Review: "The Kamandi Challenge" Dares You to Hate It
THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1 (OF 12) - An I Reads You Review


STORY: Dan Didio; Dan Abnett

PENCILS: Keith Giffen; Dale Eaglesham

INKS: Scott Koblish; Dale Eaglesham


LETTERS: Clem Robins

COVER: Bruce Timm

VARIANT COVER: Keith Giffen with Hi-Fi; Dale Eaglesham with Jason Wright

40pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (March 2017)

Rated “T” for Teen

Kamandi created by Jack Kirby

“The Rules” and “K -- is for 'Kill'!”

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth was a comic book created by writer-artist Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics. The series, which ran from 1972 to 1978, starred Kamandi, a teenaged boy in a post-apocalyptic future, in which humans have been reduced back to savagery in a world ruled by intelligent, highly evolved animals.

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth #1 (cover dated: October 1972) opens some time after a huge event called “The Great Disaster,” which wiped out human civilization.  In “Earth A.D.” (After Disaster), many animals have become humanoid, bipedal, and sentient, and also possess the power of speech. These newly intelligent animal species have equipped themselves with weapons and technology salvaged from the ruins of human civilization and are constantly at war in a struggle for territory.

The world of Kamandi returns in the new DC Comics miniseries, The Kamandi Challenge, bringing together 14 teams of writers and artists.  Each issue will end with an cliffhanger.  The next creative team will resolve that cliffhanger before creating their own, which the next creative team after them will have to resolve... and so on.

The Kamandi Challenge #1 opens with “The Rules” by the team of writer Dan DiDio and artists Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish.  In a pastoral borough, a teenage boy awakens, late for the school bus.  Rushing to school, everything seems normal until the sky cracks opens and giant talking rats attack, revealing that nothing is what he thought it was.

“K -- is for 'Kill'!” is by the second creative team of writer Dan Abnett and artist Dale Eaglesham.  The story places the boy, Kamandi, in a world full of animals that walk and talk like humans.  Specifically in “Tiger City,” our young hero is thrown into the arena of blood sport and he must survive the giant man-ape, “Tiny”

I don't follow the part of the comic book Internet that breaks news about new comic book projects, not like I used to do.  I think I need to start again because I only recently heard about The Kamandi Challenge, and after reading The Kamandi Challenge #1, I know it would have been sad to have missed this fantastic first issue.

Telling a complete story in a single comic book might seem like a lost art in these last three decades of multi-issue story arcs produced in order to be collected into trade paperbacks – sometimes called graphic novels – for the bookstore market.  However, the two creative teams in The Kamandi Challenge #1 prove that they can tell a story that seems complete – even with a cliffhanger ending – in a single issue.

DiDio-Giffen-Koblish's 12-page introduction works as a standalone story and is a nice homage to Jack Kirby's visual and graphical art style.  I also wonder if the borough, burg, town depicted in the opening chapter is an homage to the early 20th century New York City in which Jack Kirby grew up.

The Abnett-Eaglesham team ably picks up the DiDio-Giffen-Koblish cliffhanger from “The Rules” and delivers a gem in “K -- is for 'Kill'!”  Dan Abnett turns his story into a flight of fancy set in world that is part old-school, EBR-style, pulp science fiction and part Planet of the Apes.  Using powerful, muscular compositions, Dale Eaglesham delivers art and storytelling that conveys both the bizarre nature of a world ruled by humaoid animals and the threat of weapons of mass destruction in a post-apocalyptic world that does not understand these lethal relics of war from the distant past.

It's obvious, isn't it?  I really enjoyed reading The Kamandi Challenge #1.  I can't wait for the second issue and I recommend this one.  It is the fun-to-read comic book for “all-ages” that many comic book readers keep saying they want.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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