Kamandi at Earth's End #2
March 19, 2012
The story no one demanded continues!
(A montage of shots of the first issue of "Kamandi at Earth's End" is shown)
Linkara (v/o): It sucked. What a surprise. It's an unnecessary Elseworlds book positing the oh-so-important question of "What if the character of Kamandi, a caveman from the future, got to run around in a post-apocalyptic setting with ridiculous guns?"
(Cut briefly to 90s Kid)
90s Kid: Total awesomeness is what happened! (gives the devil's horn sign as he nods his head)
Linkara: The real answer is, nothing interesting. And the character himself was unappealing and liked to talk to himself incessantly.
(Shots of the follow-up comic "Superman At Earth's End" is shown)
Linkara (v/o): But, oh, this book created such a fascinating and immersive world that it demanded a sequel. You know, just so we can build up the universe a bit. That sequel was "Superman At Earth's End", one of my earlier reviews that spawned the ever-popular declaration of one's manhood while punching your opponent in the gut. It was even worse than "Kamandi". Hell, I dare say it's one of the, if not the worst depiction of Superman I've ever seen.
(The title for the infamous Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is shown briefly before returning to "Superman At Earth's End")
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, it's worse than that! Do you hear me, "Superman At Earth's End"?! The Quest For Peace is a better Superman story than you!!
(Cut back to "Kamandi")
Linkara (v/o): So you're probably wondering why we're already going back to "Kamandi at Earth's End" when I've got a whole bunch of other early episodes I could look at more issues of. Honestly, I'm just curious about the process. How did we get from Kamandi sporting massive guns to the hypocritical anti-gun message of "Superman At Earth's End"?
Linkara: Well, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Kamandi at Earth's End #2" and see if we're any closer to figuring that out.
(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Slow Ride" by Foghat playing the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is okay, though the lack of background annoys me. I'm more confused by the general creative choices in character design. The first issue established that the world was overrun by mutated abominations, but why, oh, why did the mutated creatures choose to wear... oh, I don't know, a pair of rabbit ears?! Is like a Mario power-up, where they can jump higher if they wear them? The guy up front is wearing a tiny party hat, along with checkered overalls; the guy whose head is getting blown off by Kamandi has a little derby; this guy has a... giant top hat with a red star on it? Did they deliberately raid a circus to get these outfits? Also, the woman who is clinging for dear life to Kamandi looked like a mermaid at first when I just glanced at the cover, but no, she's just wearing green pants attached to a thong. Seriously, look at that. They're like the worst chaps I've ever seen. You know, I understand that clothing might be scarce after the apocalypse, but you'd think you'd be able to put together a decent pair of pants at least. (reads text dramatically) "AMONGST THE UGLY AMERICANS!"
Linkara: (confused) Funny? Deep? Insulting? I honestly don't know what the hell that's supposed to mean, unless these guys actually call themselves "the Ugly Americans", which would be stupid.
Linkara (v/o): We open with Ben Boxer, the chicken robot from the last issue, continuing his daily log.
Boxer: (narrating) Ben Boxer's Log, September 27, 2101 A.D.
Linkara: (in a valley girl voice) That bitch Stephanie used up all the coffee again. How am I ever gonna get these memos written without my coffee?
Boxer: (narrating) My fellow biomechs and I have found a survivor from the Bunker Complex, a young man who calls himself Kamandi. This clever youth is in communication with Machine Mother...
Linkara: Oh, yeah, Kamandi was really clever last issue, like how he wanted to steal jewelry, even though it had no value in this world or how he wanted to spend all his time watching holograms strip for him. (points to camera) Clearly, this is a sign of being bright and clever.
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer suspects that "Machine Mother"... Wasn't she called "Mother Machine" last issue? ...is responsible for causing the Second Apocalypse that turned the Earth into what it is now.
Boxer: Don't be frightened, boy. Just tell us why Mother gave you this remote console.
Linkara: (as Boxer, pretending to hold up a console) This Game Boy could be the key to everything! I must know its secrets!
Linkara (v/o): However, it seems that the iPhones of the future have more advanced security precautions, since little electronic cables suddenly come out of the thing and wrap around his wrist, causing him to shout out a censored expletive.
Linkara: Yes, the scientists who designed the biomechs decided it was important for their robots to swear.
Boxer: It's Machine Mother! She's trying to kill me!
