Monday, January 13, 2020

Kamandi #58

Kamandi #58 
"Enter the Legionnaire"
script by Jack C. Harris
co-plotting with Bob Rozakis
art by Dick Ayers and Danny Bulanadi
lettered by Shelly Leferman
colored by Mario Sen
edited by Al Milgrom
cover by James Sherman (penciller) and Bob McLeod (inker)
cover date: Aug/Sept 1978
review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
dedicated affectionately to Glenn "Continuity Kid" Walker

Are you ready for the weirdest team-up in Legion history? Here's a story that no one ever thought could happen, with DC's two major "futures" coming into contact for the first (and until the Crisis, only) time. Karate Kid was just trying to return to the 30th Century, but somehow he lands in the Great Disaster. Now he's involved with the Last Boy on Earth, as he and Kamandi are co-starring in a movie for a bunch of lobsters....!?! Read on, McDuff!

When last we saw our intrepid hero, Karate Kid had been placed in an egg-like contraption next to the Last Boy on Earth. This turns out to be a special projection booth on the Isle of God Watchers, aka an abandoned drive-in movie theatre. Karate Kid is somehow projected into a movie with Kamandi, and the current feature is a kung fu picture!
"In" the movie, Karate Kid is totally confused and thinks (again) that everything is a trick of some sort engineered by Major Disaster and the Lord of Time. So he picks a fight with Kamandi, who initially thinks that Karate Kid is just another character in the movie. As soon as Karate Kid mentions Kamandi's friends Dr. Canus and Bloodstalker, however, he realizes that Karate Kid is "real" and tries to explain to him what is actually happening.
If I was a regular reader of Kamandi  and at this point a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes showed up as a guest-star I would be so confused.

Of course, if I was only reading Karate Kid and then had to pick up this issue of Kamandi....I would totally want to smoke a joint to try to figure out what the hell is going on here. Lobster drive-ins? Talking dogs? Who or what is "the last boy on Earth?" What the what....?!?!
Oh, wait. That IS what happened to me! So let's keep reading and see if we can figure out what the heck is going on here together, shall we?

So while Kamandi and Karate Kid are trying to figure out what is going on, Kamandi's friends Canus and Bloodstalker have trailed Karate Kid to the island of movie fan lobsters to try to free their human friends. As the movie scene changes from a fight scene to a love scene, Kamandi succeeds in explaining that he was kidnapped by lobsters (in Kamandi #57 "our" time) and added to the special projector system. Now Karate Kid has been added, too. I guess it's like a double feature? Or a "buddy film"? (It's not that type of love scene, by the way.)
Outside the projection booth Canus and Bloodstalker pretend to have been hit by the lobsters' paralyzing rays so that the lobsters will approach them. The canines think that if the lobsters get close enough to them, then the good guys can grab the lobsters' weapons. Turning the tables on the lobsters nicely, the dogs manage to barge into the projection booth.

This causes the film to warp, just as Kamandi and Karate Kid realized that the best way to get themselves out of their predicament is to do nothing. That way, the lobster movie fans will revolt and demand that the "gods" be switched to someone more entertaining, like John Travolta or Robert DeNiro.
Although the film switches from a kung fu picture to Robin Hood, King Kong, and Frankenstein, the boys refuse to participate in the scenes. As Kamandi predicted, the lobsters revolt and want the "gods" of the film kicked out.
Lobsters storm the projection booth right after the two dogs do. The violence subjected to the projection machinery causes it to burst into flames, and then to explode. In the chaos the dogs and their boys manage to escape. Just as the booth explodes, Pyra in her space ship flies by and picks our heroes up.
On Pyra's ship, she explains that Karate Kid has a Sophie's Choice to make: she can use her link to the Vortex to send him and Iris back to their proper time-line OR she could use her abilities to cure Iris of being Diamondeth. Somehow, now that we need her to be able to do both, she can't. Although she was able to switch Diamondeth back to Iris relatively easily in the first part of this story, she seems to have lost that ability. Whatever.
Karate Kid of course chooses to be sent back to "his" time-line. Pyra taps the energy from the Vortex and is able to send Karate Kid and Iris away in their time bubble, which was not destroyed by a bitchin' ass wave last time, as we all saw. Must have been the pot giving us a hallucination. Kawabunga, dudes and dudettes.
The Lord of Time and Major Disaster are very angry that Karate Kid is able to escape them, as the time bubble disappears and Major Disaster and the Lord of Time break-up and never work together again. And what's worse, we never learn how they managed to team up in the first place and what the hell their plan(s) were.
After Karate Kid and Iris depart, Kamandi's group continues on in Pyra's space ship as they head towards the actual Vortex, but they are stopped when they come upon the Wondrous Western Wall. And no, even though I am typing all of these words out I have no effing clue as to what they mean. The Vortex? The Wondrous Western Wall? No idea what any of that stuff means. This was my one and only issue of Kamandi, so maybe somebody can enlighten us all in the comments section as to what this all is supposed to mean.

And that, dear readers, is the last we see of Karate Kid on his own! When next we see him he is back with the Legion of Super-Heroes. But what of Iris Jacobs? Stay tuned, because we will have two more posts to wrap up the loose ends from Karate Kid: The Series! 

Fights Per Issue:
Karate Kid vs Kamandi: 4 pages
Dogs vs Lobsters: 2 pages

This is another low FPI (Fights Per Issue) ratio. However, as I mentioned, this team-up represents two different future continuities meeting so obviously there has to be a lot of talk to try to explain what is going on. Still, I would have liked to have seen a few more lobsters get their tails kicked before the troupe escaped in Pyra's ship.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Karate Kid's story continues in Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #244. 
  • Kamandi and his troupe's story continues in Kamandi #59. 
  • The Lord of Time is called The Time Lord throughout this story. Who? 
  • Then-current Legion artist Jim Sherman provided the cover to this issue. It was his only Kamandi cover. 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.


  1. That joint you wanted to smoke to figure this story out. I think the writer beat you to it. Boy, some team-ups work and some don't. This was for sure a WTF kind of team up.

  2. You could say the first crossover of DC's futures (Legion and Kamandi) happened in Superman 295 in 1976. Superman is sent by the Time Trapper into Kamandi's future and battles a descendent wearing his costume.


    1. I've never heard of that one, I'll have to track it down.
      And of course, Batman met Kamandi before this issue, too.

    2. In that one, we not only find that the Legion's future is different from Kamandi's future, but also there's a Green Lantern named Xenofobe protecting Earth in the Legion's time. We never see him again. It's my head canon that after Universo lost his GL ring, it went to Xenofobe until Rond Vidar was old enough.

  3. Kamandi returns to the 30th century with Iris (as Diamondeth) just in time to meet Superboy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl at the end of "Superboy & the LSH" #244 as Mordru is revealed to be the one behind it all. Iris is taken to Mercury and cured early in issue #246, and returned to the 20th century. She makes one more appearance, in "Brave & Bold" #198.

    The "Kamandi" series was cancelled with issue #59, as part of the DC Implosion. What would have been issue #60 was "printed" as part of the legendary "Cancelled Comic Cavalcade", and in that story it is revealed to Kamandi that his Earth is a parallel Earth to the one that Karate Kid lives on (using the familiar "infinite earths" motif and multiple Flashes), showing the Legion HQ. In what would have been issue #61, it is revealed that in whatever Earth we find Kirby's Sandman, his sidekick Jed is Kamandi's counterpart on that Earth.

    Don't worry about the Vortex and the Western Wall, they're beyond the scope of this blog and it's too long to get into.

    1. Uh....spoilers! You just wrote up my next two posts! :-)