Kamandi at Earth's End #3
January 7, 2013
Don't you love it when the comics that are supposed to be more edgy and realistic are, in fact, MUCH sillier?
(Linkara sits on his futon, scanning a Cybermat)
Linkara: (singing) It's been a looong December / And there's reason to be believe / Maybe this year will be / Better than the last... (stops singing as he puts down Cybermat and scanner) All righty, that is done. So, what am I reviewing today? (takes his schedule and looks at it) Ah, "Kamandi at Earth's End #3"! (expression turns sour as he drops his head in his hand) This year is gonna suck, too.
(AT4W opening titles play; title card has "A Long December" by Counting Crows playing in the background)
Linkara: (still brooding) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Unfortunately, the apocalypse turned out to be a big disappointment, so we're all still here. But in fiction, apocalypses are as common as streetlamps. So naturally, this dumbass series actually filled out its six-issue run, and (smiles sarcastically) here we are, talking about it.
(Cut to black)
(A montage of shots of the first two issues of "Kamandi" is shown as Linkara gives a recap)
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi is the last boy on Earth, except he's not, because it's an Elseworlds tale, where, instead of it being a Planet of the Apes ripoff, it's a ripoff of... uh, every post-apocalyptic movie ever, but even dumber. Kamandi has been sent out of his bunker by... Mother Machine... or Machine Mother; they seem to swap it around a lot... to try to hunt down the man who caused the Second Apocalypse. And along the way, he met a biker, a woman with bizarre pants, mutants, and robotic chicken people. Everyone has huge guns, the dialogue sucks, and Kamandi is a perverted idiot.
Linkara: So, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Kamandi at Earth's End #3" and find out... (stops abruptly as he tries to figure out how to finish his words, only to stop nonplussed) ...nothing. We will find out nothing. Because this series was a waste of time.
Linkara (v/o): Our cover is our three heroes standing on a pile of junk with blank expressions on their faces and holding guns larger than they are. And for Sleeper Zom, that's a hell of an accomplishment, considering he's already over-muscled beyond the point of rationality. (reads text) "CRUSIN' THUNDER ROAD!"
Linkara: (listlessly) Oh, yeah. I mean, a comic about trying to hunt down and murder a guy has so much to do with a Springsteen song about a couple trying to run off and make things work. Unless it's a reference to the Robert Mitchum movie. I wouldn't be shocked by that, actually, considering the amount of booze necessary for this comic's creation.
Linkara (v/o): We open inside of a plane, while Ben Boxer continues his log entries. Question: Who the hell is reading his logs? There's a reason Star Trek has a Captain's Log beyond exposition for the audience. They're regular reports that the higher-ups read. Who the hell is Ben Boxer sending his diary entries to?! Anyway, these two idiots, one [Duko] looking like he's stepped out of a Sherlock Holmes film and the other [Paco] looking like Dr. Robotnik in a sombrero, discuss how the Deathslingers are planning an attack on "The Roadies".
Linkara: (mock alarm) Oh, man, they're gonna attack the Roadies?! But who else is gonna do the mic check?!
Ben Boxer: (narrating) We must follow and protect Kamandi until we can learn exactly who he has been sent to kill. We have already saved him from one group of vicious savages.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, you did a great job of (makes "finger quotes") "saving" him. I especially like the part where you didn't save them at all. They managed to get away on their own, and then you NUKED NEW JERSEY!!
Ben Boxer: (narrating) Our probes indicate several other types of human scum are surviving the apocalyptic ruins of America.
Linkara: (confused) "Human scum"? (massages forehead) Okay, Ben Boxer, I'm confused about what your mission is, exactly. Are you evil robots, or are you actually interested in helping humanity repopulate the Earth? I only ask because while you were still nuke-happy in "Superman At Earth's End", you didn't want to KILL EVERYBODY!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, our two new characters are flying a 747, which naturally is in perfect working order after the apocalypse. Oh, but there are lots and lots of corpses still in their seats on the plane.
Linkara: Yeah, it wasn't the apocalypse that killed them, they'd just been waiting on the runway for too long.
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer's battle plate comes across them and shoots their plane down.
Ben Boxer: (narrating) Ben Boxer's Log: I would have preferred to force the 747 to land, so that we could conduct an investigation... Unfortunately, to prevent a collision, we had to shoot them out of the sky.
