Kamandi at Earth's End #6
September 8, 2014
Both virtual AND real brutality... on your eyes.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, I've put (holds up index finger) one awful sci-fi series with a dopey protagonist and a computer named (makes "finger quotes") "Mother" behind me, so... why not another?
Linkara (v/o): "Kamandi at Earth's End" tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic future, where men are overinflated parade balloons and women don't wear many clothes, and the clothes they do wear don't make a whole lot of sense. A bunch of chicken robots want to purge the Earth of mutations and whatnot, but they are opposed by Mother Machine. Or Machine Mother, since they flip the name around a lot. At some point, I expect them to start mixing the syllables so we have "MA-chine" or something. An artificial intelligence that wants to kill Superman... Oh, I'm sorry, Bearded Idiot... for reasons that are still unclear to me. I dunno, maybe she thought he could still destroy her, but considering he was sitting alone in a bunch of ruins for seemingly a hundred years, you're probably good. Hell, if he didn't try to fight you out of boredom after that much time, he's probably too far gone mentally to be any danger. Also, we learned that books are full of thinking.
Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Kamandi at Earth's End #6" and put another godawful miniseries to close.
(AT4W title sequence plays, and title has Letters to Cleo's cover of "Cruel To Be Kind" playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): So, last week, we had a good cover to conclude "SCI-Spy", so naturally, the conclusion to "Kamandi" is just crap. What the hell am I even looking at? Kamandi locked in some kind of machine, but he might be sitting, since I think those are his very lumpy knees. And what's with his hair? Did he just get an electrical shock, and so his hair is sticking out? Or are all of those cables actually a bunch of vacuums that are sucking at his hair? Wouldn't surprise me; they're not the only things sucking in this comic. Oh, and there's Slimer from Ghostbusters, I guess. I don't know, your guess is as good as mine at this point. It's like a giant green version of the monster from Basket Case.
Text: VIRTUAL BRUTALITY!
Linkara: So... it's fake brutality.
Linkara (v/o): We open with Bearded Idiot laying in the shadow of a Superman statue, which naturally survived right next to Mother Machine's heavily-guarded compound, despite Mother Machine's obvious contempt and hatred for Superman. Sure, it's just a statue, but we've already established Mother Machine as an emotional being, so why the hell wouldn't she blow the thing up?
Ben Boxer: (narrating) Ben Boxer's Log, October 1, 2101 A.D....
Linkara: (as Boxer) My parents say that I can kill Mother Machine if I can get 50,000 reblogs on this log entry.
Boxer: (narrating) Sky City withstood the attack of Machine Mother.
Linkara: If by (makes a "finger quote") "withstood", you mean, "had more holes put in it than elevator doors in an action movie".
Linkara (v/o): The attack has ceased for the moment, so Ben Boxer is bringing down the surviving chicken robots to investigate just what the hell happened.
Boxer: (narrating) Thanks to the book we took from the girl Saphira, we knew that Machine Mother's brain core was located six miles under the New York bunker.
Linkara: Books are not only full of thinking, they're full of spoilers.
Linkara (v/o): Ben Boxer's forces send in condensed solar energy into Superman to save his life, and he reports how he was able to fly and how Saphira and Kamandi are also still alive.
Boxer: Listen, Superman--if the kid is alive, then he's probably down in the bunker... seeing his precious Mother.
Linkara: (as Boxer) And she's probably chastising him about how he needs to get a job so he can move out and give her some damn grandkids.
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of, Kamandi and Saphira make their way through the underground tunnels, which now appear to be flooded, though who can tell with this craptastic artwork?
Saphira: Th-This is where you used to live?
Kamandi: Somethin's happened... It used to be nice. It wasn't like this.
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Damn low-income housing! It's ruining this whole neighborhood!
Kamandi: Watch it-- hellrat! The hellrats live in the dark places, deep in Mother's data core...
(Cut to a clip of The Princess Bride)
Westley (Cary Elwes): Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist.
(Then a rodent attacks Westley. Cut back to the comic)
Kamandi: Fixer told me about 'em... They escaped from the Gotham City genetics lab back when the virus hit.
Linkara: So, twin clones of Hitler and giant hellrats came from Gotham City's genetics lab. And people laugh when I say scientists are evil!
Kamandi: The labs were breeding all kinds of mutations... Dogs with vocal chords 'n' stuff like that.
Linkara: And thus we learn the true origins behind (poster for the following appears in the corner...) A Talking Cat!?!
