Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #128 - Review: Kamandi Challenge #6


Kamandi Challenge #6 is out today, so here are my thoughts on issue #5 from last month. Spoilers henceforth.

Vitals

Published By: DC Comics • 31 pages • $3.99 • full color • Art: Philip Tan • Words: Steve Orlando

What's In It?

Spoilers ahead folks last warning!




Where were we? ...oh, right, a vivisected Kamandi lying on a lab table with his chest cavity hollowed out. Damn ... and they don't spare the visuals either. Thankfully Raja manages to coerce the scientist to help find a cure using the very machine that Kamandi's organs were fed into. The device is able to concoct a treatment that will save Kamandi, and when he next wakes he is whole and hale. We skip ahead some days or weeks from there as Kamandi is traveling with a man named Renzi, an associate of Raja's.

The pair are in a hot air balloon and quickly run afoul of a commune of bear folk in the far north. Both are captured and Kamandi is taken to the Alpha of Alphas while Renzi is taken away because of the cyclo-heart he bears that is capable of creating immense power via fission. As it turns out the city is itself a vast robotic construct that lacks only a power source, and Renzi's cyclo-heart will become that power source.

Kamandi tries to sway the Alpha of Alphas to abandon the force communistic hive mind that he both serves and leads, and embrace free will so that they can escape. The boy almost succeeds but the weight of so many minds forces Groznovo to betray Kamani, leading him away from Renzi as his heart is used to power the mecha-city of Mishkingrad. Kamandi and Groznova come to blows and we get our cliffhanger as the communist bear tosses Kamandi to his seeming doom.

The art this issue is pretty great. No real complaints here in regards to the look and the ability to follow the panels. The resolution of the cliffhanger is well executed and feels genuine even as Kamandi is more or less forced to part ways from yet another companion. The main story however leaves me feeling a bit "meh." It's high on exposition with much of the story progression coming from Kamandi being told what's happening rather than doing it or experiencing it.

Worldbuilding is good though. We get a confirmation of modified humans, and a new society of bear folk. The idea of the communist bears is better than the execution though, and that's mostly the fault of the story. The massive mecha-city is the kind of thing you could build a campaign around as the PCs race to find the means to stop it, and that's always a good thing.

Overall I'd say it was a decent issue, but maybe the weakest of the stories thus far. Thankfully the art was nice including a few panels that seems laid out specifically to showcase some Kirby Crackle.

Rating: 80% - The resolution of the cliffhanger was great but the "A" story was only OK.