KAMANDI CHALLENGE #9

“Ain’t It a Drag?”
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Kevin Eastman & Freddie Williams

Kamandi wakes up on a table. He is with other anthropomorphic people. They like Kamandi were all swallowed by the sea monster from last issue. Every day a robot comes in and drags one of the prisoners off. Kamandi always tries to fight the robot but gets his ass kicked. As the very long period goes on, we get to see the various personalities of his fellow prisoners. Finally on day 237 Kamandi is the last occupant of the cell. The robot comes and easily knocks him out and drags him out the door to an unknown fate.

This has to unfortunately be the first of this series that I didn’t care for. First is the story which just dragged on and on. It’s just Kamandi always attacking this robot and getting his ass kicked. Than one of the other prisoners gets meekly dragged away. Something that really didn’t need a whole issue to tell. The other thing I didn’t care for was the art. I’m not very picky about art but this was a let down. It was done in black & white which can be quite beautiful if properly done. This style was very sketchy and murky. So a combination of poor writing and not really good art doomed this issue.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #8

“Not Quite the Odyssey”
Writer: Keith Griffin
Artist: Steve Rude

Kamandi has been bitten by a Polar Parasite while flying in a hang glider over the sea. He manages to make it to shore where he tears off the parasite and smashes it to death. While on the beach some goat-men come. They claim his is Odysseus come back to smite their enemies. Their enemies a wolf-people come and try to take Kamandi claiming he is Ulysses. The goat-men manage to take Kamandi to their city. There he finds out the two people are fighting over their worship of the Iliad and Odyssey. The goat-men claim that gods name is Odysseus while the wolves Ulysses. Both groups come together in a great sea battle that destroys both fleets. Kamandi manages to escape in a small boat and is confronted by a giant sea monster.

Well this issue was a fun one. I love to see a writer with a classical education. Using the ancient Greek stories of the Iliad and Odyssey was a very inspired idea. To have the two groups fight over the name which I have to admit I have heard both used. It actually inspired me to look it up. One name is Greek and the other Latin. Otherwise it’s the same character. A comic that inspires learning. Kamandi in this thinks that both sides are completely nuts and just wants to continue his search for his parents. Ends on another cool cliffhanger which I can’t wait to find out how he gets out.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #7

“Salvage”
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Dan Jurgens

Kamandi has been thrown into the atomic reactor of Mishkingrad. Luckily he grabbed hold of the Cortex Crown. He uses it to transport him away and to his captive friend Renzi. He finds some dog-women taking his friend. They also grab him and put him in a sack. They then escape the city on hang gliders. Later Kamandi is freed and finds his friend all chums with the dog-women. The dog-women are The Bulldog Britanneks and they are on a dirigible called The Damnable Dirigible Doghouse. Kamandi finds out his mother build the dirigible and is now somewhere to the south.

A missile comes out of nowhere and destroys the dirigible. The Britanneks have parachutes and manage to grab Kamandi. They land in forbidden territory called The Wasteland. An ice wizard has control of giant polar parasites that take over some of the Britanneks. Kamandi uses the wreckage of the dirigible and the Cortex Crown to fashion a strange walking machine. He squashes the polar parasites and rescues the captive Britanneks. The Britanneks build a hot air balloon to go home. Kamandi goes south on a hang glider to find his mother. A parasite has managed to sneak into his pouch and comes out and bites Kamandi.

Another old group from the original series in the Bulldog Britanniks makes an appearance. Only the leader is a bulldog and they are a different group than what Kirby originally created. They had to have a scene where the dogs were playing poker. So the last writer would have used the Cortex Crown to just have Kamandi go through the reactor safely. We find out Kamandi’s mother is still alive and he is getting close. I also thought the cliffhanger was another original idea. So will be interesting how the next writer gets him out of this.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #6

“The Insides-Out Adventure”
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Philip Tan

Mack has found Kamandi. Only Dr. Vokolo has taken out all of Kamandi’s organs. Mack shoots Vokolo in the gut. Mack did this so Vokolo would be motivated to find a cure since both him and Kamandi are dying. He does come up with something from his 3-D printer. A race called the Priests of the Southern Sea are immortal and using their genes could save both of them. Only it is too late for Vokolo and he dies. Mack is able to synthesize a gene that regenerates Kamandi.

Kamandi gets better and Mack contacts a friend called Renzi. Renzi is a human but has a cyclo-heart which powers him. In a balloon the two go to the north to continue the search for Kamandi’s father. They get shot down and taken prisoner by some bear people. The bears are part of Miskingrad God Commune of the Bears. The leader is Groznovo the Alpha of Alphas. Groznovo is linked in to his people and must do everything that the majority votes on. His talk with Kamandi convinces him that he would like to be free. Yet he betrays Kamandi while they try to escape and rescue Renzi. Renzi’s cyclo-heart is used to power Miskingrad. The city gets up and forms a giant walking bear. At the end Kamandi is thrown into the furnace of the city.

The last cliffhanger was a tough one. I thing Orlando did an excellent job of coming up with a solution. I loved this Mack character. He really knows how to cut through the bull and save Kamandi. So we also are introduced to another character in the original series in Renzi. The bear people and their neo-Communist system are a very Kirbyesque type of people. I found the whole idea of this one guy being linked in to everyone and having to carry out their will as a unique idea. The only real complaint is he ended it with another Kamandi falling to his death. Not a real unique one as we’ve had several so far.

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.