Linkara: (as Boxer, holding up his hand) By cutting off the circulation to my hand and making it fall asleep! THE DIABOLICAL WITCH!
Boxer: I'll show the hag!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who)
Cyberman: I shall be free from you, you hag!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer crushes the computer in his hands... which, of course, causes it to explode. Sure, that's how that works. With the explosion as a distraction, Kamandi and Sleeper, the other guy Kamandi met last issue, make a run for it.
Sleeper: Your ol' mom must be one nasty lady!
(Cut to a clip of Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool)
Mr. T: Wait a minute. Don't bring anyone's mother into this. She ain't here. If it wasn't for your mother, you wouldn't be here. So remember, when you put down one mother, you're puttin' down mothers all over the world.
(Back to the comic again)
Boxer: (narrating) When the communication device blew up in my face, my worst suspicions were confirmed...
Linkara: (as Boxer) That new app my friends told me about really is the bomb!
Boxer: ...Machine Mother is a self-direction aggressor in the post-apocalyptic world...
Linkara: You don't know that. Maybe she's just very strict about the warranties on her communication devices and doesn't want people jailbreaking them.
Linkara (v/o): He sends off one of the others, named Renz... Seriously, one guy is named Ben and the other guy is named Renz? ...to go after the two. Speaking of, Sleeper and Kamandi apparently had time to raid their arsenal.
Kamandi: That blast barely scratched those guys--what makes you think these grenade launchers will do any better?
Sleeper: Just watch! These toys'll make French fries out of 'em!
Linkara: (as Sleeper, pointing to camera) And not good French fries, either; Burger King French fries.
Linkara (v/o): And so, Sleeper fires on them, revealing that they are actually holding rocket launchers and not grenade launchers. Unless, of course, in the future, grenades are missile-shaped and have rocket propulsion! Seriously, how the hell did the artist "grenade launcher" and interpret that as "rocket"?!
Boxer: (narrating) The dark-skinned one had looted an arsenal of advanced weaponry from abandoned military bases...
Linkara (v/o): I would question how this stuff is still in working order after the apocalypse without anybody to maintain it, buuut Battlefield Earth already proved that military technology can function a thousand years after disuse anyway.
Boxer: (narrating) Fortunately, the master scientists anticipated we'd meet potent opposition--they built us to last.
Linkara: Isn't that always the way? Companies don't make their chicken androids to last anymore. You're just buying a new one in six months.
Linkara (v/o): The other biomechs make their attack, blowing up Sleeper's hideout.
Sleeper: All my stuff... my quad system, my ten thousand music crystals, my champagne, my caviar...
Linkara: (irritably) It is AFTER THE APOCALYPSE, and you seriously had caviar and champagne in your rathole of a building?!
Linkara (v/o): This comic is friggin' stupid! They try to run as far as they can, going down a set of pipes until they reach an alley. And nearby, Tommy Wiseau is on a rampage and throwing a TV set out a window.
(Cut to a clip of The Room)
Johnny: ARGH! (angrily holding up a TV set) Bitch! YOU BITCH!
(He heaves the TV out a closed window, shattering it. The TV plummets to the ground and smashes against the pavement. Then cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): The bots put a tracer on Kamandi before he fled.
Boxer: We don't want to kill the bunker boy and his friend... yet. My logic circuits are coming up with big numbers. If we keep them on the run, the kid is going to lead us to something important.
Linkara (v/o): I'd use that clip of the Cyber Leader saying, "There is logic in what he says," buuut that actually is pretty logical. Not so logical is what happens next: one of the other androids declares...
Biomech: Right, Ben--we just want to scare the crap out of them--like this.
Linkara (v/o): And they proceed to blow up the building some more!
Linkara: Okay, for androids that are purportedly running on logic and the like, why do they feel the need to use the expression "scare the crap out of them"? Also, why do you want to scare them? And why did they BLOW UP THE BUILDING?!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and six pages in, we get our title for the issue: "Kings of the Ruined Earth". A pretty good title, actually, and admittedly, the image of Kamandi and Sleeper driving away from the explosion on their motorcycles is pretty badass. Then we cut to the next page, where we get a nice ol' shot of Sleeper's motorcycle to remind us that he has 50 kajillion headlights on the front of it for no discernible reason.
Sleeper: The trashers fried the whole building-- Guess I'm gonna have to find a new place to live!
