Kamandi at Earth's End #5
March 17, 2014
Random Geometry and Physiology at Earth's End.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. "Kamandi" time again! Let's recap.
(Cut to black)
(Shots of the first four issues of "Kamandi" are shown)
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi was just a boy, a mere boy of thirty, judging by the looks of him. A computer made him go onto the post-apocalyptic surface to murder Superman, and he met a guy named Sleeper Zom and a woman named Saphira. Zom taught him about dinosaurs and their war with humanity in the early '90s, while Saphira taught him that books are full of thinking. They're being chased by the chicken robots of Ben Boxer, who I guess hates the amount of thinking that books contain. After dealing with mutants and wannabe M. Bison, the characters have finally reached their target: a bearded idiot who is supposed to be Superman.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Kamandi at Earth's End #5" and see if Bearded Idiot is as much of a hypocritical dumbass as he was at "Superman At Earth's End".
(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has "Wheel In the Sky" by Journey playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is BLACCH: Kamandi and Bearded Idiot running on top of some kind of mechanical floor. Well, I say "running", but more likely, Bearded Idiot is hobbling. His legs are gigantic, each one almost as thick as his torso. Hell, one leg doesn't even resemble a leg. Looks like some kind of hideous growth from his hip. I also love how there's this yellow outline around his arm to differentiate it from his leg, since the thing is so overmuscled and thick that you wouldn't be able to tell where the arm starts and the leg begins without it. Although, maybe his legs aren't actually that big and he's just wearing really huge parachute pants. This was the mid-'90s; he could have just been a huge MC Hammer fan. It would also explain why there's unnecessary black rectangles and red lines on the pants. Hey, dumbass artists! Superman's classic costume is one of the most perfectly balanced superhero outfits ever created, with just the right amount of blue and red. Tweaking stuff like the Superman logo? Yeah, that tends to work out fairly well. But adding stupid flourishes like black rectangles to his pants? You're not innovative, you're just obsessed with random geometry!
Linkara: (looking thoughtful) Actually, having some kind of geometry fetish would explain a lot of the artwork of the '90s.
Linkara (v/o): We open where left off last time, with Mother Machine telling Kamandi to kill Superman. Unfortunately for them, Superman is still roited up like a pink rabbit, so he grabs Kamandi by the wrist and slams him into the ground.
Superman: Stronger than you, boy!
Linkara (v/o): Um, can he hear Mother Machine talking about how he's old and weak? Otherwise, there's no reason to say that. Sleeper Zom says they'll care of him... and I just noticed that Superman's belt has pouches on it.
Linkara: Really, artist? Really? You know, at least the likes of "Youngblood" carried guns and other weapons, so they had a reason for the pouches. What the hell good is a random pouch for Superman?!
Linkara (v/o): And don't tell me it's for carrying extra supplies or a place to put kryptonite shards or something. He wears the damn outfit under his clothes. Where the hell is he gonna hide that belt? (sarcastically) Oh, well, it's post-apocalyptic, so he'd use it to carry around supplies– NO!! STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE DUMBASS COMIC AND ITS DUMBASS ARTISTIC CHOICES! They put pouches on Superman's belt because that's what every other hero in the '90s did, even though it makes no sense! Anyway, Zom decides to open fire with his ridiculous gun that apparently just shoots all of its spent shell casings out in a perfectly diagonal line in big chunks. You know, at the speed they're going, and without any particular pattern, those things have got to be ricocheting off each other and hitting people in the eye. Maybe you need some safety glasses to operate your stupid ludicrous gun that you can hold one-handed. Oh, and I double-checked: he didn't have this gun at the end of the last issue.
(Cut to Phelous, who gives a double thumbs-up)
Phelous: Great continuity!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Or perhaps he was just storing it up his enormous backside.
Ben Boxer: (narrating) Ben Boxer's Log, September 30, 2101, A.D...
Linkara: (as Ben) Steve forgot to refill the coffee machine again. (clenches fist) I'm already planning his demise.
Ben Boxer: (narrating) Machine Mother had sent Kamandi and his friends on a deadly mission... to find and kill a man...
Linkara: (as Ben) Well, at least I assume he's a man. I hope he can declare whether or not he is one while punching me in the stomach.
Linkara (v/o): Mother Machine congratulates Kamandi on a job well done – even though it was Sleeper who did it. Kamandi as always was useless. Saphira says that she had read about Superman, that he was supposed to be the strongest and bravest man in the world, though at this point, I'd imagine he's the strongest in being unhygienic. Hard to find clean sources of water to bathe in after the apocalypse when you're just living in ruins. It'd probably explain the Santa Claus beard, too.
