Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Kamandi Challenge #1 Review

Command D

Written by: Dan Didio and Dan Abnett
Art by: Dale Eaglesham, Scott Koblish and Keith Giffen
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 25, 2017

I will not lie, I am not a Kamandi fan.  I'm not a hater either, I just don't care for the character at all. That's actually the main reason why I wanted to review this book.  I want to become a Kamandi fan.  Maybe then I'll get invited to all those fancy parties that Reggie and Chris throw.  You know the ones, where everyone is talking about comics while drinking  pinky up.  I'm getting ahead of myself, though, and I have to first see if I like what we get here.  Well, did I?  Let's find out...

The issue starts with a very ambiguous time and place and a cold open of a young man waking up late for school.  It gets very meta right away and before we know it, the whole world is turned upside down.  Characters (including Jack Kirby) turn out to be androids and the world is invaded and torn apart.  Things get crazier when our hero's grandmother (also an android) tells him to look for his parents and shoves him in a teleporter.  He wakes up a prisoner, is given the name Kamandi and then fights a giant gorilla named Tiny.

That was the Dan Didio and Keith Giffen beginning to the Kamandi Challenge and I was confused and intrigued.  I liked Giffen's art and the concept of another creative team picking up the story and going with it.  Luckily for me, we get the continuation right here in this oversized first issue as Dan Abnett and Dale Eaglesham take on the story next.

We pick up where we left off and I loved the fight between Kamandi and Tiny, but also loved seeing Prince Tuftan in the house.  While I wanted them to become fast friends, Abnett goes the route of Kamandi impressing Tuftan in the fight and gaining the Prince's favor.  For the record, Abnett won my eternal gratitude with a great Bloodsport reference!

The rest of the issue plays off the idea that Kamandi is the animal and if you need another reference to nail down the idea, it's Planet of the Apes.  Everything is interrupted when King Caesar returns with the spoils of atomic warhead!  The Wildlanders don't have any idea what they have, but Kamandi does find out they are still stockpiling weapons.  The issue ends with Kamandi having five minutes to save a world that doesn't even like him.

I can't say I am fully on the Kamandi trolley, but I can say that I didn't hate this first issue.  It looked great and the art of Giffen and Eaglesham both fit their stories so well.  The writing was good and it was cool to see Abnet pick where Didio left, but the best part in my opinion was the back where we got a letters page from Dan Didio.  It's here where Didio explains where he would have gone with the story and it's difference with what Abnett actually did.  It ends with Didio saying this will continue with each author and I'm glad.

Bits and Pieces:

While I don't think this is going to win any new Kamandi fans, it was a fun enough issue that has a cool carryover concept.  The art was great between the two stories and it did make me happy seeing both creative teams working on something they seem to really care about.  It's hard to recommend this book to people, but if you like books that are a little left from normal, give it a shot.


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