Kamandi: That shouldn't be too hard in this big, dead city!
Sleeper: Yeah... Hell, I was bored stiff livin' on Park Avenue anyway...
Linkara: I'm so happy we're getting this deep insight into Sleeper's character and personality. (points to camera) He gets bored in the post-apocalyptic environment. (nods)
Linkara (v/o): They see some of the helicopters from last issue – the Scroungers, they're called – and they decide to hole up in a natural history museum for the time being. Naturally, the front doors are wide enough to fit their motorcycles through. The first things they see are the skeleton of a t-rex... aaand this demon thing. Yep, natural history right there with the demon. We get to see some more bits about Sleeper's character, like how he's a real history buff.
Sleeper: ...Back a hundred years ago, 'bout 1990, these creatures were running loose. Tyrannosaurus rex! Guys used to hunt 'em with special guns!
Kamandi: You're makin' that up! I never saw anything in Mother's databank about that!
Sleeper: Hey, Sleeper knows. That's the way it was, kid! I saw it in a Spielberg report.
Linkara: (facepalming himself at the sheer stupidity of it all) Oh, my God! So much stupid!
Linkara (v/o): First of all, when the hell did he watch Jurassic Park in this post-apocalyptic setting?! What, has society broken down, but video rental places are at the top of their game?! Secondly, how can you not tell what a movie is?! What, did he think that this "report" added a John Williams score for dramatic effect? Did he see Jeff Goldblum in this movie and just assumed that he was the exact same person in The Fly or Earth Girls Are Easy? Thirdly, and probably most importantly, THEY'RE NOT HUNTING DINOSAURS IN THE FIRST MOVIE!! The second movie kind of had dinosaur-hunting and a t-rex in the city, but this comic came out in 1993, the same year as the first Jurassic Park movie! And you know what's worse? This reminds me of, again, Battlefield Earth!
(Footage of Battlefield Earth is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Right at the beginning, where the future cavemen believe that mannequins and statues are people cursed by the gods. But at least that was a thousand years in the future.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): This is supposedly taking place in the year 2101, so what is even the hell? A woman sporting a revolver that has a laser scope on the top – because just another futuristic gun would just be silly after so many that we've seen – comes out and orders them to drop their guns. And despite that scope, she's a really lousy shot and just starts opening fire on them. She's also clearly in plain sight, so they assume it's the Scroungers again and head for cover. However, when they get a better look at her – or rather, her ass, since that was what the artist decided to draw in this panel – they realize it's not a Scrounger.
Kamandi: Lookin' at her gave me a funny feelin'... like I get with Carol. Let's go after her... I want to talk with* her.
- NOTE: Kamandi actually says, "...talk to her", not "...talk with her."
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Agent for H.A.R.M.: a scene involving a makeout session between a man and a woman there)
Crow: With our reproductive organs.
(Back to the comic again)
Sleeper: Sure. Why not? Got nothin' better to do.
Linkara: Our heroes, everyone! They got nothing better to do.
Linkara (v/o): Outside, the Scroungers have already grabbed the woman, and once again, the shot of her is her bent over and showing her ass, which of course they felt needed to be outlined despite it being a tiny part of the image, even highlighting her in orange so that she was the focus against all of the dark surroundings. Chasing after them, Sleeper is able to shoot down one of the helicopters.
Sleeper: Girl's in the other ship. We gotta chase it down and save her.
Linakra (v/o): (stammers irritably, unable to believe his ears) You were the one– Ugh! I'd go hit my head against a wall for something as stupid as that, but we still have several more pages to get through. Even Sleeper is amazed at how dumb Kamandi is being, especially since he was the one who said he wanted to "talk to her."
Sleeper: Listen, let me tell ya somethin'... this is a world gone psycho.
Linkara: (as Sleeper, pointing to his head) We wear huge, impractical hoop earrings on one ear and we like it, damn it!
Sleeper: Rescuing women and killin' Scroungers should be right at the top of your "list of things I gotta do today."
Linkara: (as Sleeper) Right after watching *M*A*S*H* reruns and installing headlights on your motorcycle.
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi explains about Machine Mother giving him the task of going out west to kill a man, but Sleeper has no problem with that, since it looks like the Scroungers are heading out west... thanks to the binoculars he pulls out of his ass. They drive off, and it's time for more of Ben Boxer's blog. I love alliteration.
