Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Kamandi Challenge #8 Review and **SPOILERS**


A Cult in Sheep’s Clothing

Writer: Keith Giffen 
Artist: Steve “The Dude” Rude 
Color: John Kalisz 
Lettering: Clem Robins 
Main Cover: Lee, Williams, Sinclair 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: August 23, 2017


It’s Reggie Month in this twelve-part series known as the Kamandi Challenge, and I couldn’t be gladder about it. Ambush Bug creator and Kirby-phile Keith Giffen? Creator of Nexus, Steve Rude? This should be fun. This has been a pretty cool series so far, with one or two missteps, and I’m looking forward to jumping into my review of The Kamandi Challenge #8! Jump with me!

Explain It!

I’m gonna let you guys in on a little secret: that connective “story” that Jim keeps talking about, Kamandi looking for his parents or whatever…I don’t think it’s a real thing. Or rather it will be up to the creative team for December’s issue as to whether or not there’s a story here. I don’t think this will wrap up into some neatly-told epic Kamandi yarn, however, because it’s not a story, it’s a challenge. It’s more a creative exercise, some artistic process that we can peek in on at four bucks a clip. And for a fan of the weirder side of comics like myself, it’s been pretty enjoyable. I can honestly say I would have bought this series, even if I wasn’t reviewing it. And I’ll likely get the trade collection, even though it won’t read evenly.
Picking up from last issue’s cliffhanger, Kamandi is hang gliding towards certain death while a mechanical parasite works itself into his brain stem. Between the legs of a colossal statue standing at the shore, he splashes down and then thrashes the paradise to bits, summarily dispensing with that bit a little conveniently. Too conveniently, if you ask me, particularly since we know the parasites were able to control minds at first bite in issue #7. And it’s not like we should be in a rush to get to this rather sluggish story where a pack of anthropomorphic sheep think he’s a savior named Odysseus, while a gaggle of anthropomorphic wolves think he’s a savior named Ulysses, and they duke it out. There’s a pretty cool overview of the original Kamandi series, and the art style is very faithful to broad strokes of Jack Kirby’s. But I really felt like I was slogging through this issue. In the end, he’s adrift on a plank of wood, about to be devoured by a sea serpent, which I suppose is a good enough set-up for the next contestants in this crazy Kamandi year.
While I found this issue boring, I have to confess that it was a good impersonation of the worst, most wandering aspects of Jack Kirby’s storytelling. There’s more than one Bronze Age issue of Jimmy Olsen that has three to four pages of people running around, yelling at each other. The art is really spectacular, and could be considered worth the four bucks all by itself. You can decide that just looking at the preview pages, but if you’re looking for a fun, lively story, then you should save your money for…oh, I dunno. The Explorers or something.

Bits and Pieces:

A fairly disappointing contribution to the Kamandi Challenge, saved primarily by some spot-on artwork courtesy of Steve Rude. If you've followed the series to this, the last quarter, then I don't see why you'd bother stopping now. Here's a case where the next issue wiping away the prior is a good thing.


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