Linkara (v/o): And seeing as those laser beams are coming from directly ABOVE the 747, I think what you meant was that they were going to collide with the air in front of them, and you needed to prevent that. Instead, the plane collides with the ground, right in front Kamandi, Zom and Saphira. I'll give the comic this credit: once again, it takes on a very action movie-esque look as they drive their motorcycles away from the crashing plane. Badass. But less badass is that, despite seeing them outrun the crash, when we cut to the next page, suddenly, they're getting up out of the wreckage and Zom is proclaiming his irritation that their motorcycles are gone. Ah, sequential storytelling at its finest.
Kamandi: Look! Saphira Cohen's found a survivor!
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Look! I'm saying her full name for absolutely no reason!
Linkara (v/o): Mutton Chop Man, with his dying breath, asks them to find Vile John and to tell them that a thousand Deathslingers from the Night Zone are coming. And then he hands Saphira a human finger.
Duko: Give him... this...
Linkara: Dude, that's not what's meant when someone says they're offering their hand in marriage.
Linkara (v/o): Ooh, let's see how many other jokes I can milk out of this. Man, he really gave her the finger! (a rimshot is heard) Boy, that's finger-lickin' good! (another rimshot) I don't think that's what she meant by "finger food", man. (and another rimshot) Zom tells her to get rid of it, but Saphira says she's got a feeling they need to hang onto it.
Linkara: So, our first plot point revolves around dismembered body parts. Oh, man, I can just tell that this comic's gonna be a feel-good comedy! (gives a thumbs-up)
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer's diary states that they can't find Kamandi and are proceeding to Washington, D.C., in hopes of continuing the search. While the battle plate passes over them, the three sit around and discuss their next move. Since there are abandoned cars everywhere, it won't be too hard for them to get new transportation, but there's a difference of opinion on what direction to go. Zom wants to head north, away from the battle plate, but Kamandi says he's going south.
Kamandi: The road starts in Washington, D.C.
Linkara: Okay, I may have failed geography when I reviewed the first issue, but I'm pretty sure you can get to Arizona without first going to Washington, D.C.
Linkara (v/o): And don't try to tell me you need a road to Arizona, dude. You guys have been traveling on perfectly good road this entire frickin' time!
Saphira: Really? Washington, D.C.? They've got the biggest library in the world there!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Blake's 7)
Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow): (deadpan) Well, hooray for us.
(Cut back to the comic)
Kamandi: So? Books are the last thing we need.
Linkara: I don't know, I can think of something more useless.
(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Terror)
Rod (Alan Bagh): (holding up a caught fish) I got fish.
Nathalie (Whitney Moore): (holding up a Tupperware container of seaweed) I got the seaweed.
(Back to the comic again)
Saphira: Are you some kind of ignorant dog? Books are the best thing there is!
Linkara: Look, Saphria, I'm sure you enjoyed Reading Rainbow as a kid, but I think after the apocalypse, you need to start prioritizing.
Saphira: Books are full of thinking!
Linkara: Clearly, you've never read anything by Stephanie Meyer.
Saphira: Don't you like to think?
Linkara: Oh, Saphira, you've only just met Kamandi. Thinking is number 16 on his priorities list, right after whining about his computer mommy and operating ridiculous weaponry.
Linkara (v/o): They go through some cars, most of which lack fuel, due to it evaporating over the years. I'm sure there would be other maintenance problems, but whatever. But eventually, they find a van that seems to work, loading up food from the crashed airplane onto it. While Zom drives, and doesn't argue about them now heading to Washington, D.C., he says they should get some rest and take over for driving later. Oh, yeah, I'm sure the blond idiot who spent most of his days having virtual sex or cruising around underground pipes knows how to drive a stick.
Saphira: Good idea. I'm going to read a book.
Linkara: (dumbfounded) What books? You weren't carrying any books! They weren't carrying any books! Did you raid the 747 for the safety pamphlets?
Kamandi: Is that all you think about? ...There's a TV and VCR back there... I'm going to watch TV!
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Let's see what kind of reception we're getting on the TV.
(He pushes a button on a remote control and the screen fills with static briefly)
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Oh, man, it's my favorite show, Candle Cove.
Saphira: You don't care about books... but books are all I ever had.
Linkara: Oh, I get it: Saphira is the grown-up version of that girl from the Batman reading PSA, who is obsessed with reading anything with words on it.
(Cut to a man with an Australian accent, played by Lewis (almost like Mick Dundee from Crocodile Dundee) walking past the comic shelf, holding a bow and arrow)
Aussie Guy: PUSH THAT CART! (sees camera) Oh, we'll be right back. (walks off) THE CART'S MOVING THE WRONG WAY, YOU BLOODY WANKERS!
