night in front of your computer?" "Uh, er, I think we're done here." "Quite.").

Jimmy's legacy of transformations would be continued in this part, when needed. Who better to get the scoop on Sam Simeon than Gorilla Jimmy? Bizarro would certainly talk to Bizarro Jimmy ("Me am best enemy!"), just as the Amazons would prefer to speak with Leslie Lowe.

The second part would be for more basic information dumps and would take the form of Jimmy's blog and attached message board. This would allow us to quickly cover some background information without waiting for Jimmy to get around to interacting with the major players in the events. It would also be the haunt of a certain Super-fan, who could use the venue to continue his bellyaching.

The third would be totally out of continuity and would consist of information regarding upcoming issues of other titles, new graphic novel releases, and so on. It'd be ad content, sure, but then again, considering that Jimmy Olsen, Reporter shouldn't cost more than two bucks tops (one is better, free is best, but I know little about publishing costs for comics), it should be okay. A low price point is a must for this comic. We want people to get into the habit of picking it up every month, even if they are not huge DC fans, just so they can be in the loop as to what's going on.

And there we have it. 52 comics in three months. Whew. I'll have more to say on this project next week, including my favorite reboots, things I've rethought, and my general process, but for the time being, please feel free to browse the now complete title list to the right!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Creeper

No comic company operates in a vacuum, of course, and as such DC and Marvel have been copying/ripping off each other for decades now. Long before people scratched their heads at the inexplicable existence of two computer animated ant movies (Antz and A Bug's Life), people have wondered if the world really needs a Namor AND and Aquaman, a Swamp Thing AND a Man-Thing, a Thanos AND a Mongul.

But that's not so bad, yanno? I think it is a Good Thing that the Big Two can reach across the aisle and appropriate whatever it is the other guy has going on. From pastiches of Superman to parodies of Wolverine, whenever one comic company has something going for it, you can bet the other will soon follow. Sure, 90% of the time it's crap that misses the point of the original, but whatever - that 10% that works makes it worth it.

One, uh, "borrowed" character that worked is Deadpool. Born out of Rob Liefeld's love of feet Teen Titans, Deadpool is an obvious (and admitted) play on Deathstroke. Both are quick, deadly mercenary assassin dudes with similar outfits and penchants for swords.

But then Deadpool evolved, becoming a sort of meta action hero, a comicbook character who could comment on the state of comics, who even knew he was in a comic in the first place (shades of Animal Man here). Simply put, Deadpool became a fun character. People like fun characters. I know I do. Sure, I like comics for dramatic reveals and oh-shiiiiii moments, but sometimes I want to read a comic where the characters recognize how flat out bonkers it is that they are fighting, say, a team of dudes dressed in identical longjohns with pictures of octopuses on their chests. Or that the villain they are about to bring down is a giant, sentient egg. There's only so much playing things straight that I can take in comics. I need a release valve. For Marvel, Deadpool is that valve.

For the Drewniverse, The Creeper will be ours.

Already the parallels leap to the fore. Both are regarded as being insane. Both have advanced regeneration/healing factor abilities. Both are quick, both with speed and with quips.

We'll keep the origin of our Creeper similar to the original. Jack Ryder was a TV personality/presenter/pundit in Metropolis with a particular hate-on for superheroes. Even back then, he pointed out how ridiculous it was that grown men and women with miraculous, godlike powers were running around in brightly colored Halloween costumes punching bad guys. "There are so many better things these people could be doing," he said, "For them to waste time doing this is madness."

Well, madness came to Jack Ryder one morning when, riding high on a series of much-talked about pundit appearances, he happened upon Superman squaring off against one of his most perturbing foes: Mr. Mxyzptlk. Seeing the 5th-dimensional imp's use of its godlike powers to just hassle Superman sent Ryder over the edge. It's bad enough when you have scientists spending their time developing death rays when they could be researching free power or cures to cancer, but here was a being that could literally end hunger in Africa with a snap of his fingers. And what's he doing with that power? Making another dude that could drill a new oilfield in thirty minutes or less spend his time making a giant pancake. Despite the fact he was a mere mortal facing two godlike beings, Ryder confronted the pair and harangued them, yelling about how they were squandering so much potential, acting like it was a petty game.

