Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I can't recall OMAC's uniform, but I'm betting it was more intimidating than cut-off jean shorts.

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth was a series cancelled when I was about seven years old and just starting to get into reading comics. I've only read random issues here and there, both from series creator Jack Kirby and some from after he left the title; but I've often thought the book would be better remembered if it had a definitive conclusion, rather than merely ending with Kamandi still questing to bring humanity back from savagery in a world of intelligent animals. Then again, Kirby's OMAC could've done with a proper ending as well, but I don't know if this was the way to do it...

From 1977, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth #50, "The Death Worshippers!" Story by Denny O'Neil, art by Dick Ayers, Alfredo Alcala, and Manuel Auad. Previously, Kamandi had been infected with a disease that caused brutal, killing rage fits; but his friends Dr. Canus (a dog) and Pyra (an alien made of fiery energy) have finally caught up with him to cure him. Unfortunately, Pyra's genetic manipulation sends Kamandi back a couple of generations--she apparently left the machine set on "dog"--and turned him into OMAC like his grandfather! Confused yet super-strong, Kamandi tears off into a forest, and runs into a creepy band of sloth-people! They finish each other's sentences and worship a skeleton, and it's a skeleton of someone they ate, so sloths are apparently way more disturbing after the Great Disaster.

The mutant Ben Boxer knew of OMAC, so Kamandi's friends take Pyra's spaceship to find OMAC's partner, the satellite Brother Eye. (Brother Eye has gotten a bad rap in the last decade or so of DC comics, but he was friendly and helpful back in the day.) Pyra frees Brother Eye from the shell that imprisoned it (which was seen in an issue of OMAC, I think!) and it feeds energy to Kamandi, which also helps him escape the sloths. (Presumably, by walking away briskly.) In the memory of his partner, Brother Eye restores Kamandi to normal, referring to OMAC as "an experiment that failed!"

I've been meaning to pick up the last issue of Kamandi, but it really isn't! #59 was the last one published, although #60 and #61 were completed. We looked at the OMAC back-up that ended up in Warlord, but I don't think the main stories were ever printed. Although you can find them online with a little looking!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Huh. And to think, if he'd been left with the OMAC powers he might've fared better in his messed up world since he's normally just a regular boy.

The true failure was not letting him keep those powers I think.