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner as we go to commercial; upon return, the sound of blood spurting is heard, and the Aussie guy returns)
Aussie: Ha! Not so smart with your brains outside your head! (sees camera) Uh, we're back now.
(He leaves, laughing, as the AT4W logo appears in the corner. The review resumes with Saphira arguing with Kamandi about her book-reading)
Linkara (v/o): I was just about to complain about a lack of character development, buuuut it seems the comic beat me to the pass. Saphira gives some brief backstory about living in her dead father's house in the mountains, just reading books all the time, while Kamandi tells talks about how she's the first real woman he ever met.
Saphira: The world is sure a scary place.
Linkara: It sure is. It's terrifying just thinking about how you guys have been traveling for potentially weeks on end without showering, especially Kamandi and his greasy hair.
Saphira: We could die at any minute.
Kamandi: Yeah, that's why we got guns...
Linkara: Kamandi is a real "glass half-full" kind of guy. He's also a "brain half-full" kind of guy.
Linkara (v/o): The TV set suddenly turns on, revealing Mother Machine.
Mother Machine: I have repaired the geosynchronous satellite system that has been dormant since 2050.
Linkara: (incredulously) How? You're an artificial intelligence who relied on Kamandi to do anything! (holds up Cybermat) Or do you have Cybermats who can help you fix stuff?
Mother Machine: Now hear me and hear me well.
Linkara: Oh, geez, here comes the timeshare pitch.
Mother Machine: I know you have taken companions on your quest for the man. I disapprove.
Linkara: Pat Robertson's new show is weird.
Mother Machine: However, these companions may be of some use to you, since you are at this moment the object of a hunt by Biomech androids. These powerful but irrational entities of low intelligence, endlessly faithful to their obsolete programming.
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) They follow the directives handed down to them by an old computer program called "Clippy". They now roam the countryside, seeking people and offering spelling assistance.
Linkara (v/o): Mother Machine briefs Kamandi on the Biomechs and how they seek to destroy her. Subsequently, he must show them no mercy, but avoid them at all costs.
Mother Machine: Be careful, my son. Watch out for the girl. Her motives are suspect.
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) She's a very kinky girl, the kind you don't bring home to Mother.
Linkara (v/o): They arrive in D.C... They're spending too much time here; they could be at the Post-Apocalyptic Magfest right now! ...and Saphira goes to the Library of Congress to check out some books. Kamandi says he doesn't know whether to trust the two.
Zom: If you don't trust us, you're dead, pal. Cuz all you've got is a big machine that says it loves you. How can you trust a machine?
Kamandi: Uhn... Damn, it's them again!
Linkara: That's our Kamandi! Don't actually try to rationalize anything, just point (points offscreen) and yell, "Hey, look over there!"
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer continues his log, stating that they think this may be their final destination, so they move in to capture Kamandi and kill the other two. You know, this is a big problem with this book. I commented on the bizarreness of Ben Boxer's logs, but this just points especially how, from a narrative standpoint, the logs are stupid. Instead of building suspense as to the Biomechs' motives or plans or even make them out as a credible threat just by being huge and imposing, instead, we have to read every stupid little thought on Ben Boxer's Twitter, so any sense of mystery or suspense is taken away! And in the short time since Saphira entered, she's already gotten up to the fifth floor and found a whole bunch of books, including ones about Mother Machine, which she throws one down to Kamandi. Like the true brain trust that he is, Kamandi starts reading the book while they're under threat by the Biomechs. Said Biomechs attack, spotting Saphira up on the other floor. They blast her with some kind of laser bazooka, and she plummets down. But that's okay; she survives easily. She landed on books! You know, the softest of all objects. As the Library of Congress is destroyed by the Biomechs, the three run out once again in an action movie image of the burning building behind them.
Linkara: Are these just the storyboards of some stupid movie and they all got crammed together to try to make a comic?
Saphira: Thousands of lovely books... blown to dust!
Zom: Guess we'll have to write some of our own!
Linkara: Could you start by making a better book than (gestures toward comic) this one?
Linkara (v/o): And yeah, they manage to get away and onto the Great American Highway, which has graffiti written on it: "No law! Go wild! Do what u want!"
Linkara: (excitedly) Oh, man, there's no law and order! I can finally do what I've always wanted: (pumps fist) WRITING ON STREET SIGNS!
Linkara (v/o): The Great American Highway is not actually Route 66 or anything like that; it's apparently a gigantic highway made after the first apocalypse, from D.C. to San Diego, that's FORTY MILES WIDE!! That's just three miles wider than Rhode Island! Geez, that's government spending for you: don't actually fix the roads, just build one huge-ass one!
