Issue by Issue – Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #1

Kamandi_01Writer – Jack Kirby
Artist – Jack Kirby
Inker – Mike Royer
Letters – Mike Royer

In a post-apocalyptic world, Kamandi has gone topside from the bunker he shares with Grandfather to discover if any remnant of mankind remains other than the two of them.  It is a strange world, not like the one Kamandi had seen in the books that survived the disaster and yet, he discovers that men and women still exist – just none like him and more like the beasts of the woods and fields, unable to talk and scared of his presence. Created, written and drawn by Jack Kirby with a little help from Mike Royer, Kamandi soon learns that the world is not only different, but dangerous as Grandfather is killed and that intelligence upon the Earth has shifted from man to animal as it is now ruled by wolves and leopards and tigers.  Man is no longer at the forefront of the pecking order and now Kamandi realizes that he is going to have to be smarter about things in case he finds himself in a predicament he might not be able to get himself out of, like the one he eventually finds himself in.  With Kamandi, you can see that it is a product of its time, that being the early 1970’s as the themes presented are those that appeared in many a science-fiction movie of the decade and it still finds them relevant, perhaps more so today than ever before.  One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the fact that the main antagonist that is introduced, the leader of the Tigers named Caesar (perhaps Kirby taking his cue from Planet of the Apes) and all of his people worship a nuclear missile that is still somehow functional.  The fear of nuclear weapons being released may have been at its height during the Cold War, but the fact that the world always seems to be rushing to its own destruction is a fear that is continually mined for fiction and Kirby does so to great effect in this title, dealing more with its fallout many years later than anything else.  The book is packed with a lot of story, and as such it features some good drama and some great action scenes that play to Kirby’s strength as a penciller.  The panel layouts might be fairly standard, but the power Kirby lends them is undeniable and dynamic.  By the end of the book, a supporting cast is introduced and a new role for he who might be the last boy on Earth and it makes you excited to see just where it will lead and what kind of adventures our hero will have upon this familiar, yet very different planet.  A very strong first issue from what is rightfully hailed as one of Kirby’s best works.

4.5 out of 5

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