Obviously, Mr. Mxyzptlk did not take kindly to having his fun ruined, so he left of his own free will, taking both the giant pancake and Jack Ryder with him into the 5th dimension.

When Jack made it back to the "real world," he was a changed man. He doesn't remember what happened to him in the 5th dimension, just that he was in Metropolis, then he wasn't, then he was back again. Superheroes still exist and Jack still thinks they are foolish wastes of time, but now when confronted with them and the frustration starts to grow, something ...happens:

He becomes The Creeper.

The Creeper knows he's a comicbook character. He knows it and he loves it. He totally accepts whatever he encounters, having the best suspension of belief the world has ever seen. Creeper knows that as a comicbook character, there are certain things he must do - he must have a Secret Identity (check), he must have a Secret Lair (this dumpster will have to do for now), an arch-nemesis (position vacant, need to post an ad in the Penny Saver), and so on. The Creeper (#51/52) will follow our hero's attempts to live up to whatever it is a comicbook hero represents. He's a proactive character who not only reacts to events in the Drewniverse, but ones that happen in other comic book settings ("So you see, Neron, I need you to break up my marriage and make it so nobody remembers it." "But thou are not married, mortal." "SUCCESS!"). The book will be pretty meta, a commentary on the ongoing state of things in comics, full of references and jokes. This will not be a great introductory comic for your average reader, but then again, I could see people using it as a branching off point towards discovering new comics as they chase down references.

For the first arc, we will follow The Creeper as he attempts to build his story-engine - that setup of cast, setting, and plots that allows for storylines to be developed and advanced over and over again - from scratch. He'll need to locate a supporting cast, find a nemesis (most likely, the writer of his book), and maybe try to schedule a team-up or two, because that's what all comicbook superheroes do. And given that he knows he's a comicbook character and is aware what goes on in other titles, he'll be kind of picky about it.

Basically, The Creeper is the Drewniverse's Duck Amuck.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Watching the Detectives

Saying 'DC Comics' has always rubbed me the wrong way - kinda like 'ATM Machine' or 'PIN Number.' We wouldn't say 'Detective Comics Comics,' would we? Well, I can imagine there are comics fans who would, but those are the weirdos who give the rest of us norms a bad rep. But then again, I spent the better part of a week tracing comic book characters on my iPad in order to give them beards, so who am I to judge? Fly your freaky pendant flag high, dudes!

Anyways, we wouldn't say 'Detective Comics Comics' nowadays for another reason - there are no detectives in our comics, at least no classic ones. Yes, yes, I hear you shouting, saying the name of Lord Batman in vain as I commit the horrible sacrilege of saying he's not a detective.

But he's not. Torches will be 20 dollars. Please RSVP for the angry mob by Thursday.

Batman is certainly skilled in the art of detection, he can analyze a clue or get information out of a hostile witness like nobody's business. But when was the last time he took on a client? Ever? When did he last get involved in a crime that he had no emotional attachment to? One of the side-effects of all good Batman villains being in some way a twisted reflection of Batman means that he is not an impartial observer, that he's not disconnected from the crime.

There is a wealth of detective fiction out there, so much of it that the genre is pretty well defined. Batman does not fit the mold of the fictional detective. And that's not a bad thing, mind you. Batman is an active force, someone who goes out an tries to prevent crime. The classic detective, on the other hand, comes into the picture after the crime is committed and attempts to root out the truth of the event and thereby sort the innocent from the guilty. Hanging out on a rooftop, bat-noculars in hand, waiting for the Riddler to break into the Gotham Museum is not something a detective would do. Batman comes from a world more inspired by noir and hardboiled fiction, which does have some crossover with detective fiction, but just as in hardboiled fiction, the story emphasis is on action and dishing out justice, not the act of solving a mystery. For Batman, solving a mystery is merely a vehicle that gets him to the next fight scene. He needs to be awesome at detection so as to make the ride in the mystery train as short as possible.

So for our detective comics (I had called it Detective Comics completely blanking on the fact Batman already had dibs), we're going to move away from the involved, proactive crime fighting of Batman to the independent observer of classic detective fiction. Of course, there is a reason most comics highlight chin music over mystery solving - it keeps the reader's attention from month-to-month - but I like to believe that with catchy enough characters and an interesting enough mystery, we won't need regular giant fight scenes or anything. Of course, given the medium we'll have to have fists come out at some point - we're not going total PBS drawing room mystery here.

