John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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Karate Kid Vol 1 #15

Another re-read from the classic Legion of Super-Heroes period. This time up, the final issue of Karate Kid's own comic. Enjoy! :)

Karate Kid Vol 1 #15
(July-August) August, 1978
“Bring Back My Future To Me!”
Writer: Bob Rozakis
Co-Plotter: Jack C. Harris
Penciller: Juan Ortiz
Inker: Juan Ortiz
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colourist: Mario Sen
Cover: Rich Buckler (pencils) and Jack Abel (inks) (signed)
Editor: Allen Milgrom

Karate Kid

Guest Stars:
Doctor Canus, Doile, Mylock Bloodstalker, Pyra, Spirit; Diamondeth (cameo), Kamandi (cameo); Robin (Dick Grayson) (flashback)

Mission Monitor Board:
Chameleon Boy, Superboy (flashback only)

The Lord of Time; Major Disaster; Lobster people

Karate Kid arrives in the 30th Century via time bubble, only to find that it is not the 30th Cenury that he knows. As he arrives, two intelligent dogs wearing clothes scatter from the time bubble's arrival. Leaving Diamondeth in the time bubble, Karate Kid goes to scout around, and spots the two man-sized, clothing wearing dogs. He suddenly thinks that it's another one of the crazy environments of Major Disaster and the Lord of Time, and thinks back to the events he witnessed in the prehistoric city, his fight with Superboy and his battle with the Legionnaires. He recalls how he and Robin took Diamondeth back to his apartment in 20th Century New York and called the Legion, asking for a time bubble. Bidding farewell to Robin, he travelled with Diamondeth in the time bubble, heading for the 30th Century, but has arrived in...whatever this place is.

Elsewhere, in their secret base the Lord of Time explains to Major Disaster that Karate Kid is wrong. He actually is in the 30th Century, but an alternate one, where the events of the past did not lead to the 30th Century that Karate Kid knows, but one that led to the Great Disaster. Major Disaster doesn't believe him, talking dogs and all?, but the Lord of Time tells him to watch as there is much that he can learn.

Back on what is obviously a beach, Karate Kid is surprised when Mylock Bloodstalker and Doile talk to him, but believing that he can't be caught with his guard down, attacks the two. He manages to take both of them down very easily, but is taken unawares and struck down and knocked out by Pyra’s energy charge. Dr. Canus, Mylock Bloodstalker, Pyra, Doile and Spirit talk among themselves, and Mylock tells the others that he believes that the "animal" [Karate Kid] came in the globe-shaped device from the same planet, but another era! Karate Kid recovers consciousness, and calmer now, introduces himself and Pyra introduces herself and the others to him. They tell Karate Kid that they are searching for another one who looks like him, their friend Kamandi, who was abducted by lobster beings. They followed what they took to be a star, but which was actually a result of the Rite of Evermore [as an editorial notes tells the reader], and thought that Kamandi, who is one of the very few humans who can speak, to be a god. They were searching the beach for Kamandi when Karate Kid appeared in the time bubble. Karate Kid decides he wants no part of this, and apologizing for what happened, re-enters the time bubble and prepares to take his leave. However, he discovers the time bubble won't respond at all.

Back in their base, the Lord of Time confirms that he is indeed trapped in this alternate 30th Century, and Major Disaster says it's time for Phase Two, and activates a device.

On the Island of the God-Watchers (the lobster people), a reverse tidal wave (engineered by the villains) carries three of the God-Watchers out to sea and back to the mainland to the star of Evermore. Arriving there, the tidal wave is about to smash the time bubble, so Karate Kid and Dr. Canus quickly get Diamondeth out of the vehicle, just before the wave strikes. The time bubble is destroyed. The three God-Watchers spot Karate Kid and figure that it was an act of the gods for them to come to the beach, and they ask Karate Kid to return with them to their island home. The Kid refuses, and attacks the three Lobster people, but his blows hurt him more than them. He tries to defeat them by blinding them with beach sand, but before he can act, another one of them tells the godling that wasn't a nice thing to do, and knocks Karate Kid unconscious with one blow.

Meanwhile, a short distance away, Kamandi's friends discuss Diamondeth, and Pyra rationalizes that since she is able to change her own form, perhaps she can help Diamondeth. She fires an energy blast at Diamondeth, and slowly but surely, the creature changes back to a flesh-and-blood Iris Jacobs - whose first sight is Mylock, Dr. Canus and Pyra! She screams in terror! Pyra immediately changes her back to the Diamondeth form, saying that she had to as the sight of them terrified her and might have destroyed her mind. However, they must tell Karate Kid that she has the ability to transform his friend back.

