KAMANDI CHALLENGE #5

“Sub Tropical Thunder”
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Ivan Reis

Kamandi and Vila are on a machine being hunted by the Kanga Rat Murder Society. Vila has an idea to save them. She drives the machine over a cliff and wraps her body around Kamandi. They both survive the fall and now Vila has formed herself into a raft. They both go to sleep as a ship comes on them. Kamandi awakes to find he was rescued by Babal Crow a dog-man and his ship the SS Typhoon. Unfortunately Babel thought Vila was a bunch of twigs and left her behind. Kamandi has to work for his passage and gets dropped off when they reach land.

Kamandi meets a famous passenger named Raja Maccao. A tiger-man who was a world famous wrestler and now a famous detective. He agrees to let Kamandi tag along on his next assignment. Along the way they are ambushed by raiders called the Bintur Horde who ride giant owls. Raja escapes by jumping into a river but Kamandi is captured. He is sold to a crazy racoon doctor that wants to harvest his organs. Dr. Vokolo has this three-D printer and he needs templates to store in it’s system. Raja manages to escape the giant fish that tried to eat him in the river and track down Kamandi. When he gets there he finds that Dr. Vokolo has already removed Kamandi’s organs.

I got to hand it to this writer. He really left the next writer a challenge. I found this story very fast paced and interesting. The characters were just all wonderful and the artwork did it justice. I loved this new character Raja Maccao. A tough old tiger who is gregarious and has this outgoing personality. I was sorry to see them get rid of Vila but hopefully she will return. The writer for the last issue didn’t give us how he would have got Kamandi out of the cliffhanger from last issue.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #4

“The Wild Wondrous West”
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Carlos D’Anda

Kamandi and Vila are about to be sacrificed to the giant jaguar god. Kamandi gets out of it’s hand and stabs it with his knife with little effect. He gets scooped up into the mouth and wakes up with two jaguar-men looking at him. The two are Professor Cano and his assistant R’Lash. The giant jaguar then eats Vila who falls in with her leg and arm gone. Luckily she can grow them back. Cano found machinery abandoned in the jungle and build the giant robot to control the primitive jaguar people.

Kamandi wants to leave but Cano insists on keeping him and Vila for study. Kamandi draws a pistol and shoots out the console screen. Then he scoops up Vila and goes out the mouth. A jet is hanging like a necklace on the robot jaguar. Kamandi manages to get it started and takes off. The jet knocks off the head and Cano and R’Lash must face the jaguar tribe. The jet crashes in the desert and Kamandi and Vila are captured by Kangaroo-men. They are given weapons and a vehicle to have a fighting chance against the Kanga Rat Murder Society.

I vaguely remember the Kanga Rat Murder Society. So this writer brings back an old enemy from the original series. I loved this issue where Kamandi finds a giant jaguar robot run by a mad scientist. This was something that the original series would have had. Vila continues to be a strong companion for Kamandi. The writer from the last issue would have had Kamandi jump in the jet necklace and take off. The jet would burn the giant jaguar and he would run off in pain. Another enjoyable issue.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #3

“Bug in your Ear”
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner

Kamandi has fallen off a cliff. Luckily a ship is sailing by and notices. The captain a turtle sends some bat-men to rescue Kamandi. Later Kamandi wakes in a dark room. A pod gives birth to a plant woman named Vila. She claims to be Kamandi’s. The turtle captain Fritz of the God Watchers believe that Kamandi is a messenger from the gods. They have a photo of him as a kid that fell from the sky to prove it.

Kamandi later talks to the captive bat people and finds out that Captain Fritz is not a very nice guy. At the dinner he finds out they create plant people so they can eat them. Kamandi refuses to eat Vina and storms off. He tries to convince them that he is not a god. As he does this the bat-people attack. The captive bat-people help Kamandi and Vina escape since being captive they are considered tainted. They fly to the Sun Cult island and are quickly captured by the Jaguars. The Jaguar-men eat the bat-people and tie Kamandi and Vina to a flaming alter. A giant Jaguar comes and announces Dinner!