Boxer: (narrating) The micro-locator worked well--we tracked the blond kid and his pal leaving the city... I ran the scenario through my logic circuits... Logic said Machine Mother had probably given Blondie some kind of job to do topside...
(Cut to a clip of the original Star Trek)
Kirk: (about Spock) Logic. My God, the man's talking about logic.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): He reports that they tracked them until the New Jersey Wastelands, but lost the signal admidst all the metal and junk in the wastelands. And oh, yeah, they're clearly heading out west, what with New Jersey being directly west of New York, you know! Tom Veitch, the writer, was not much into geography.
(Cut to Dr. Linksano)
Dr. Linksano: (addressing the camera) Hello, I'm Dr. Linksano. I'm sure many of you are getting ready now to write up your comments and make a little post when the video is finished, to let Linkara know that he made a little mistake. At the time Linkara wrote and recorded this review, he was going by a general map of the United States, (a shot of the map of New York and New Jersey appears in the corner) showing that New Jersey, the state, is directly below New York, the state. Linkara should have gone more specific in his Google Maps searches, with the fact that the villains were going (an overhead view of both Hackensack and Manhattan is shown) to Hackensack, New Jersey, and they were coming from Manhattan, which, according to this map, is actually more northwest of the location. So actually, (sighs) the comic got it right and they are in fact west at the very least. So, we're just going to let you know from all of us here at Atop the Fourth Wall... sorry, we made a mistake.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi whines some more about how he wishes he could talk to Mother Machine.
Kamandi: Mother's real nice...
Linkara: Yeah, I think the nicest thing that she did was when she let mutated creatures down into your bunker that killed your only other friend and then tried to poison if you didn't go out into the unfamiliar surface world to go murder a guy. (smiles) She's a sweetheart, that one.
Linkara (v/o): And of course, what would a post-apocalyptic junkyard be without a big sign in clear letters that states "THERE IS NO LAW!"
Linkara: Who was asking?
Linkara (v/o): The two travel through the junkyard, coming across corpses tied to poles. What I find fascinating about the ones tied up front is that I'm sure that's supposed to be their rib cages sticking out of them. Funny how their ribs extend all the way down to their waists.
Sleeper: If we don't rescue her, she'll end up... like those dead slobs.
Kamandi: Hey, did I say I was scared? Let's go!
Linkara: (as Linkara) They can't stop us! We're on motorcycles! And with our status as main characters, we can do anything to them without being killed, even... challenge them to a card game! (looks up and strokes chin) Hmm, if only there was a way to combine motorcycles and card games...
Linkara (v/o) But at some point, they apparently get off their motorcycles and... watch a mutation pride parade? Seriously, it's those guys from the cover chanting "Big Q!" while carrying signs and walking down a street. What the hell do they have the signs for? Who's going to see them?!
Sleeper: Let's park the bikes and see what the parade's about... Stash a few guns under your coat, 'case they notice us...
Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, your guns are very easily hidden.
Linkara: (as Kamandi, hodling up the BFG) Pay no attention to me, fellow citizens! (eyes look around shiftily)
Man [Big Q]: My friends... It all belongs to us--!
Linkara: (as Big Q) That hunk of scrap metal? Ours! That bloated rotting corpse? Ours!
Linkara (v/o): To make a stupid story short, Big Q is a big-headed guy with a Snidely Whiplash mustache that everybody follows for some reason despite the fact that, in an environment like this, the physically stronger would probably have squashed him long ago. He promises them that they should try to take over the world, but in order to do that, they need to propagate their numbers. So the parade is actually about auctioning off three women to the highest bidder. Kamandi wants to go help them, but Sleeper thinks they should wait to see what happens, recognizing that, you know, they're vastly outnumbered and outgunned. Kamandi, however, reminds us just how much of a "clever youth" he is by pulling a gun. Naturally, everybody around them pulls out their own guns and they quickly surrender. Brilliant strategy, Kamandi!
(Cut to a well-used clip of Patton)
Patton: (looking out through a pair of binoculars) You magnificent bastard, I read your BOOK!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Big Q is not happy to see the two.
Big Q: You perhaps think to steal our fertile females...
Linkara (v/o): How does he even know they're capable of conceiving after the apocalypse.
Big Q: ...and mate with them, so that you can repopulate the planet with your inferior genetic stock--?