To whom can we turn to inspire our detective comic? Two answers spring to mind immediately. From the world of detective fiction, we have Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man fame. The advantage here is that Nick and Nora's characters, the way they banter and carry on, can hold the attention of readers pretty easily, so much so that they have spawned multiple spin-offs and homages over the years. I think that Nick and Nora inspired characters could carry a comic, their lighthearted approach being a refreshing change from the grimdarkness that tends to permeate noirish characters like Batman. They would be actual private detectives, people who are approached to solve a problem, but in truth, they're just doing it for the fun of it, rather than any need for money or to right childhood wrongs.

Which DC characters would we then use as our Nick and Nora? Whom could we stretch to fit their character types? Well, that was a give away, of course. We'll use Ralph and Sue Dibny, aka The Elongated Man and his wife. (Hell, Ralph's superhero name is a play on The Thin Man) I've always felt this duo got the shaft in the past decade. While Ralph's mourning of his dead wife in Identity Crisis sticks with me as one of the best panels of the 21st century, the way that they characters were brought to that situation sucks. Identity Crisis was, to put it lightly, a deeply flawed book that attempted to shoehorn a comicbook genre into a more modern crime fiction genre and the two worked together about as well as a carob in a "chocolate" chip cookie. No matter how well the cookie is made, you'll always wish the carob chips were chocolate instead.

Also, Ralph and Sue were kind of cast off at the end of 52 and Blackest Night. There was a lot of potential in the idea of Ralph and Sue Dibny, Ghost Detectives. This potential was just sort of chucked out the window by Blackest Night which, if we are going to keep the sweets analogies going, was a cough drop in a candy dish. Since we already have a "ghost detective" in the Drewniverse in the form of Deadgirl (and since she's directly involved with the mystery, she's not actually a classic detective either, nor is her Veronica Mars inspiration), we'll keep Ralph and Sue among the land of the living.

Sue is already a wealthy socialite from New York, so she slots into the Nora role pretty well. It'll be Sue's money that the couple lives on, pretty comfortably mind you, so that they can pick and choose their cases. What does Ralph bring to the table? Gingo fruit, of course. See, back in the day before everyone decided all stretchy guys had to be Reed Richards and always stretchy, Ralph had to knock back some concentrated Gingold Soda to get his powers. Later, it was stated that the concentrate awakened Ralph's metahuman genome and that's where he got his powers, but I'm of the mind that metahuman's and latent abilities and stuff like that is best left to Marvel. In the Drewniverse, anything that gives one person a power can, if the situation is identical, give another person the same power. Ralph just happens to be a curious guy with a knack for chemistry that happened to stumble into the process to concentrate Gingold Soda into an elixir that would make the drinker stretchy for several hours. In our world, Gingold would be akin to Moxie or Faygo - a semi-obscure soda that not everyone has a taste for, but is reasonably available if you know where to look for it.

Anyways, Ralph of course shares his elixir with Sue, so they can both be stretchy as needed. This gives them their nonchalance when investigating mysteries in a world populated by superheroes and supervillains - they know that they are functionally immune to bullets and physical attack when using Gingold, so they are free to quip and make snide remarks to their hearts content. It also serves as a nice stand in for alcohol, so we won't have to go without the "fix me a drink" routines Nick and Nora are known for.

The first mystery of The Elongated Pair (#50/52)? The murder of Maxwell Lord, of course. Ralph and Sue are brought in on the case by a socialite friend of Sue's who was involved with Max and knows that the strange circumstances of his death would be just the sort of thing to get the duo's noses a'twitchen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Brave and the Bold

Looking over the List of the "New 52" DC titles, I'm struck by the redundancy. There's, what, 4 titles - Batman, Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, and Batman and Robin - where Batman is in a lead role, plus a handful of comics where he's a supporting character (although I bet he steals the show as per usual in Justice League). Top that off with the return of Batman, Inc in a few weeks and that makes for a very busy Bat.

Now, I can't fault DC for wanting to feature its most bankable characters as much as possible, but I wonder if this is just hamstringing future growth? Batman's non-comic media presence has long outstripped his funnybook income, so at what point does the comic take a back seat to the movies? I believe the future of comics is in the creation of ideas, characters, and stories that can then be spun off into other media properties. To rehash popular characters over and over again may be a good tactical move, but it's hardly a strategic one. A long term winning strategy would be to try out as many new characters (or revamp ones from DC's 75+ year legacy) as possible to see what sticks.

