Kamandi Challenge #1 Review: A Fine Tribute to “The King”

Kamandi Challenge #1 Review: A Fine Tribute to

Gang, our Kamandi Challenge #1 review is a little SPOILER-Y, so…check back with us after you’ve read the issue. Oh? Still here? Thank you!

Writers: Dan Didio and Dan Abnett
Artists: Scott Koblish, Keith Giffen, and Dale Eaglesham

Boy, is Kamandi Challenge #1 a breath of fresh air. No multi-part crossovers that will change everything; no continuity fixing reboots, refreshes, or resets; no multi-media tie-in, no reaction to politics or social commentaries — Kamandi Challenge #1 is just a bunch of comic loving creators getting together to explore and have fun with one of Jack Kirby’s most stirring and original concepts.

Kamandi Challenge #1 is a tribute to “The King,” as all the creators involved have an eye towards the past works of Kirby while updating the concept of Kamandi for new readers. Kamandi Challenge #1 is an absolute blast as each writer and artist’s reverence for “The King” just exudes off the page.

For those not in the know, the concept of Kamandi Challenge is that every issue, new creators will take the cliffhanger from the previous issue and resolve it before presenting the next chapter. DC tried this sort of thing with DC Challenge back in the 1980s, but that project utilized the entire DC Universe; this challenge is filtered through the always inspiring imagination of Jack Kirby.

In this debut issue, the first tale is written by DC head honcho Dan Didio who presents a surreal Kamandi story that is part Wayward Pines and part The Prisoner. This disturbing little yarn is a Twilight Zone-like throwback that peppers in Kirby visuals and concepts to create a wonderful tribute to the Bronze Age tales of yore. Everything you expect from a Kamandi tale is here: the action, the men’s adventure-like throwback excitement, the political allegories, and the krackling Kirby energy.

The second tale is written by Dan Abnett as things get even more Kirby. This story introduces characters like King Tuftan as Kirby’s world is even further realized. Scott Koblish, Keith Giffen, and Dale Eaglesham all bring their own sense of design and wonder to the proceedings as they channel “The King” in a loving homage to one of Kirby’s most fertile periods of creativity.

It’s all under a cover by the great Bruce Timm and it is all so much fun to experience. Kamandi Challenge #1’s only agenda is to entertain and excite. It is not a huge part of this overall marketing tapestry, but a tribute to a man who we owe everything to. Kamandi Challenge #1 screams long live “The King,” and we love it!