Meanwhile, on the beach proper, the Lobster people have lashed the unconscious Karate Kid to one of their surfboards, and head out to sea as Mylock and Dr. Canus arrive on the beach. Since Karate Kid cannot help himself or them, they hitch a ride with him on the surfboard as they intend to resue both him and Kamandi.

Soon, on the Island of the God-Watchers, a strange ritual takes place in which Karate Kid is lowered into a weird, egg-like projector contraption of some sort. Meanwhile, Dr. Canus and Mylock stumble onto the most bizarre movie drive-in, where they learn the fate of Kamandi. He is currently starring in a re-enactment of Bruce Lee’s "Enter the Dragon"! And suddenly, with a martial arts movie scream, Karate Kid launches a flying kick at Kamandi! This story continues, in Kamandi Vol 1 #58.

This issue of Karate Kid's own magazine wraps up the run of the Karate Kid comic at 15 issues. (See the Final Notes below for more on that.) The story sees Karate Kid taking Diamondeth into the future to cure her, but due to the machinations of the Lord of Time and Major Disaster, he doesn't end up in his own 30th Century but rather the alternate one of the Great Disaster, where Kamandi lives. Bob Rozakis's story is a pretty decent one, with a consistent plot, a good backstory for readers unfamiliar with the events leading up to this tale, but for those unfamiliar with the world of Kamandi and the Great Disaster, there's a lot unexplained here that will leave some readers in the dark. How much of the story is actually co-plotter Jack C. Harris's and how much is Bob Rozakis's is unknown to me, but it was a good read.

The author's plot is solid like I said, moves along at a good pace, and offers the opportunity for some violence (even if the Kid's results in the two fights are extreme results of one another). The characterization is pretty good in the story, with the exception noted below, and Kamandi's friends come across quite well and can easily be distinguished by their different "voices" in the story. Despite the blurb on the cover of the issue, below Karate Kid's striking fist, Kamandi only appears in the issue in the final two panels of the story. While somewhat misleading, it actually works out for the best, as it gives Kamandi's friends a chance to shine in the story itself. Karate Kid himself comes across as a bit unlikeable in the story (for reasons below), but his desire to cure Iris of her Diamondeth status comes across throughout the story, for the most part. Artist Juan Ortiz gets to handle both the pencils and inks in this final issue of Karate Kid's title, and he does a superb job of it, for the most part. The various panels of the issue have details that are fitting to each panel's overall subject, and there are some loving renditions of Mylock Bloodstalker. I found the God-Watchers, the Lobster people, to be a bit too generic for my taste in appearance, but the illusion of their hair being wind-blown and the details on some of their faces more than made up for any other lack.

The one thing I didn't like in the story is the fact that Karate Kid once more comes across as a bit dense, assuming again that it's a test world or some such for the Lord of Time and Major Disaster, rather than believing that the world of the Great Disaster is real. He treats Kamandi's friends as animal people, being impossible, and can't trust them enough to leave his guard down somewhat and talk to them honestly, and attacks them. That said, for their part, Bloodstalker and the others treat Karate Kid as an "animal", though they quickly learn and see that he is more than that. So there's a bit of stereotyping balance here for the most part, and that works out fine.

One of the highlights of the series for me occurs with this issue, as the cover on Karate Kid Vol 1 #15 is the most dynamic cover in the series' run. The predominantly purple colours are strangely vibrant, and the notion that Karate Kid is going to punch his way into the correct reality and/or timeline is superb. Of course, if you look at the cover long enough, the reader will note that Karate Kid's right arm is a tad out of proportion. But that's no big deal.

Final Notes:
This is the final issue of the series. Contrary to popular belief, the Karate Kid title was slated for cancellation independent of any factors which led to the wide-scale title cancellations commonly referred to as the Great DC Implosion... For more information on the Great DC Implosion, follow this link...

This storyline continues in Kamandi Vol 1 #58...

The Great Disaster story continues from Kamandi #57...

Robin most likely appears here between his appearances in Batman Family Vol 1 #17 and #18...

Karate Kid’s dealings with the prehistoric city, his fight with Superboy and his battle with the Legionnaires all occurred in Karate Kid Vol 1 #11-13...

Kamandi does not actually appear in this story except for two panels on the last page, in a film...

The martial arts film that the Karate Kid and Kamandi are forced to reenact at the end of the story is the 1973 Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon.

Next Issue: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #242
Tags: comics hut, legion of super-heroes, legion reread, lll, long live the legion!, lsh, review

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