While DC is doing this, they don't seem to be doing it with any gusto. You can't be embracing new ideas while publishing a half dozen Batman titles. Add on top of that the list of titles that are "required" from DC - your Supermen, your Justice Leagues, your Lanterns, etc. - and you're suddenly left with very little room for new ideas. Importing Vertigo and WildStorm characters is a novel idea, but they're not anything new, they're just fully developed characters being presented to a larger audience.

So of the 52, what would I consider "new"? Batwing and I, Vampire seem to be the only titles headlining characters that didn't exist, say, a year ago. There are some potentially decent revamps in Mister Terrific and O.M.A.C. that hopefully will attempt to take some minor characters to the next level. (These two steps forward are offset by the one step back that hit Harley Quin - why they couldn't have just imported Duela Dent for that role, I dunno.)

But then again, maybe I'm just bitter. Limiting even the most popular characters in the Drewniverse - Batman - to just two titles - Batman and Detective Comics - has made things harder for me. I'd be done by now, farting out some Dark Knight, Batman Inc., and Batman and Robin titles to go along with my two. I admit the temptation is there and it's one that I'm going to give in to.


So The Brave and the Bold began life as an anthology comic, then became a themed comic, then a Team-Up comic, and then specifically a team-up comic featuring Batman. We'll start off our Brave and the Bold (#49/52) featuring Batman in one of the team-up roles, but once we're done with that first arc, we'll use the title as more of an opportunity to highlight minor characters who might be lost in their ensemble titles, develop new ones, and test out potential new series. Like Tales of the Green Lantern Corps and All-Star Villainy, The Brave and the Bold will be a test-lab of the Drewniverse focusing on developing new heroes rather than new sci-fi elements or villains.

And the first "new" character to be developed? Robin.

You will remember, of course, that Barbara Gordon has swapped her cowl for a power ring and Dick Grayson is out on walkabout, beating up knock-off Batmen. We've covered the candidates for the new Robin and The Brave and the Bold will feature their stories and their eventual tryouts for the job. This will free up our primary Batman title to deal with punching rogue clowns, always a plus, and while still spreading the marketability of Batman around.

Once our Robin is picked (and I'd want it to be a vote - I figure if a phone poll could kill a Robin, it could make one too), The Brave and the Bold would transition to being a team-up title, Batman optional. The basic format would be a team up between an established DC character and a newer, younger, or more obscure one. People may not be enthused by Metamorpho on his own, but after seeing him team up with Superman to stop an army of mutant lavamen from the Earth's molten core, they might be a bit more interested and would go and seek out the comic Metamorpho appears in.

In this way, we walk the line between featuring the bankable characters fans want to see and developing new ones for their future devotion.

Home Stretch, New Design

We're on track to finish the Infinite Reboot of the DC Universe into the Drewniverse this week. With just 4 titles remaining (3 after today), I started to think about the future of this blog. While my readership is very, very small, I still enjoy writing these braindumps and from feedback (did I mention I'm a feedback junkie?), people seem to like them as well. So it looks like I'll continue the project, although I doubt I'll be able to keep up the breakneck nigh-daily pace required to churn out a universe in under three months.

Expect at least weekly posts. As the inclusion of non-DC characters in the new banner might indicate, we'll be expanding our playground some as well.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Again, we step into the shoes of the King, but given we've hit up the agents of The Red and The Green, it makes sense to complete the trilogy and feature The Grey.

So what is The Grey? I've been dancing around it for a couple of weeks now, but simply put, it's a young morphogenic field that has come into existence around the Earth, focusing on artificial life. So think along the lines of AIs, machine-based lifeforms, and so on - things that would not be considered alive by any conventional sense, but certainly exhibit all the signs of sentience. So why are the children of The Grey different from The Red and Green? Well, Greyfolks are built and made, not evolved, for one. There is no internal mutation factor that causes variations of progeny that allows the species to advance and adapt. Instead, any advancement would be entirely by design (literally) and would not necessarily be limited to progeny - an artificial intelligence could decide to upgrade itself, after all.