Kamandi: I'll tell you who he was--he was the evil man who killed all the people in the world-- except us.
Linkara: And all the mutants, all the people in the bunkers, any other human survivors that we've seen just kind of trolling around the place. Man, Superman sure sucks at killing everybody.
Linkara (v/o): A rather loud robot with multiple appendages suddenly sneaks up on them – and there's a contradiction for you, since we can see the sound effect words, and it seems like this is the kind of thing that'd be hard to miss – and manages to grab the three, although it may not actually be a robot, but some kind of giant probe sent down from Ben Boxer's battle plate... which is also stealthy as all hell, despite being, well, that huge and obvious.
Kamandi: Huh? Them again?
Sleeper Zom: The freakin' sky squirrels!
Linkara: More like sky chickens, frankly.
Boxer: (narrating) We had followed Kamandi and his pals clear across the country, from New York to Arizona. They had proved what it takes to hunt and kill an old man.
Linkara: Clearly the most herculean of tasks.
Boxer: (narrating) Now it was time for them to answer to a higher power.
Linkara: You're a power, all right, but I think the (makes a "finger quote") "higher" part is debatable. (beat) Unless you're just high.
Boxer: Why did Machine Mother send you to kill this harmless old man?
Kamandi: He deserved to die!
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer recognizes Superman, having helped the "master scientists" in constructing the orbital laboratory where they came from.
Boxer: (narrating) Like him, I was more than 100 years old... Unlike him, I don't age... I don't die... I am endlessly repaired*, thanks to biomech technology.
- NOTE: Boxer actually says, "endlessly repairable".
(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial, with the phrase: "Simply the world's most powerful software", before being replaced by a new phrase, "E business software", and the IBM logo)
Announcer (Avery Brooks): It's a different kind of world. You need a different kind of software.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And six pages in, we finally get a title page: "TO A CITY IN THE SKY!"
Linkara: But does this city in the sky keep on turning?
Boxer: (narrating) Sky City. The Master Scientist Guild built it after they became politically independent in the late 20th century.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, I remember that. People claimed their independence was a fabricated distraction from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Boxer: (narrating) Here they created many marvels, including the Biomech Androids.
Linkara: Ah, yes, the Roombas.
Linkara (v/o): A robotic guard – at least, I assume it's robotic, since it seems to have a coffee can for a head; maybe it's torn from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – says that the humans aren't allowed to enter the city, but Ben Boxer explains that they're prisoners.
Boxer: We have accomplished many things on our tour of Earth's cities.
Linkara: (as Boxer) We've played to sold-out crowds across the world!
(Cut to Lewis holding up a Pokeball to a Bulbasaur doll)
Lewis: Get in the ball.
Lewis: Get in the ball!
Lewis: GET IN THE BALL!
Lewis: (looking up to see he's on camera) We'll be right back. (back to Bulbasaur) GET IN THE BALL!
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner)
Lewis: Get in the ball!
(We go to a commercial break. Upon return, Lewis stumbles around, holding out the Pokeball, which seems to be struggling)
Lewis: STAY IN THE BALL! STAY... IN... THE BALL! (looks up) We're back now! STAY IN THE BALL!
(Lewis stumbles offscreen as the AT4W logo appears in the corner. Cut back to the comic again as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): He [Ben Boxer] says the humans will help him finish off Machine Mother, and they're allowed in, held in place while standing up, thanks to... an easily-escapable restraint that they can probably just slide out of if they just tried, you know, sitting down. The restraints look like smooth metal. Seriously, all they have to do is suck in their guts and get out. Well, okay, maybe not Saphira, but the other two could probably do it. (The next panel shows a purple... creature guarding the captives) Also, what in the hell Michigan is that supposed to be?! It's got really thin, short legs; it's purple; has a big metal cylinder for a neck and collar; and a tiny little head with wires and two yellow eyes. Oh, and it's muscle-bound like crazy! Can't forget that. Sleeper expresses his regret about going on this journey and leaving New York.
Sleeper Zom: I could be havin' fun instead of this crap!
Linkara: (sarcastically) Oh, yeah, you totally would have had fun living in the remains of your little fortress with the "keep out" sign. You know, the one that was blown up and stuff, with nobody there to talk to or anything? Or perhaps your favorite activity is sleeping. (shrugs) Would explain your name.
Kamandi: Hey, no sweat, Sleeper! I thought you liked adventure! Besides, Mother never forgets... Mother will help us!