Zom: God, it's weird... There's nuthin' out here... You could drive forever!
Linkara: (listlessly) And I'm sure we'll see every friggin' second of it.
Linkara (v/o): Since it's so free and open, Zom decides to activate cruise control.
Zom: We can cruise right towards Arizona... and the automatic radar will sound if there's anything in our line of sight...
Linkara (v/o): This random friggin' van had not only a TV and VCR built in, but also a radar?! Did US-1 get into car manufacturing at the end of this series or something? Oh, and it's also got a microwave or something since Saphira was able to make a freeze-dried turkey dinner. Of course! This is like a van a little kid designs.
Linkara: (as a little kid) And it's got a radar and a microwave and my own VCR and my own Super Nintendo and an ejection seat...
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi turns on the TV to see if Mother is trying to contact him again, but instead, they pick up a transmission from Ben Boxer's forces targeting some of Mother Machine's satellite systems. Kamandi is upset over this, but fortunately, Zom knows just the right thing to say.
Zom: What's the problem, K? --S'long as we got guns, everything is cool.
Linkara: Ah, the motto of the '90s.
(Cut to 90s Kid standing there)
90s Kid: Duuude, that's not true! We need more than guns!
Linkara: You do?
90s Kid: Cha! Obviously, we need a Sega CD, too! I mean, where would we be without that?
Linkara (v/o): The van comes under attack by guys in gigantic hot rod battle wagons. Yes, seriously! Kamandi and Saphira try using their ridiculously huge weapons, but they're evidently useless.
Saphira: Where does Sleeper get these weird guns? This thing doesn't have a trigger!
Linkara: (confused) Is... Is this comic self-aware?
Linkara (v/o): Nope, wait, turns out it's just some kind of rocket launcher. False alarm. Comic is still stupid. The rocket manages to take out the hot rods, but the pilots, in all their dumb, checkered pattern, and star branded kneecap glory... Seriously, what in the hell? ...survive and leap onto the van. However, the van screeches to a halt when they reach a makeshift wall. They're captured by "The Roadies", who want to know who the hell they are and what they're doing.
Kamandi: We're not your enemies... We're goin' to Arizona.
Roadie: Arizona, huh? Takin' a little vacation with the wife an' kids? An' I suppose the guns are for huntin' jackrabbits in the Grand Canyon?
Linkara: Dude, every single person in this idiotic world is carrying a gun. That's not an indicator that they're evil, that's just common sense!
Linkara (v/o): Also, the guy has "Moby" written one of his shoulder pads. Somehow, I doubt that these people are all made of stars. They take them to their leader, Vile John, who looks like M. Bison if you replaced the cool red coat for every Youngblood member ever! Seriously, grenades, pouches, random colors, huge shoulder pads...
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Undead)
Mike: (as knight) There, I'm sure glad I don't look stupid in this.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, they remember the message they were supposed to give about the Deathslingers coming when they recognize the name and they pass the finger over to him, which somehow proves they're telling the truth.
Vile John: I know this finger...
Linkara: (smiling) Hey, I've got a finger for you, too, if you want to see if you know that one.
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with them spotting the Deathslingers approaching on the horizon. Which means that Kamandi and his group arrive far for the information about their approach to mean a damn thing. HUZZAH.
Linkara: (holding up comic angrily) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): It continues to have no substantial character development, the environment just seems to be there to go from action scene to action scene, and Ben Boxer is UTTERLY USELESS! Even ignoring the lame log entries, he keeps saying that they need to grab Kamandi, even though they should be having this much trouble with it, considering how friggin' huge and powerful the ship is. The artwork personifies everything wrong with the '90s, all of its laziness and stupidity. And looking at the last page, I suddenly realize why they introduced the stupid forty-mile highway: so they wouldn't be bothered to draw actual background details! Nope, just a big mass of gray!
Linkara: I'd say I was disappointed by this thing for the start of the year, but honestly, that would imply I had any hopes for it to begin with. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Seriously, we're three issues in and all we know about Sleeper Zom is that he's been living in the post-apocalyptic world and his name is stupid.
I suppose the "rescue" they were referring to could have been from the first issue, but I don't care enough to double-check.
My favorite episode of Candle Cove is the screaming one. What people don't realize was that it was an error at the station – the Skin Taker had revealed his latest scheme and it was supposed to cut to them screaming, but the tape accidentally kept skipping back to the screaming bit. It's sad, too, since the episode actually has some of Pirate Percy's best lines ever.
(Stinger: The panel showing Saphira's dialogue about reading books is shown again)
Saphira: Books are full of thinking!