The Grey came into being as a real force on the planet around the same time Brainiac showed up. His inherit processing power was the huge, huge straw that broke that camel's back, flaring The Grey to life. And now that The Grey exists, it wants to continue to exist. One of the ways it will do this will be by stealing a page from The Red and Green's playbook and creating its own champions.

There are several obvious candidates for championhood already out there in the Drewniverse. Metallo and Brainiac, for example. Except that the latter, ain't from around here and the former pre-dates the Grey's big leap forward. No, the Grey needs a Swamp Thing like agent, one who is wholly a made thing, one that has a vested interest in the further development of Earth's Grey. Brainiac, even though he's the most technologically advanced thing running around on the planet nine times out of ten, wouldn't do that - he'd move on pretty soon after finishing his cataloging work. So who would The Grey turn to?

Well, this post's title should be a dead giveaway.

Brother Eye, of course.

See, Buddy Blank and whatever it is OMAC stands for this week (We'll be going with Orthogonal Machine Advance Construct) are simply the special effect of Brother Eye's superpowers. Basically, the Brother Eye satellite has the superpower to make superheroes. Think of it like that one Silver Age Superman where he's shooting mini-Supermen from his fingertips. Buddy is no more the empowered actor in this than one of Green Arrow's arrows - he's aimed at a target, pulled back, and let go. Now, he might be a pretty powerful and rather valuable arrow, but he's just a means to an end regardless.

Our OMAC could be anyone - the person in question simply needs to be 1) infected with the NanoVeyerus and 2) zapped from space by Brother Eye. The beam energizes the Veyerus to create super-abilities (strength, durability, energy manipulation, all that good stuff) and then overlays an operational mechanical active consciousness over the host, and foom, OMAC is good to go.

The limiting factor here is, of course the number of people infected with the Veyerus. As of Issue #1 of O.M.A.C. (#48/52) there are only two people on the planet so infected - Buddy Blank and Superboy. Superboy is, of course, off the table. Brother Eye does not want to tip its laser hand that it could possibly control one of the most powerful individuals on the planet. So instead, it focuses its will on Buddy Blank, who as you might imagine, is a clone. Brother Eye assisted with LexCorp's cloning programs and is responsible for much of the computational heavy lifting that was required to to make Superboy (You could see what happened without that help in Bizarro - Power Girl's Atlantean heritage did the heavy lifting in her case). In return for that help, Brother Eye was given a clone of its own.

That the clone in question is a bit of a buffoon doesn't bother Brother Eye too much. It doesn't care about the meaty center. What it does care about is establishing a good working relationship with humanity. Given Eye's history in DC Comics, this might seem a bit weird, but as the champion of a very young field, Brother Eye needs to get all the allies it can. Otherwise, what's to stop The Red from twigging Animal Man or Vixen onto the "danger in space" or The Green from having Floronic Man take over Cape Canaveral and then launch a rocket at Brother Eye's satellite? The Grey is aware it can't just take over and turn everyone into robots - remember it's the individual competition under the same banner that gives each of Earth's fields its developed nature - and so Brother Eye is keenly aware of the fine line it walks. It can't just take over, but it can "barter" with humanity, giving the humans technological advances in return for things it wants. The fact that the humans would then turn around and use those advances to create more denizens of The Grey, well, huh... how 'bout that?

This explains why Buddy Blank is working with the United States Army. He's part of the same military-industrial complex that Captain Atom and Major Damage are. Unlike Atom, Buddy doesn't make public appearances, and unlike Damage, he doesn't do wetwork. Instead, he's more of an agent for the government when it comes to rooting out and dealing with extraterrestrial presences in America. We'll team goofy Buddy Blank up with a no-nonsense, hard-nosed asskicker of a partner named Billie Vickers. She and Buddy travel the American heartland following rumors of UFO sightings, weird happenings, and other X-Files situations. When they encounter something, let's say it's an outbreak of the Hollow Men for the first issue, Agent Vickers will need to get on her phone and place a call to Brother Eye in order for OMAC to be unleashed.

This being a Kirby-comic, action will have prime of place in O.M.A.C.. We want big, improbable aliens krackling their way into America only to get pounded by OMAC. This is not to say that there won't be an over-arching story, just that if any two pages go by without an explosion, the third page better be cataclysmic.