(Linkara stares sourly at the camera, not amused, then cut to a clip of an episode of Scrubs)
Dr. Cox: (to J.D.) Congratulations. Your DiMaggio-like streak for saying nothing even remotely interesting is (gives a double thumbs-up) still alive and well.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Ben Boxer is talking to a recovering Superman. They apparently put him under a sunlamp to help restore his body and mind. Also, there's this robot here named Dan T, who I can't help but feel I've seen before. He kind of looks like a robotic Kilowog from the Green Lantern books, but there's something about the overall head shape and jawline. I'm thinking like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Frankenstein, Junior, maybe? I don't know, something familiar I can't pin it down. Apparently, the Bearded Idiot has been weakened because he was living under the polluted atmosphere without any exposure to the sun ever since the Second Apocalypse... which was like a hundred years ago in this comic. How the hell is he so damn muscle-bound if he's been living in a post-apocalyptic environment without his powers?! At least Kamandi had the benefit of living underground and getting nutrition and exercise and crap with Mother Machine's guidance! How the hell does anybody who's scrounging for food and water in this environment managed to balloon up like characters do in this damn series?! Superman claims that the apocalypse is his fault, but Ben Boxer and Dan T fill in the details and show how, well, it isn't.
Dan T: Our information is that Apocalypse II...
Linkara: "Apocalypse II: Electric Boogaloo".
Dan T: ...was initiated by the systems-computer that was built to govern all Earth technology--the Coremind Mc7000.
Linkara: (incredulously) What dumbasses who have never seen a Terminator movie in their friggin' lives would ever think that was a smart idea?!
Superman: I was against creating such a powerful machine. I knew what could happen. But I was overruled by the politicians.
Linkara: (tosses comic in the air) Thanks, Obama!
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, the Coremind Mc7000 was Mother Machine. It quickly gained self-awareness that evolved into paranoia and unleashed a virus that wiped out most of the world's population and mutated others. They bring in our (clears throat) "heroes" to interrogate them on what they know about Mother Machine. Kamandi is pissed that Superman's still alive, still thinking he's the one who killed everybody. Superman tries to say it was Mommy Dearest, but Kamandi's having none of it. However, it seems that a book Saphira was carrying around contains the location of Mother Machine's brain core. If they destroy that, she's gone.
Linkara: It seems books are also full of plot convenience.
Linkara (v/o): They ask Kamandi about what sort of defenses she has, but naturally, he's not telling anything, and they're back to their... well, cell, I guess we can call it.
Linkara: Congratulations! That scene accomplished jack squat! I'm so glad it took us five issues to get to this point!
Linkara (v/o): On the way back, Sleeper says what they're saying makes sense and he doesn't trust Mother Machine. Kamandi is belligerent, but Saphira offers this bit of "wisdom".
Saphira: Even if this "Mother" thing did all the stuff they say she did, we're a team now. We should stick together. It's us against them.
Linkara: Yeah! Even if they're absolutely right and you've been manipulated and tricked this entire time, stay the course and continue to be manipulated and tricked because you're a team! (beat) Remind me again how the hell you guys are sill alive!
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer takes Superman on a tour of the ship's weapons, explaining that their goal is to cleanse the Earth, restore stability and rebuild human civilization. They want Superman to help with that.
Superman: It will take many years... centuries, even. You'll be here... You're an android. I won't be around to see it.
Linkara: Dude, you've already lasted well over a hundred years, and the only side effect is looking like Santa Claus. Don't count yourself out just yet.
Linkara (v/o): However, the two are interrupted by a sudden explosion in front of them. It seems they've arrived at the core's location, but Mother Machine has been busy over the last hundred years, building powerful long-range defensive lasers. They fire back, but their little floating city... Er, wait, they brought the whole city? Maybe you want to scout the place first before you send in everything?! ...is taking a pounding. Kamandi and company hear the sounds of the blasts, and they decide now is their chance. Sleeper somehow knocks off the head of the purple thing, but there's another blast closer to them that... um, eradicates Sleeper's legs. And it's considerably more gruesome than we've gotten so far. Yeesh! He tells Kamandi to take Saphira and to leave him.
Kamandi: You're crazy... We're taking you with us!
Sleeper: Don't be a jerk, K. My arteries are pumpin' like open sewers!
Linkara: With how high your blood pressure has to be with your physique, that does not surprise me. Also, eww!
Linkara (v/o): And so the two make a run for it. Yeah, don't bother to mourn him or be sad about his loss. I mean, it's not like you guys were a team or anything.
