Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #116 - Review: Kamandi Challenge #3


Kamandi Challenge #4 is out today, so here are my thoughts on issue #3 from last month. Some spoilers henceforth.


Vitals

Published By: DC Comics • 31 pages • $3.99 • full color

What's In It?

OK, listen, if you're with me this far I'd like to think you're probably reading the Kamandi Challenge monthly as it comes out. If not you should probably just wait until December when I post my review of this 12 issue series as a whole. Regardless, spoilers ahead folks as I'm going to start talking about the plot a lot more....


.... seriously, we're going full spoiler here ....


... last warning!


Where were we? ...oh, right, falling!

At the end of the prior issue Kamandi found himself checking the post-apocalyptic gravity by falling/jumping off a cliff to avoid some bad guys. I say falling/jumping, because I'm genuinely not sure which is the case.

We pick up this issue with a bunch more anthropomorphic animals observing Kamandi's science experiment. A pair of rather large man-bats (not batmen to be seen here, move along) fly out to rescue Kamandi. We transition to Kamandi behind held inside a pre-apocalypse boat where a plant person joins him. Kamandi meets the captain, a turtle who seems to have knowledge of Kamandi and claims to be part of the "God Watchers".

These guys seem suspicious, which only gets worse when it turns out that the plant people are treated as a sentient salad come dinner time. Ouch. An attack from the non-friendly man-bat tribe sends our hero to the island of the Jaguar Sun Cult, because that's the kind of pacing these books have. In short order Kamandi and his planty girl Friday are captured and offered up as dinner for a Kong sized kitty....

OK, so did I enjoy this issue? Yes ... but, I kind of wish there was a little more room given to actually explore the parts of the world we visit with some more detail. The pacing of the story is so fast that at times things are more teasing than I would like. Still, one cannot fault the creative team(s) for trying to hit as much of the world as possible.

The world building here is an exercise in masterful execution of minimalism. We get so very little of the savage bat tribes, and yet what we gain is enough to give us a strong impression of them; more than enough that I could use them in a game I feel.

The God Watchers are a little less developed, they seem to be intentionally mysterious. They have technology to create sapient plants, they have intelligent insects (bees and manti) working for them, and they seem to have knowledge of Kamandi, including a picture of him with his parents. I'm doubtful we'll get more, but I kinda wish we would.

The jaguar folk are savage and either keepers or, or kept by, the aforementioned Kong-sized jaguar. Since this is a cliffhanger situation we could gain more from the next issue, but given the resolution of the past two I wonder if we'll instead be whisked away to a new part of the world.

The pacing of this issue is a little rough. The first two issues felt like a contiguous story, but this one moved so quickly between scenes and settings that it felt a bit disjointed. The resolution of the cliffhanger from last issue was better though, and felt a little less dodgy than gorillas jumping out of an old nuke, so props to the writer (Jimmy Palmiotti) on that one. This issue's art (by Amanda Conner) was a step down in my opinion, with a simpler feel and look. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my preference either.

Rating: 70% - A look that didn't appeal and an overly ambitious pacing left me wanting