Issue by Issue – Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #14

Kamandi #14Writer – Jack Kirby
Artist – Jack Kirby
Inker – Mike Royer
Letters – Mike Royer

Going into the final round of races put on by Sacker, Kamandi’s captor finds our hero not doing so well. Kamandi has taken a beating and Kliklak is hurting pretty bad. Things are grim, but as it is, Kamandi digs deep and finds a reserve of strength so that he might win out over Bull Bantam and prevent himself from getting killed. Jack Kirby packs every scene full of action, the race between the ‘animals’ a furious one. Just when things are looking their worst, Kamandi gets a little help from an old friend and much to the anger of the crowd and due to that, Kamandi finally gets the upper hand to pull out a win. Everything has a cost though and while you might immediately think something might happen to our hero after he has won the competition, it is Kliklak who pays the price – having been hurt too badly and beyond medical care. The only option is to put Kliklak down so that his suffering ceases and Kamandi takes it upon himself to do so. After the deed is done, you can tell a part of his soul died when Kliklak did. It is a very sad moment in the book, on par with that of Flower’s death and while Kirby was known for big action more than anything else, the man can create a tender moment when need be and make these fantastical tales all the more human for it. Even with the races over, there is more to the book and it finds our hero being as obstinate as ever, not wanting to participate in the revelling and sent unknowingly to the gas chamber for being too much of a handful. The book then finds Kamandi reunited with some old friends and it is a good thing as well, for there was no escape for him otherwise. What is interesting to note is that with the added fact that Sacker’s men were going to put him down just for being a little objectionable, it shows you that the creatures that now rule the Earth truly do think of humans as nothing more than animals and it also mirrors just how we as a society treat those helpless beings we call pets ourselves. This was definitely a thoughtful and emotional issue – maybe the best one that Kirby has produced yet in the series.

5 out of 5

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