Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #130 - Review: Kamandi Challenge #7


Kamandi Challenge #8 came out last week, but because of GenCon and general work business as well as #RPGaDay2017 I didn't have time to even read the issue until this past weekend. However, now I have and here's my thoughts. Spoilers henceforth.

Prior issue reviews:

Vitals

Published By: DC Comics • 31 pages • $3.99 • full color • Art: Dan Jurgens • Words: Marguerite Bennett

What's In It?

Spoilers ahead folks last warning!




Everybody kosher? OK! When we last left Kamandi he was plummeting to his probable death in the fires of an atomic reactor within the city sized robot bear Mishkingrad. As he falls he realizes that he still holds the Cortex Crown of the city. Donning the crown he uses the power of the city to build a protective cage around himself and exit the reactor to save his friend Renzi.

Instead he gets grabbed up but some dog mutants calling themselves the Bulldog Britanneks who save both he and Renzi and escape the great bear before its apparent destruction. We learn that Renzi is an android (damn, would have been cooler if his atomic heart was cybernetic), and that the Britanneks have been raiding the Comuni-bears for some time. We also learn that the giant dirigible that they are traveling on was designed by Kamandi's mother. Before we can learn more something strikes the dirigible and downs it.

Stranded in the wastelands and under attack by an Ice Wizard and some Polar Parasites Kamandi and his companions make a desperate bid for survival. The parasites however breach their lines and break their defensive position. Fleeing from the tide of parasites and some of their own, now under parasitic control, Kamandi and the others return to the wreck of their ship. Kamandi realizes that the Control Crown will work with all the "salvage" from the wreck since was all once part of Mishkingrad.

Using the crown Kamandi is able to turn the tide and crush the the parasites and free the controlled dogs. Using the crap to build a new balloon the dogs depart Kamandi, leaving him with provisions and information. Kamandi, now on his own once more sets off south in a glider to try and find his mother, but one parasite had stowed away ...

This issue finally gave us a solid hint at where Kamandi may find his parents; fitting for the first issue in the back half of the year. Like every issue thus far it offered a fairly stand along adventure. Unfortunately the characters were fairly flat. There was little in the way of development for any one character and in the end it makes for a somewhat flat story. The pulpy action stories of the first half of the year were fine, but as the series gets older it's becoming a little less entertaining to see these isolated adventures. Here's hoping things begin to truly build toward a climax in December and not just stumble along until an end conveniently happens.

Setting-wise this issue did offer some more interesting developments. From the apparently magical Ice Wizards to the sci-fi hive mind parasites that can hijack a creature there was a decent amount of new additions to the world. Unfortunately I'd have liked a little more exposition about the Ice Wizards and their exile and even about the Britanneks and their home (since these stories are far too short to show much and must often give detail via exposition).

Overall it was decent, but one of my least favorite of the series thus far. If I weren't looking at the world building as well as story this would have been far far my least favorite from a story standpoint, feeling a bit rushed and overstuffed.

Rating: 70% - An OK story that did manage to forward the larger story in small steps.