This writer did a great job of getting Kamandi out of his cliffhanger. He put him with some really crazy animal type peoples. It has the feel of a Jack Kirby story. Vina the plant girl is a lovable companion for Kamandi. She is innocent and beautiful. Ends with a King Kong type story. Oh and the last writer just coped out in how he would have got Kamandi out of his fall. He would have left him to die. Glad he didn’t continue the story.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #2

“Nuclear Roar!”
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Neal Adams

Caesar the ruler of the tigers has set off a nuclear missile. Kamandi tries to disarm it but gets restrained. Luckily the missile was not armed. Instead giant gorillas were using it as a Trojan Horse. In the fighting Kamandi escapes to the Museum of War. A fight with the jackdaw guard uncovers some sort of high tech chair. Dr. Canus and Tuftan arrive and try to stop Kamandi but once he gets in the chair it transports them somewhere else. The three find they are now in the ruins of San Diego. Canus and Tuftan say they are now at the Wild Human Reserve. Before Kamandi can ask a question two giant humanoids knock out his companions. Claiming to be Manhunters they come for Kamandi. Kamandi decides to jump off the edge of a cliff rather that be captured.

That was a wild story. So now Kamandi has been transported all the way across the country to California. A place where there is a Wild Human Reserve. This is something that intrigues Kamandi and panics Canus and Tuftan. Also some mysterious giants are after Kamandi and another ending. Once again a fast paced story with a tribute to the old characters from the original series.

So Dan Abnett the last writer would have had Kamandi escape the explosion of the nuke by stealing an old airplane from the Museum of War. Dr. Canus would have come along and the nuke would explode. An interesting idea. He apparently like Tomasi had the Museum of War in mind to help Kamandi escape. Yet he also envisioned destroying the Tigers. I love the idea of getting two endings for the price of one.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1

“The Rules”
Writer: Dan DiDio
Artists: Keith Giggne and Scott Koblish

A young boy gets up late for school and runs out trying to catch the bus. Suddenly the sky reveals itself to be a dome with a phony sky. The people of the city are robots who try to fight off the rat-men that are attacking. The boy runs to his grandmother who puts him in a chamber to escape. She says that he has to find his parents and remember Command D. The boy wakes up and finds himself a prisoner to tiger-men. Because he was mumbling about Command D they name him Kamandi. He gets thrown into a gladiator arena to face a giant ape named Tiny.

“K…is for “Kill”!”
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Dale Eaglesham

Kamandi fights the giant ape Tiny by first gouging out his eye. Then he lures the ape to the electrified wall and wins. Prince Tuftan thinks this human has great potential to be a gladiator so takes him to Dr. Canus to train. Canus is surprised that Kamandi can speak and reason. He takes him to the parade and explains the Tiger empire and how it’s empire Caesar is waging a war of conquest. He witnesses a triumphal parade with captive leopard-men. He escapes to the museum of war and fights it’s guards who are flying jackdaws. Canus rescues him and takes him back to the parade. Caesar has a nuclear missile who he thinks is a god and makes his scientists make it speak. A countdown sequence starts.

So for the hundredth birthday of Jack Kirby they decided to revive one of his greatest creations. I loved the old Kamandi book from the seventies. A series inspired by Planet of the Apes and about a talking human trapped in a world of anthropomorphic animals. So the premise for this series is each issue a new writer and artist will pick up where the last team left off. The issue is to end in a cliffhanger naturally. Also the letter page has the last writer give his version to resolve the cliffhanger. So the writer in the introduction tells how Kamandi is thrown into the stands by Tiny and makes friends with Tuftan.

So far a great start. There were many old characters from the original series. I am looking forward to see what new lands and adventures that Kamandi will have.

ATARI FORCE SPECIAL #1

“Codename: Dart A Mercenary’s Story”
Writer: Paul Kupperburg
Artist: Marshall Rogers

Dart is sixteen and sent to a girls military academy. She and her roommate Dalia are bullied by some of the girls. One day the bullies attack the girls and in the struggle one bully gets knocked over a ledge. Dart and Dalia flee to Dart’s parents. There an Atari security man named Hunter is waiting. He offers the two girls a way out of their predicament. Go to the planet Sangfroid and a man named Drago will take them in. They arrive and find out Drago runs a mercenary group. The two girls learn skills and get assigned to Kolb.

