Issue by Issue – Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #38

kamandi-38Writer – Gerry Conway
Artist – Jack Kirby
Inker – Mike Royer
Letters – Mike Royer

Creatively, there is a shakeup with this issue as Jack Kirby steps away from the writing end of it and hands it over to Gerry Conway and Mike Royer returns to ink and letter once again.  The story finds our hero still amongst the rapidly-aging humans and he has come to learn that they want to use him to extend their own lives and perhaps, somehow, cure the genetic defect that prevents them from growing old.  Though it is nice in a way to see other, intelligent human beings, Kamandi is none too happy about being kept prisoner, nor about being a science experiment.  Secondary to Kamandi’s story is that of Doctor Canus and Pyra who have crash-landed and it is here that Conway goes into Pyra’s origin.  We learn of her planet and the situation they found themselves in after many years of absorbing their sun’s radiation to sustain their own energies.  So it was that she was sent to find another energy source that they might utilize.  It was the Great Disaster which drew Pyra to Earth and her search for more energy like it, though it would be to no avail as she searched over the years.  This is where Conway takes a few liberties with the story because in previous issues, Kirby established that Pyra was a being of pure energy and in order for her to fit in and live upon the Earth, he gave her a body, or at the least prepared the machines in her ship for her to transform into a new being.  Conway makes it seem as if this race of aliens could just transform into physical beings whenever they chose to do so, but if that was true, why could Pyra not do so all those many years she lived upon the Earth?  Conway does manage to stay true to Kamandi’s past as he attempts escape and while it looks as if he might not get away, he does but only with a little help from a woman named Arna.  Could this be a new love interest for Kamandi?  He has not had one since Flower, though he has expressed an interest in women since.  Just like always, as Kamandi runs from danger – he runs right back into it and Conway keeps that consistent with what has come before.  With some truly exceptional artwork from Kirby that really pops thanks to the inking of Royer, this was another strong entry into the series.

4 out of 5

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