Linkara (v/o): Also, he said these things were deep in Mother Machine's data core?! Oh, yeah, that's great for all the electronic equipment where you store your artificial intelligence. Escaped giant rat mutations – they're great for clearing away dust! Saphira tells Kamandi that she's got a weird feeling about Mother Machine and suspects she was firing on them earlier, knowing full well he was on the Skydeck. Mother Machine starts talking... and apparently, she's completely changed her tune since the end of the last issue. Now she's only too happy to let Saphira hang around, despite swearing murderous vengeance at the end of the last issue.
Linkara: Man, do you remember when this comic had consistency and tight plotting? Yeah, I don't, either. I'm just putting myself into a happy place and living in denial. (he looks up in wonderment and sighs with pleasure)
Mother Machine: What a lovely girl you've found... I'm sure she'll make a wonderful mate for you, Kamandi... You're destined to be the new Adam and Eve, father and mother of the new human race...
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) I've already picked out a lovely toaster for a wedding present.
Mother Machine: Come, my son... Climb into your favorite chair so we can talk... I have much to show you...
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) I've added a cup holder since you've been gone.
Kamandi: Y-Yes, Mother... But I thought you were angry with me?
Mother Machine: Angry? No... How can I be angry with the one that I love?
Linkara: (singing) Cruel to be kind, in the right measure. Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign.
Mother Machine: That's right... That's good. Now put on the reality mask... Gooood.
Linkara: You know, most parents usually discourage their kids from playing video games. Good to see a more progressive one.
Mother Machine: Now, as I spin my world around you...
Linkara (v/o): Right 'round, like a record, baby...
Mother Machine: ...let me ask you, my son... Why did you hurt me by disobeying and bringing this ugly... female creature into my house--?
Linkara: (as Kamandi) Uh, Mom, I-I'm getting mixed signals.
Mother Machine: Now Mother must punish you!
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) Enjoy having every issue of "SCI-Spy" flashed in front of your eyes at once! (as Kamandi) NO!! NO! IT'S SO BORING!
Linkara (v/o): Mother Machine calls Saphira a "little predator" and a "viper", unleashing creatures on her to try to kill her. Kamandi breaks free of the machine and asks what the hell Mother Machine's deal is, but she's more concerned about the fact that she now realizes that Bearded Idiot is still alive. Still, Kamandi goes to rescue Saphira.
Kamandi: Hold on, girl! I'm comin'!
Linkara: (making a gun shape with his fingers) I'm coming with this gun that I conveniently have now, no doubt having stored it up my ass. (normal) Seriously, it doesn't even look like the same gun he had with him on the opening pages. Where did he get that thing?!
Mother Machine: Bad Kamandi... Evil Kamandi... Mother knows Kamandi doesn't love Mother!
Linkara: (as Mother Machine) Mother knows the best way to reach you is to speak in the third person!
Kamandi: I do love you...
Linkara: (as Kamandi) But I love Stalin more.
Kamandi: ...but, damn it, Mother--they say you started it... They say you killed everybody!
Linkara: (wagging finger) Now, now, Kamandi, nobody cares who started the genocide.
Linkara (v/o): He frees Saphira from the creature and demands to know if Mother Machine caused the Second Apocalypse, but she doesn't answer, instead just saying that the "witch has taken over his mind."
Mother Machine: ...the ignorant victim of your sexual desires!
Linkara: This is a weird remake of Eyes Wide Shut.
Kamandi: That's a lie! I'm free! I'm a free man!
Linkara: (looks offscren with his fists up) I AM A FREE MAN!
(He does his usual punching motion and, after struggling to pull in what he punched, reveals that he has pulled in: Moarte's box)
Linkara: (confused) The hell?
Moarte: (offscreen) Whoever took my longbox better put it back!
Linkara: Sorry! My bad! (pushes box away)
Kamandi: A free man does anything he wants to!
Linkara: (as Kamandi) I'm gonna stay up late and watch R-rated movies and eat ice cream for breakfast, and you can't stop me, Mom!
Linkara (v/o): Mother Machine's had enough of the ramblings and just grabs them with robotic appendages. Meanwhile, Bearded Idiot leads Ben Boxer and a few weird-ass robots with chain-gun arms and shark heads and other assorted overblown '90s things through the tunnels, his enhanced senses allowing him to track them by smell. They start encountering obstacles. Apparently, Machine Mother was able to develop techno-organic materials into the very walls, letting her pull out weapons completely at will.