Linkara: But no, I'm not surprised by the lack of emotion. After all, Sleeper Zom would have to have some kind of character or something in order for us to be invested in him and thus care if he's living or dead.
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi and Saphira reach the battle plate, identified by Ben Boxer as "The Skydeck", and start trying to get it to take off.
Boxer: Kamandi! Wait! We need that deck! We've got to evacuate the city! The old broad is hittin' us with tactical nukes!
Linkara: (massaging the bridge of his nose in frustration) Ugh! Okay, (holds up index finger) one, (makes a "finger quote") "old broad"? Really, Ben?! The hell kind of android are you? (holds up two fingers) Two, tactical nukes? Well, Kamandi and Saphira are dead – radiation! (holds up three fingers) Three, I didn't know nukes came in laser form!
Linkara (v/o): Bearded Idiot leaps over to the deck as it flies off, but that just makes it a prime target for Mother Machine, who opens fire on the thing and instantly makes it crash. Naturally, Saphira and Kamandi start falling to their deaths, but Ben Boxer narrates the flippin' obvious to us: that Superman has been unable to fly for so many years, but when presented with the possibility of both his death – yeah, right – and the deaths of the other two, he starts flying and saves them.
Linkara: (listlessly) Oh, goody, they're alive. Now the comic can continue.
Linkara (v/o): Bearded Idiot's memory starts to come together on what to do to stop Mother Machine, but his powers are beginning to fade under the weakened light. As such, with his remaining strength, he starts clawing away at the place in order to reach the core. Kamandi tries to hit him with a pipe, but it goes about as well as you'd expect.
Superman: Kid, it's time you faced some hard truths--!
(The Superman logo appears while the theme from the Superman movie by John Williams plays)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Superman: dealer of harsh lessons!
Superman: Admit it-- You're emotionally plugged into a machine... a machine that killed off the entire human race.
Kamandi: Boxer's wrong. You're wrong. You don't know anything. You're just an old man.
(Cut to a clip of The Room)
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau): Everybody betrayed me! I'm fed up with this world!
(Back to the comic again)
Superman: Think about it, Kamandi...
Linkara: Ooh, telling Kamandi to think? That's asking a bit too much of him, dude.
Superman: ...you call a computer your mother? A computer that kills?
Linkara: (as Superman) I mean, if she was peaceful, it would be perfectly okay to call a computer your mother.
Linkara (v/o): Mother Machine pops up with a display and another superpowered laser that she shoots at Superman, knocking him away. She tells Kamandi he's done well and opens up a door for him to return underground.
Mother Machine: I need you, Kamandi. I need your help in the battle that I must now wage against my enemies!
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) You'll make a great meat shield, Kamandi!
Linkara (v/o): He asks if he can bring Saphira down, too, but she refuses.
Mother Machine: You have Carol to give you pleasure. This girl is not permitted.
Kamandi: But, Mother... Carol's only a simulation... I can't have children with Carol...
Linkara: Oh, dear Lord, just try to imagine Kamandi raising kids. (as Kamandi) Son, books may be full of thinking, but they won't make your muscles big. Daughter, why don't you have any holes cut out of your pants? What if your mother saw you?
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi tells Saphira to come in with him anyway.
Saphira: I'm... scared... She looks evil.
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, I can tell how frightened you look with that completely normal expression on your face. And so, our comic ends with the two entering while Mother Machine screams at him that he'll be punished for this.
Text: Next: The Soul of a Sinister Machine!
Linkara: And ("finger quotes") "The Soul of a Sinister Machine" is going to suck! (closes comic and holds it up) Just like this comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): Ugh! What's there to say at this point? The problems with this series persist, but now they've killed off a main character, and it's completely shrugged off. Why did I want to review this series again?
Linkara: Oh, yeah, it's because I wanted to see where Bearded Idiot first came about. And now I've seen it. And it's just as crappy as I thought it'd be! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
'Seriously, why the hell WAS his name "Sleeper?"
And they're STILL indecisive about whether it's "Machine Mother" or "Mother Machine."
MAKE A CHOICE AND STICK WITH IT.
Oh, and Superman's belt? It was different in the previous issue. No one gave a rat's ass with this book at all, did they?
(Stinger: The final panel showing Mother Machine vowing to punish Kamandi for bringing in Saphira is shown)
Mother Machine: --Now I will have to punish you, Kamandi!
Linkara (v/o): (as Mother Machine) No weightlifting for three weeks! (as Kamandi) But Mooooom! (as Mother Machine) I MEAN IT! (as Kamand) You are evil!