Somewhere out there, the ghost of Jack Kirby is happy, because last night's return of Batman: The Brave and The Bold gave his OMAC character the best treatment he's had in 30+ years. Shame the episode was still pretty dull.

OMAC is one of those characters that has a great concept that almost no-one has been able to do anything with: Basically, he's a nobody who gets retrofitted without his knowledge or consent to become the ultimate soldier, One Man Army Corps (or OMAC, for short). After years of attempts to update the character, work the character into regular superhero universe continuity and just generally redo the concept altogether, the comic version of the character seems pretty broken, but the Brave and Bold version managed to get everything right by... well, playing it relatively straight.


"When OMAC Attacks" wasn't the show's best episode, nor an obvious choice to bring the show back after its summer break - Both of those would be next week's musical episode - but it was entertaining enough, even for non-Kirby enthusiasts (Kirby fans like me would've spent the episode going "Is that really Kafka from the comic? Seriously? Awesome!"); using OMAC as an illustration of classic cartoon moral "Sometimes, it's better not to fight" was a smart move, balanced by the use of alter ego Buddy Blank as last-minute coward-made-good, saving Batman from mysterious villain Equinox. Where it fell down was a lack of the self-aware, more-than-a-little-goofy humor that's often the show's best quality... In fact, if anything, the episode seemed too sincere and straightforward. But perhaps that's because next week used up all the crazy pills.

In the end, it was nice to see the show back, and that goodwill alone was enough to make what was really a middling episode seem better than it actually was. But, having seen next week's "Mayhem of the Music Meister!," I know that much, much better things are around the corner. Better luck next time, then.