The Kamandi Challenge

kamandi challenge cover trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10

Fun idea with good creators, feels like an old comic at points

Not always the best story

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Kamandi Challenge

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer:  Dan Abnett/Marguerite Bennett/Dan Didio/Keith Giffen/Tom King/Paul Levitz/Steve Orlando/Greg Pak/Jimmy Palmiotti/Gail Simone/Peter J. Tomasi/James Tynion IV/Rob Williams/Bill Willingham

Artist:  Neal Adams/Oclair Albert/Amanda Conner/Carlos D’Anda/Shane Davis/Michelle Delecki/Dale Eaglesham/Kevin Eastman/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Keith Giffen/Klaus Janson/Dan Jurgens/Scott Koblish/Joe Prado/Norm Rapmund/Ivan Reis/Steve Rude/Walter Simons/Ryan Sook/Philip Tan/Jill Thompson/Freddie Williams II

# of Issues: 12

Release Date: 2017

kamandi challenge #1 cover

The Kamandi Challenge #1

Reprints The Kamandi Challenge #1-12 (March 2017-February 2018).  Kamandi has a destiny.  As the last boy on Earth after the Great Disaster, he learns that he must seek out his parents and save the world.  Unfortunately, Kamandi is facing earth-shattering danger at every turn.  Be it fanatic worshippers, mad doctors, or scores of killer humanoid animals, Kamandi must battle through it…but what is the secret to Kamandi’s quest and will he ever find his parents?

Written by Dan Abnett, Marguerite Bennett, Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, Tom King, Paul Levitz, Steve Orlando, Greg Pak, Jimmy Palmiotti, Gail Simone, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, Rob Williams, and Bill Willingham, The Kamandi Challenge is a DC Comics limited series collection.  The series features art by Neal Adams, Oclair Albert, Amanda Conner, Carlos D’Anda, Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, Dale Eaglesham, Kevin Eastman, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Keith Giffen, Klaus Janson, Dan Jurgens, Scott Koblish, Joe Prado, Norm Rapmund, Ivan Reis, Steve Rude, Walter Simons, Ryan Sook, Philip Tan, Jill Thompson, and Freddie Williams II.

I was always kind of intrigued by Kamandi.  The series was kind of like Tarzan mixed with the science fiction of a future kind of similar to Planet of the Apes.  Kamandi would go from adventure to adventure meeting new creatures and friends.  The Kamandi Challenge seemed like a natural avenue for Kamandi’s story to be told in a fun way.

kamandi challenge #12 cover variant ryan sook

The Kamandi Challenge #12 Variant

The series spins out of both DC Challenge and a celebration of Kirby’s 100th birthday.  DC Challenge featured a continuing story by multiple authors and artists and Kamandi takes up that challenge.  It is a variation of the “exquisite corpse” storytelling technique which has the story passed on to the next writer-artist combo tasked with saving Kamandi from the seemingly fatal darkness that befalls him at the end of the previous issue (the extreme here is having Kamandi disemboweled at the end of The Kamandi Challenge #5).  It is kind of like a bunch of writers vamping and having fun…something that seems to be lacking in a lot of comic book storytelling nowadays.

The format does seem to really fit a Kirby model.  The issues are for the most part self-contained with an over-branching story, but the threats, enemies, and allies that Kamandi meets along the path also feel very Kirby-esque.  This adds to the story and helps develop it.  As mentioned in the afterwards, Kamandi ends up “falling” a lot at the end of stories, but in general, that is the ultimate ending to many a comic book…so I can’t necessarily fault them.

The Kamandi Challenge is fun.  It isn’t the best comic you’ll ever read or the most original, but it has something to it.  I don’t love the meta-ending of series, but no ending was going to be entirely satisfying, so it is forgivable and it dovetails back to the purpose of the series as a whole.  If you are a fan of Kirby and classic comics, pick up The Kamandi Challenge…and maybe it will inspire your own serial story.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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