Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Kamandi Challenge #2

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The Kamandi Challenge is a twelve part round-robin storytelling competition, with each issue being done by a different creative team. The project is to honor Jack "The King" Kirby, creator of many of Marvel and DC's properties, by resurrecting a fan favorite character of his- Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Kamandi was a series that ran in the 70's and was a post- apocalyptic tale of a boy who made his way though a rugged wasteland after some Great Disaster. The world at this time has changed, with talking animals and only scattered pockets of humanity left. Humans have mostly reverted to savagery, with the more advanced animals treating them as little more than beasts.

The point of the Challenge was to tell a twelve part story with each installment written and drawn by a different creative team. Each story ends on a cliffhanger, with the next installment's creative team tasked with continuing the story, and by turn handing it off to the next team. I love the idea of this, and even though I've never read the original series I was intrigued and wanted to check it out. And the creative teams are a who's who of comic creators too, so added bonus.

So... let's take a trip into the apocalypse with the Kamandi Challenge.

Issue #2

Written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Neal Adams.

First of all I was excited to see comics legend Neal Adams doing the artwork for issue #2. We pick up right where issue #1 left off, with King Caesar of the Tiger people about to set off a nuclear warhead, like the idiot that he apparently is. Kamandi tries to warn him but gets slapped down, so he makes a break for it (sorry dude but you probably can't outrun a nuclear explosion- still, I'm sure I'd run too), but he doesn't get very far before being recaptured by his previous captor, Prince Tuftan. It doesn't look good for Kamandi, who laments that he's never going to kiss a girl, but when the countdown hits zero there's no explosion. Instead a great ape leaps out of the missile and starts killing tigers. A Trojan horse- the apes are striking the tigers unawares!

Kamandi seizes the opportunity to break free and manages to snag a bolo net gun. He also makes the acquaintance of a bird- like creature that guards the Museum of War, where the tigers are storing all the weapons they find. Kamandi finds himself in a forbidden area, where he unearths a weird chair that is apparently a teleportation device? He activates it- somehow- and transports himself, along with Dr. Canus and Tuftan, somewhere else. He and his animal companions have no idea where they are, until the nonhumans realize they are on the border of the Wild Human Reserve. Whatever that is.

Unfortunately they are confronted by two robots called Manhunters, and the two animals are quickly zapped. Kamandi's not going without a fight, though, and after being disarmed he throws himself off a cliff rather than be taken. Does he fall to his doom? Well, we'll have to find out next issue!

So this one wasn't too bad, although it didn't quite the match the first one for me. Obviously with a different team every issue the quality level is going to vary wildly, but I love the idea (and zaniness) of this and will definitely keep reading. And it's always a treat to see Neal Adams doing comics. 


  1. Oh! This sounds like an interesting project. I'm not sure I'd like it; I prefer when comic series have the same style, but I definitely want to check it out!

  2. It's a cool idea, and I love the artwork. Plus any story with talking animals gets my vote😁

  3. That's such a unique comic book idea. I'm excited to see the various styles that people use and how it all comes together!

  4. I laughed out loud at the ape twist. And ha, a wild human reserve! I love it. This does seem really zany and fun!