[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artists: Philip Tan, Norm Rapmund, Dean White
“Humans have many uses, cub. Speaking isn’t one of them!”
Kamandi undergoes some experimental surgery, and the madcap dash across the mysterious Australian Outback continues as our hero ventures on to make new friends, fight colossal robots and try to find his parents.
Mack was a personal favourite character after his debut in the previous issue, and I’m glad he and Kamandi got to say goodbye on less gruesome terms than they met at the start of this issue. Big tiger detective had better make another appearance before the series is over.
This issue crashes Kamandi and his new friend Renzi – a dude who can turn his organic tissue into ‘dilusteel’ – into the God Commune ‘Neraskayavshevo’, ran by a democratic conglomerate of bears. Their leader – the Alpha of Alphas – is adorned with a cybernetic crown which dictates all of his actions via constant referenda fed directly into his cortex. Definitely an interesting idea, and it’s the strength of this book that wild concepts like this one can be explored succinctly while Kamandi bounces from danger zone to danger zone.
The God of the Bear Commune was, despite its brief appearance in this book’s final few panels, absolutely beautiful. A behemoth of steel and smoke baring an iron city across its back trudging off into the mountain range is exactly the kind of imagery I think we all want in our apocalyptic landscapes.
Renzi and his ‘Cyclo-Heart’ are dropped out of the sky in a couple of ways. The series so far has had no shortage of sci-fi oddities but Renzi’s particular skillset seemed very distinct from the rest of the characters in the book and yet there wasn’t much time spent on him in this issue.
It was especially weird given he’s the first human – as far as I can remember – that Kamandi has met so far since he was separated from his family and emerged into the wildlands. Kamandi was pretty hung up about leaving Renzi behind after knowing him for about three minutes, so maybe that human connection was made in the subtext, but for me it could have been fleshed out a little more.
The Kamandi Challenge continues to delve into strange and wonderful situations fueled by the bizarre wasteland culture propagated by the animal-people who rule it. The book moves at the same breakneck speed as its previous issues, however that doesn’t lend much to the deeper aspects of the interesting characters we’re introduced to each week.