Kolb is a planet inhabited by little green fat people. Rebels have hired mercenaries and Dart and Dalia are to lead the defense of the palace. During the night they are attacked and Dalia is killed. Dart comes on a surviving mercenary and because of a vision doesn’t kill him. Instead she hits his eye. The man named Blackjack was also part of Drago’s mercenary group. Drago was sending mercs to both sides. So Dart and Blackjack go and take their revenge on Drago.

“The Adventures of Hukka Food for Thought!”
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Tristan Shane

Hukka is lost and hungry. He gets help from some friendly red aliens that feed him. He later finds out they were fattening him for a feast and takes off.

“Second Skin!”
Writer: Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Artist: James Fry

Babe is shedding and rubs his back against the life support system. This gunks up the system with shards of his rock hide. Scanner One is forced to land on a planet destroyed by nuclear war. They find a butte that is free of radiation so they land to make repairs. The ground collapses under Babe and Dart leads a rescue to the underground cavern. There they reactivate killer robots and a doomsday bomb. They manage to fight their way back to the ship and leave before the planet is destroyed.

A year after this title was cancelled they decided to release this special. They had some leftover backup stories to they combined them into a big special issue. Two of the three stories were really good. The first gives us an origin of how Dart became a mercenary and how she met Blackjack. This was a really good story and fills in some unknown background on Dart.

The second really didn’t make much sense to me. The third was a fun story. Babe sheds his hide and leave around gems which Pakrat thinks will make him rich. Only at the end they turn to dust. A fun story filled with action and humor.

ATARI FORCE #20

“Trial…and Verdict!”
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Ed Barreto

Commander Martin champion, his son Tempest and Dart are on trail. The judges seem skeptical of his claim of the Dark Destroyer. In the case of Senator Jamieson he is downright hostile. Morphea manages to use her psychic abilities to recreate an image of the Dark Destroyer from the mind of Kargg. This seems to get some of the judges to acknowledge the possibility of the Dark Destroyer. Yet meanwhile the Tazlings have freed Pakrat from his cell and have build a mysterious contraption. They then manage to slip a key to Tempest. Tempest manages to free his cuff and use his phase power to free Martin and Dart. Morphea uses her psychic abilities to disable the guards so they can escape. The Tazlings have build an interdimensional shuttle and Martin takes the crew to New Earth to start a new research institute dedicated to peace.

“Hukka Vs. The Bob!”
Writers: Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming
Artist: Keith Giffen

Young Chris Champion gets Hukka a present. It is Bob a personal robot assistant. Hukka doesn’t really care for Bob so he tries to flush him down the toilet. This angers Bob who goes after Hukka. Hukka manages to break Bob’s antenna. Still when Chris finds out he tells Hukka not to worry for there are spare antennas.

So as the title says this is the last issue. Apparently they knew of this for some time but decided to keep it a secret to the end. The reason they gave was they just ran out of story ideas. That was too bad. I really enjoyed this series. I think it is an underrated series that had many potential story possibilities. They did leave the end open ended. The entire crew was alive and still together. I was hoping Dynamite would maybe revive this title now that they had rights to Atari. I guess there attempts at Atari stories didn’t sell well because they seem to have abandoned their plans for future series. So I guess there is no story of how their trip went with Old Earth. Yet who knows. Maybe someday.

ATARI FORCE #19

“Homecoming!”
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Ed Bareto

Scanner One has made it to New Earth. They decide to land on the surface instead of dock at the space station. So they pick an isolated piece of desert. Only this piece of desert has a new Atari Force automated weapons system called Warmech. It shoots at Scanner One and forces it to land. The crew get out and enjoy their freedom. Suddenly a giant mech scorpion attacks them. It destroys Scanner One. Tempest tries to use his phase power but it is shielded from phasing ability. Kargg and Blackjack work together to get a grenade into the automated scorpion and destroy it. Than Hunter with his security forces arrives to arrest the crew. Martin, Dart and Tempest are put on trial. Pakrat is captured to be turned over to his brother. The others are let go since they have done nothing against the law.

