By Peter J Tomasi, Neal Adams, Hi-Fi, Clem Robins, Kenneth Rocafort
The Last Boy on Earth, a Tiger Prince, a Canine Scientist, and a…Moebius Chair?!
The first issue of the Kamandi Challenge was a admirable but fairly standard (re)introduction to Kamandi and the world he lives in. Both Dan Abnett and Tomasi seem to play up the parallels between this and Planet of the Apes, with a displaced human and evolved animals dominating the Earth.
The atom bomb set off last issue turns out to be an elaborate trojan horse for the Gorilla army, who invade Tiger City and force Kamandi, Dr. Canus and Tuftan to flee. They wind up in the basement of the Tiger King’s war basement, and discover an unusual high tech green chair which Kamandi inadvertently uses to help the trio escape. They’re taken many miles away into the wilderness and discover the human sanctuary. Before Kamandi can investigate further, a pair of Manhunter robots capture them.
DC’s premise for this maxi-series, and the creative lineup, is intriguing. So far, the first two issues are unimpressive in contrast to DC’s other ambitious attempts to cultivate a large cast of creators and give them free rein on their stable.
Neal Adams turns in some decent artwork, far better than what I’ve seen on his Green Arrow covers or his Superman mini. It’s somewhat smoother, and although it lacks the dynamism of his iconic work, it still carries the classic storytelling. At times, the work can feel stilted. The Kirby influence is apparent throughout, in Kamandi’s clothing and the Moebius Chair. It’s unfair to compare Adams’ work to Dale Englesham’s, but Adams seemed not to be a good fit for this project.
The issue isn’t terrible, its fast paced and not worried about deep philosophy or past continuity. So far, it’s not likely to blow away Kirby fans or possibly even Kamandi fans unless they’re desperate for tales starring the character. I can’t say there’s enough here to justify the increased price or to keep following along. Shallow characterization, meaningless action and lack of stakes are plaguing this series. Future creators would do well to try to rectify at least one of these flaws.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent