[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Klaus Janson
After nearly plunging to his death inside the atomic heart of the Bear City, Kamandi reunites with Renzi and makes a break for it with his new friends, The Bulldog Britanneks – A brigade of airborne Dog-Women on a scavenging raid in the depths of the Bear City. It’s not long before their airship, “The Damnable Dirigible Doghouse”, crash-lands in the forbidden arctic tundra and the squad is attacked by an Ice Wizard and a legion of Polar Parasites.
The Bulldog Britanneks are maybe some of my favourite characters in this series so far. As has been said before, this roving adventure story moves pretty quickly, which can make it difficult for interesting characters to leave a lasting impression. The Britanneks are all hilarious and utterly lovable and not just because they’re big dogs who love making puns and breaking the fourth wall.
Plus, they included a Scottish one, Sadie the Spaniel! As the old saying goes, “whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye”. Kamandi might not be into it, because he’s fussy, but I’m always happy when writers throw us Scots a bone when they talk about Britain – we’re not independent yet folks.
One thing about this whole series is just the sheer fun of the story-telling. Ice-Wizards were exiled to this frozen wasteland, and there they fester, waiting to return to civilization and conquer it with a vast swarm of parasitic, mind-controlling beasties. Then, a beautifully-drawn airship full of Dog Pirates crashes into said wasteland and they have to fight for their minds and their lives – doing so with all the joyous excitement of actual dogs. Commander Beatrice looks out at the hellish landscape and comes away with, “…wouldn’t have tea and cakes here on a Sunday, if I do say so myself–“, and shouts out “Dog Pile” when attacking the Ice Wizard – which is a Polar Bear, obviously – with her fellow Britanneks. It’s utterly endearing, it’s charming and it’s the madcap characters like this that make these kinds of post-apocalyptic stories so entertaining.
Just one negative comment and it’s more of a question; The Ice Wizards are Polar Bears, like you would expect to find in a frozen wasteland, but they were said to be exiled to this place, coming originally from the major strongholds. So, were the Ice Wizards exiled to this specific region because they were Polar Bears, or was that a happy, aesthetically-fitting coincidence? And if they are Polar Bears, with magic powers over ice, then why wouldn’t they be happy to live in an arctic tundra?
This issue is more fast-paced, action-packed fun involving even more lovable, hilarious wasteland characters spouting from the woodwork to help out Kamandi reunite with his parents. The Bulldog Britanneks are brilliant, the sequence in the frozen wasteland is beautiful, and despite the chilling setting, Kamandi’s story seems to be heating up even further.