Issue by Issue – Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth #40

kamandi-40Writer – Gerry Conway
Artist – Jack Kirby
Inker – Mike Royer
Letters – Mike Royer

Kamandi and Arna, free from their prison beneath the waves are now making their way across the country, but it is hard going, especially with the mutated animals that continually attack them.  Not far away, Pyra and Doctor Canus are in the village of the Lizards and they find themselves taken prisoner after a confrontation involving Pyra.  Being the alien that she is with the powers that she holds, the Lizards are unable to contain her – leaving Canus to fend for himself.  Soon enough, almost like it was choreographed, Kamandi and Arna are taken prisoner in an all too familiar scenario.  The good thing about this issue is that Gerry Conway, despite falling back on long-established clichés, creates a very fun story filled with some good action and even a little bit of trickery on Kamandi’s part.  The Lizards are a smart people, they know exactly how to make Kamandi fall in line and he has no choice but to follow their orders or risk the safety of his friends.  The artwork by Jack Kirby is absolutely phenomenal, maybe his best issue yet and sadly, it also marks the end of his tenure on the book.  He definitely made an impact on the comics-world with this title and with these characters – creating something whose influence would be felt for decades.  While the artists and writers that would come in later years would do a fair job of portraying our hero, only Kirby would ever lend that manic energy that just seemed to explode off of the page.  By the story’s end, Kamandi has completed the task that the Lizards had set out for him and in a shocking twist, things do not exactly work out for them as they’d hoped and it sees Kamandi commit large-scale murder.  Is it out of character – yes and no, readers will simply have to judge for themselves.  The book leaves off with Kamandi and his friends in a good position though Pyra is missing , presumably off doing her own thing and it is good to see the book end with it storyline finished so whatever new artist takes over can do so fresh.  A great issue from start to finish.

4 out of 5

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