Linkara (v/o): Wait a second. "Inferior genetic stock"? Your goal is to have sex and breed? Oh, I get it! This is the eventual result of the New Guardians and their failed mission to create the next stage of human evolution. The woman, who introduces herself as Saphira Cohen, does... something. Seriously, look at this. She reaches behind her back, then there's a swing of her arm like she grabbed the gun from the guard, and I'm pretty sure that's what happened, since the guy's holster is empty, but the swing of her arm is toward the guard's head, which suddenly just pops off. The hell just happened?! She kills Big Q and uses her gun to start decapitating people with bullets. Kamandi and Sleeper get up and grab some guns, shooting into the crowd some more.
Saphira: You ugly dudes better not try anything funny--!
Linkara: (as Kamandi) "Ugly"?! I was voted "sexiest man alive" in the bunker ten years running!
Kamandi: Don't worry, we're cool--let's ride!
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Slow ride, baby... (dons a pair of sunglasses and bobs his head to Foghat's "Slow Ride" briefly)
Linkara (v/o): Sorry, other two women who were on stage! You don't conform to our standards of beauty, so I guess you're screwed! Ben Boxer narrates how they picked up the signal on the two after they left Jersey, naturally coming across a post-apocalyptic gas station. Seriously. Sleeper shoots off a padlock on the gas. Yeah, that gun he's sporting looks like it's precise enough to do that without blowing the entire thing up. Kamandi explains to Saphira about his quest to kill the man responsible for the Second Apocalypse.
Saphira: That's... uh... nice.
Linkara: Hey, the first realistic reaction to anything that's happened so far.
Kamandi: Arizona. That's where I'm headed.
Linkara (v/o): Actually, that looks kind of closer to New Mexico than Arizona, but again, geography is not the strongest trade of our creative team.
(Cut briefly back to Dr. Linksano, who stares silently, then cut back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Sleeper spots Scavengers coming after them, but then sees Ben Boxer's battle plate come and destroy them.
Boxer: (narrating) We had a fat computer file on this group...
Linkara (v/o): Wait, a fat file would suggest it was stuffed with paper and had tons and tons of documents inside of it. Computer files aren't really "fat" in the same way, unless you mean one that had like yottabytes of information on these things, but why the hell would you ever need that much information on these guys?! What information could you possibly have on "assholes who wear circus outfits and auction off women"?! What is this information in the file?!
(Cut to a clip of The Exorcist III)
Lt. Kinderman: It is NOT in the FILE! IT IS NOT!!
(Back to the comic again)
Boxer: (narrating) The master scientists who created us gave us two directives. The first is to find the cause of the Second Apocalypse... The second is to purge the Earth of subhuman scum.
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with a mushroom cloud and Sleeper proclaiming...
Sleeper: The Sky Soldiers nuked New Jersey!
Linkara (v/o): Two thoughts spring to mind. One, considering these guys were probably mutated by radiation and the like to begin with, that's probably not helping the problem. Two, considering how big that mushroom cloud is, you probably killed off the guy you were just following, too. Just a thought.
Linkara: (angrily holding up comic) This comic sucks! The artwork is lazy, the characters are empty, the story is shallow and boring, and the creative team can't even tell SOUTH from WEST! Why this deserved a six-issue miniseries, much less a 50-page one-shot sequel, confuses and angers me! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
Dr. Linksano: (offscreen) Um, actually, they did. You got that wrong.
Linkara: (offscreen) SHUT UP! I DON'T CARE!
Dr. Linksano: (offscreen) Oh, by the way, you made several mistakes last week as well, not the least of which being the spear thing. You see, at the end of some spears in cults– (he is interrupted as Linkara punches him)
(End credits roll)
Yes, I remember he had the TV, but what GOOD was the TV? I cannot emphasize the words "after the apocalypse" enough. There aren't news broadcasts, living in an environment with intelligent adversaries all around you would make it a bit difficult to find free time to do anything other than prepare defenses, eat, and sleep. And even then, HE STILL GOT THE DAMN MOVIE WRONG.
Remember when we actually needed a REASON to like our protagonists in order to consider them "our heroes?"
(Stinger: The mushroom cloud at the end of the comic is shown again, as the RiffTrax video for Battlefield Earth is heard)
Bill Chott: Wow, what a big bomb!
Kevin Murphy: Just about the biggest imaginable. Bigger than Waterworld.
Bill Chott: Huge bomb.