Linkara: And simply sending a robot to kill Superman with this technology was completely out of the question. No, no, no, no, she needed to send the sexually repressed muscle man who regularly takes (holds up two fingers) firearm enemas.
Boxer: (narrating) Some of the lasers she threw at us had a hundred gigawatts behind 'em-- they could melt ten-inch steel! --Fortunately, we had living twenty-inch steel!
Linkara (v/o): Very flexible steel, it would seem, given the fact that Bearded Idiot is in a classic Escher Girls boobs-and-butt pose. I don't get it, though; who wants to see Superman's boobs? They reach the room where Kamandi and Saphira are being held, Mother Machine saying she'll use them as bait.
Boxer: (narrating) Boxer's Log...
Linkara: (as Boxer) Why am I writing log entries while we're in the middle of a fight with my greatest enemy?
Boxer: (narrating) In the next second, Mother began bombarding us with powerful microwave beams that could cook us from the inside out!
Linkara: (as Boxer) The fool! She needs to pan-fry us, not microwave us! It ruins the flavor!
Linkara (v/o): Bearded Idiot just flies away from the attack.
Superman: Gotta save the kids!
Linkara: (as Superman) Gotta save the thirty-year-old kids!
Linkara (v/o): While Ben Boxer sets up a force field to protect the last of his troops, Bearded Idiot finishes saving Kamandi and Saphira. They still need to access Mother Machine's data core, so Kamandi volunteers to plug himself back into the chair, which will somehow allow him to hack into Mother Machine directly. Look, your guess is as good as mine at this point how he knows that will work. This stupid series is almost over and I'm just throwing up my hands if they try to plug up their plot holes with tissues.
Boxer: (narrating) I watched Kamandi's fingers play over the programming controls... exactly as Machine Mother had taught him...
Linkara: (yelling in exasperation) WHY THE HELL WOULD SHE TEACH HIM HOW TO ACCESS HER CODE?!
Mother Machine: What are you doing? What are you doing? Oh, dear, I was afraid of this... Kamandi! Kamaaa--
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching 12 to the Moon)
Tom Servo: This makes no sense, and yet it's working.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): However, Mother Machine soon disappears and is replaced by an image of Carol, Kamandi's cyber girlfriend. Kamandi thinks Mother Machine sent her to try to get him to stop, but she claims she sent herself. And since he's in the stupid virtual reality chair, they're now back in the beach simulation with its sky made of pink lemonade. And somewhere in that pink, Natalie Stack is battling terrorists. Carol tries to distract Kamandi by flashing her boobs like in the first issue, but Kamandi isn't buying it and admits he's already gotten into the "operations matrix" and disrupts the image of her.
Carol: Ka-MANdi! This isn't RIGHT... I never hurt you--! Kamandi... why... w-why are you KILLING me?
Kamandi: Don't be silly, Carol. You never lived... How can you be killed?
Linkara: Wouldn't it be funny if Carol was an artificial intelligence and was just under Mother Machine's sway, and so Kamandi just committed wholesale murder of an intelligent being? (laughs) And by "funny", I mean, I HATE THIS COMIC! (scowls)
Kamandi: Ben... Superman... I'm through the virtual reality interface...
Linkara: Lawnmower Man 3: Kamandi's War.
Linkara (v/o): As Kamandi continues to tear apart Mother Machine's code, her visual representation falls apart, but she's able to summon a giant monster. Ben Boxer says that it's made of pure energy and that it...
Boxer: (narrating) ...seemed constructed of all the rage and murder of the twenty-first century-- yet it was strangely voiceless, as if its hellish urge to scream was being smothered and redirected into its strength.
Linkara: Good, one less character to say annoying and stupid things.
Linkara (v/o): Superman engages the creature while Ben thinks they should withdraw since it seems hopeless.
Superman: Not hopeless, Ben. Nothing's hopeless.
Linkara: (as Boxer) Well, how about hoping that "The New 52" gets undone? (as Superman) I said nothing's hopeless, Ben. I didn't say it was realistic.
Linkara (v/o): Kamandi finally manages to breach Mother Machine's defenses and destroys the creature, reaching her brain core. Another virtual reality construct pops up, but now it's an older woman in robes who appears before Kamandi.
Kamandi: W-Who are you?
Older woman: It's time you knew the truth, son...
Linkara: (as the older woman) There's no such thing as "Santa Claus At Earth's End". (an image of the bearded Superman is shown in the corner) That doesn't count!
