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Wednesday, April 04, 2012 

Max Lord is still a villain

USA Today wrote about the soon to end OMAC series, and what does it say about the state of Max Lord?
O.M.A.C. issue 8 is the culmination of the battle between all-seeing super-computer Brother Eye and Max Lord, the malevolent head of Checkmate — with college kid Kevin Kho and his souped-up, mohawked, villain-clobberin', blue alter-ego O.M.A.C. caught in the middle — as seen from Kevin's point of view.
So Lord is still transformed into a cardboard villain, and the most embarrassing part is that Keith Giffen, who'd introduced him as a co-star in the Justice League titled of the late 80s, was willing to depict him that way.
The creators also are bringing back characters seen in the previous seven issues for "a nice rousing farewell," says, joking that "Everybody dies!"

Giffen promises that's not the case.

"O.M.A.C.'s not about death," the artist says. "Death has become cheap in comics lately. O.M.A.C. is about celebrating life in a real big bombastic, vibrant way. Just killing a character because it's the last issue, that's ridiculous."
Even if they don't kill a character, turning one into a cheap villain is what ruins everything here. The really odd thing is that Giffen acknowledges a major complaint we've all had for a decade now:
"It doesn't always have to be doom and gloom and grim and gritty," Giffen says. "You're not writing a screenplay, you're not writing a novel — you're writing a comic book. And there's nothing wrong with that."
But if Max Lord is still being depicted even remotely as the kind of villain he was turned into almost 7 years ago in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, then that only scuttles the argument he's bringing up here.
They were floored by positive reviews, but O.M.A.C. just never had the sales numbers it needed to keep going. Giffen sums it up in cinematic terms: "We were the Merchant Ivory comic book — the critics love us but no one's going to see us."
And that's probably because Dan DiDio is involved in this as well. So long as he's lurking in the background, and everyone knows what kind of selective approach he'll set up, they won't have any faith, even in Giffen. Most strange is when the following comes up:
One fact of life about introducing 52 books simultaneously is that some will succeed and others will fail, DiDio says. And O.M.A.C. always has been an underdog franchise — the first Kirby series in 1974 also was eight issues, and it was followed by a four- and another eight-issue miniseries .

"We knew we had an uphill battle right from the start, but hell, that's what made it the most fun. Those are the books I'd rather work on, DiDio says.

There's a great amount of freedom in doing a comic like that, Giffen adds. "We couldn't have gotten away with half of what we got away with in O.M.A.C. in Superman. It's just this unfettered creativity.

"This is the stuff I love best. You're always going to have your Supermans, Batmans, Wonder Womans and Green Lanterns, but these are the corners that I think enrich the entire comics line and make comics fun."
If what they're claiming is that their take on OMAC was fun, which the forced villainous characterization of Max Lord can easily contradict, and that it supposedly couldn't be done in Superman, that has to be the most intellect-insulting claim I've ever heard. Just what is wrong today with featuring a fun approach in the Man of Steel that isn't so wrong with doing it in the OMAC take they say they've done it in? The only reason why it couldn't is because they don't want it to. Apparently, first-tier heroes seem to be the first in line for selective editorial mandates, and second/third-tiers are not immune to this problem either.

And the real reason why this version of OMAC may not have done well, DiDio's involvement aside, is because they haven't a clue how to market and promote any of the lesser-known characters and series. If they wanted to, they could think of something, which years ago would have been to start with miniseries and then see if they could build up to the potential for an ongoing series. But today, that idea's been largely canned, and an ongoing series is what they opt for immediately, regardless of whether there's a worthy audience in store or not.

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