Bear With Me
Writer: Steve Orlando
Penciller: Philip Tan
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Dean White
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clem Robins
Main Cover Artists: Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: July 28, 2017
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Alright, a brand-new creative team for the new issue of Kamandi Challenge! Let’s take a look at the credits an…oh. Huh. Well, there’ll be a new creative team next issue. See what I thought of #6 in my review, right here!
Last issue concluded as Mark the Indiana Jones tiger happened upon a grisly scene: some marsupial mad scientist had cracked Kamandi open like a lobster and harvested his organs to use as templates for his life-saving 3-D cellular printer or some such. In the present, Kamandi is being kept alive, barely, by a host of machines that, really, should look more Kirby than they do. Mark gut-shoots the scientist and says that if he wants to save himself, he’ll save Kamandi…which doesn’t actually make any sense, if the good doctor wants to print his own needed organs and not Kamandi’s, I don’t see that Mark would even know the difference. I suppose Mark has the scientist at a disadvantage, to the extent that he needs to be direct Mark how to use the danged thing because the rodent-man is slowly dying. Realizing that he won’t last the hours needed to print his organs in the first place, our furry scientist expires angrily, and then somehow several days later Mark has revived Kamandi? Wait, didn’t he need the doctor to tell him how to use the organ printer? And how did Kamandi outlast that rat guy in his state. Oh Steve Orlando, you’re pulling shenanigans again!
Having served his usefulness, more or less, Mark tells Kamandi he’s cutting loose, but sets him up with his pal Renzi, who can take Kamandi Northward to look for his parents. Is that’s what’s happening here? Kamandi’s parents are alive somewhere? I think I missed that previously in the series. Renzi is some kind of android dude, with a Cyclo-Heart that allows him to shapeshift a little bit. They travel in a hot air balloon for two whole panels, until it’s shot down by a bunch of Communist bear people! There’s even a scene where Kamandi seems stunned by a statue of a horse being ridden by some kind of warrior bear guy, but he was just hanging out with a tiger-man a couple of days ago! I’m sorry, but the notion that animals have inherited post-apocalyptic Earth is no longer a point of shock, but a routine fact of future life.
While restrained by the communist bears, the head bear has a chat with him. Perhaps lengthier than a chat, more of a tête-à-tête. Actually it might have been a full-on conversation. Come to think of it, this scene was a full on fucking college lecture, it dragged so long. And the result of it is that this main bear, whose personal will is subverted by the collective decision (transmitted via a techno-crown), decides he doesn’t wanna be a pawn of other bears and decides to split with Kamandi. Our hero insists that they turn around and get Renzi, a character we barely know, but the former king bear blows him off until it’s revealed that the entire city is actually a robotic bear or something? And it needs to be powered by Renzi’s Cyclo-Heart for some reason? It was unclear. But eventually, the runaway bear tires of Kamandi’s whining and throws him towards a flash of lazily-rendered Kirby Krackle, as if hanging from a cliff!
Wow. That was…problematic. The entire beginning scene made no sense to me. That crazed doctor had harvested Kamandi’s organs so he could have a complete set for this life-saving cellular printer, so why he couldn’t whip up a batch of opossum guts and tell the adventuring tiger to get lost? Kamandi is desperate to get Renzi back from the clutches of Communist bears, but we barely got to know him at all. And we could have gotten to know him if Kamandi’s conversation with alpha bear didn’t last for five pages. I wish I could say the issue was saved by the art, but it’s really uneven. Sometimes it looks downright unfinished. Of course, if you’ve come this far along getting issues of the series, I don’t expect you’ll want to pass any by. But you could probably do without this one in your lives.
Bits and Pieces:
The issue begins with a convoluted solution to the previous issue's cliffhanger and ends with a bloated tale of dubious politics. A lot of the issue looks rushed or redrawn, and none of it screams classic Jack Kirby to me. This is definitely the worst issue in the Kamandi Challenge series so far.