Older woman: Your father designed the machine. He was the chief engineer of the bunker system. To program such a complex machine using the old ways was impossible. He devised a new way.
(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial)
Avery Brooks: It's a different kind of world. You need a different kind of software.
(Cut back to the comic)
Older woman: A real person would become the basis for the operating system of the machine. All the contents of a human brain could be read by the computer...
Linkara: (as the older woman) We called it "Windows Brain Edition".
Kamandi: W-What are you saying?
Older woman: I had an I.Q. of 192. I was perfect... and I was willing, because I loved him. What I didn't know... What he didn't tell me... was that the process would kill me.
Linkara: Can this marriage be saved?
Older woman: I'm your mother, Kamandi... I'm your real mother.
Linkara: Uh, Mother Machine caused the Second Apocalypse 100 years ago! Unless Kamandi is actually 100 years old, I don't think that's the case!
Kamandi's mother: Yes, my mind is in the machine... I have haunted the machine like a ghost... I became insane. You know the rest.
Linkara: (as Kamandi's mother) Now, then, why don't you ever call or come to visit me?
Linkara (v/o): They hug, and I know I'm supposed to feel bad, but none of this makes sense, and I don't care anymore. Hmm? Oh, right, I never cared to begin with.
Kamandi's mother: The soul of the machine... my soul... has become numbers... millions of numbers which add up to-- nothing.
Linkara: Lots of zeroes in the computer, lots of zeroes out of the computer... It's all the same, really.
Linkara (v/o): And so, Machine Mother is gone and the world is saved. (flatly) Yay. Kamandi and Saphira decide to stay on Earth in the ruins from the last two issues.
Boxer: (narrating) Even the one called Sleeper Zom wanted to go home, so we fitted him with biomech legs.
Linkara: Wait, WHAT?!?! Sleeper Zom is still alive?! BULL... CRAP!! Dude's legs were blown off and he was left lying in a pool of his own blood while the Sky City was under heavy fire! Although, looking at the guy, he seems to have lost a lot of his bulk. Maybe the blood loss just resulted in him deflating a bit. Bearded Idiot says his goodbyes to the group.
Boxer: C'mon, Superman-- we've got work to do. I want to show you our plan for Gotham City.
Linkara: And, if you'll recall "Superman At Earth's End", that plan was to... nuke Gotham City. (gives a thumbs-up)
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Kamandi and Saphira deciding to repopulate the human race. Oh, yeah, the post-apocalyptic wastelands are a great place to raise a family, especially when Kamandi and Saphira are lucky to have just as much combined intellect as a single child. Sleeper Zom decides to take a car and go on adventures throughout the world. Fortunately, we were spared a "Sleeper Zom At Earth's End".
Boxer: (narrating) The humans--Kamandi and Saphira and Sleeper Zom--knew that destiny had thrust a great task upon them. They were the beginning of the future.
Linkara: And as evidenced by both "SCI-Spy" and "Kamandi at Earth's End", the future is dumb! (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks!
Linkara (v/o): I'll give "Kamandi at Earth's End" credit that it's a thousand times more interesting than "SCI-Spy", but mostly in how laughable it reads. The dialogue is ridiculous, tedious and insipid; the story itself is just a stretched-out road trip with a few stops that have no real effect on the characters or the plot; and speaking of the plot, the holes in it are large enough to drive the Sky City through! Many people have commented that there's potential in the idea of Superman in a post-apocalyptic setting, but it sure as hell can't be found here! This is a story that nobody was asking for, with artwork that nobody was enjoying, and all of this spawned a sequel that was offensive to me as both a Superman fan and a fan of good comics!
Linkara: I started this whole thing wanting to know how "Kamandi at Earth's End" led to "Superman At Earth's End". And I guess I fulfilled that wish. And now, thankfully, I never have to think about it EVER AGAIN! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Kamandi DOES have character development, which is more than you can say for SCI-Spy... But Kamandi is still a loathsome piece of crap, sooo make of that what you will.
Kamandi may be a free man, but he'll never be as free as John Freeman, who was Gordon Freeman's brother...
(Stinger: Boxer's final words on Kamandi, Saphira and Sleeper Zom's destiny are shown again)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, just to add to the pointlessness of Kamandi and Saphira's "destiny" to repopulate the human race, we see that there are still normal humans in "Superman At Earth's End". Welcome to "Complete Waste of Time: The Comic".