“Taz”
Writer: Ed Hannigan
Artist: Bill Wray

Taz and her mate are fighting some aliens. A fighter strafes them and kills Taz’s mate. She manages to shoot it down and a survivor confronts her. Only the fighting has opened the ground up and both fall into an underground cavern. They have to join forces to fight off some giant creature and climb out of the cavern. On the surface Taz than shoots the alien for revenge. The end has the moral hang on to your gun.

Atari force manages to return to New Earth. They know that they face arrest but get the surprise of discovering a secret Atari weapons development. Apparently Atari has started developing weapons for sale. So now there is a big trial for the humans. A good solid story. The crew seems to work well together especially the new ones of Kargg and Blackjack. Pakrat is good for some comic relief. Finally the Tazlings are stealing equipment from Martin’s old research station so something is going on there. Sets it up for the big trial finale.

The backup story was a fun one. Spotlights Taz and her background. A cool little moral for this story. I have to agree. You should always hang on to your gun. Never know when you might need it.

ATARI FORCE #18

“Tempest Tossed!”
Writer: Mike Baron
Artist: Eduardo Barreto

Tempest held prisoner at Atari HQ manages to get some of his phasing power back. Enough to disable the device that was suppressing it. Than he is able to phase out and return to Scanner One. Only the multi-verse is now different and the finds himself in some strange universes. He manages to make contact with Dart telepathically and concentrating on her, he manages to make it back.

The crew of Scanner One now has to make some choices on getting back to New Earth. The food is running out. Dart had a vision that Blackjack with two good eyes would drive Scanner One back to Atari HQ. So Martin decides to give him a chance. Blackjack’s new eye helps him but the destroyed universe next to their universe is upsetting his new eye. So the Tazlings install his old eye and that helps Blackjack navigate home.

“A Boy and his Hukka”
Writer: Dave Manak
Artist: Marshall Rogers

Chris Champion a.k.a. Tempest is a young boy on New Earth. He goes to the toy store in the mall for the new toy X-V Bots. He also takes along Hukka. Hukka strays while in the store and Chris leaves without him. The store closes and Hukka has to fight off the guard dog. Chris notices that Hukka is missing and goes back. He phases through the window and rescues Hukka from the dog. Only now the security guard finds him and plans to call his dad.

So Tempest manages to escape from Atari. He finds his way back and using what he discovered the crew can plot their way home. Martin still doesn’t trust Blackjack although he does warm up to Kargg who now is free of the Dark Destroyer’s influence. Also we find out the next universe over was the one destroyed by the anti-matter bomb. Not sure how that came about but maybe will be revealed soon.

The backup story was a good one. We get to see Tempest as a kid and a glimpse into the society of New Earth.

Oh and I got a notification of my 6 year anniversary on WordPress. Can believe how long I’ve been doing this.

ATARI FORCE #17

“If Thine Eye Offend Thee…”
Writer: Mike Barron
Artist: Ed Barreto

The Tazlings have managed to fix Blackjack’s eye. They also pulled out the thing that was keeping Blackjack under the control of the Dark Destroyer. So now he is apparently healed. Dart manages to make contact with Tempest who is a prisoner on New Earth. The Tazlings have managed to fix the ship up but they also eat a lot and soon Scanner One will run out of food. Morphea than starts to psychically scan Kargg. She finds out he is from a primitive world and the Dark Destroyer also left a part of him in his mind. She battles this and frees Kargg of the Dark Destroyer’s influence.

“Rats Like Us!”
Writer: Andy Helfer
Artist: Mike Chen

Pakrat has been captured by his brother Rident. He takes Pakrat to the spaceport to have him brought back to New Earth for trial. At the port Pakrat gets Ferra to plant the stolen necklace on Rident so when he goes through the scanner it is discovered. Rident is arrested as Pakrat and Ferra continue on the New Earth to steal some more stuff.

So this issue was a subdued one. The crew tries to figure out how to get back to New Earth now that they know it wasn’t destroyed. Blackjack and Kargg are both freed from the influence of the Dark Destroyer. Otherwise a very uneventful issue.

The Pakrat backup comes to an end. It was actually the more exciting of the two stories. Pakrat cleverly convinces his girlfriend to help him escape his brother. A humorous story that gives us some history on the character and his brother.