Dollar Comic Review: Ka-Zar Volume 2
A little more than a year ago, the shop had a hellacious sale on dollar books, and I went frigg'n crazy. I mean, the employee cost for an entire long box worked out to something like 7.5 cents per issue, and there was no way I was going to pass up a deal like that. So, in the parlance of our times, I went buck wild.
That's where I got my runs of Justice League and Suicide Squad, but those only take up so much space, and I had an entire box to fill. So I pretty much just threw in anything that caught my eye. A complete set of Ghost Rider Rides Again? Sure! Thirty issues of Dreadstar? Why the hell not? Eighteen issues of Deathstroke the Terminator? Throw those bad boys in there! Heck, there's even a run of Strikeforce: Morituri and about twelve attempts at understanding why Tug loves Moon Knight so much.
But then there's the run of Ka-Zar.
The run of Ka-Zar that I've kept hidden away for the past year in hopes that one day I'll wake up and it will have been a terrible dream. But with no such luck, and with my homey Brandon yelling at me to be a man and get it over with, I finally read it tonight.
Fourteen issues of it.
And now I share my pain with you.
Ka-Zar volume 2, #1-13, Annual 1
May 1997-May 1998
Script: Mark Waid (with Brian K. Vaughan on the Annual)
Pencils: Andy Kubert (with fill-ins by Rinaldi, Small, and Lopresti)
Okay, here's how it shapes up to start: Kevin loves Shanna. Shanna loves Kevin. Kevin and Shanna both love Matthew, their kid. They all love living in the Savage Land. Parnival (?!) hates Kevin, even though they're brothers, so he sends the guy who trained Kraven the Hunter to kill him. Kevin also loves CDs and his gameboy, but Shanna hates technology. Conflict!
They beat the holy hell out of Gregor, Kraven's old pal, and then drag him through Antarctica with no clothes on while Shanna gives Ka-Zar dirty looks about how his secret CD collection is tainting the purity of the Savage Land. Then they go to New York.
Meanwhile, in that very same New York, Parnival recieves some orders from his Mysterious, Shadowed Master (hint: it's Thanos) and engages in annoying banter with Ka-Zar when he shows up. He also talks about an amulet that they each have half of which is actually a key, which is actually a map to an extradimensional maze that'll show up ten issues later.
Ka-Zar has a few more arguments with Shanna the She-Devil and then fights the Rhino for what I like to call "no reason at all." But hey, he's the Rhino. That happens. Shanna then faces her doubts about whether or not she still loves Ka-Zar, and decides she does.
Clearly, she's not Canadian.
Anyway, as soon as this happens, Ka-Zar realizes that the reason he's been so crunk for technology has been that he's nervous about being a father, and he's not sure he's ready. There's a tearful reconciliation with Shanna about this a few issues later. But first, Thanos has to put the third-stupidest Supervillain Plot I've ever seen into action.
Using the vast extradimensional energies at his command, Thanos turns New York into the Savage Land. Fortunately for him, this was during Heroes Reborn, so the Avengers aren't around to show up and fix everything in twenty minutes. Unfortunately for us, it takes Ka-Zar and Co. four issues--or roughly eighty years of reading time--to do just that.
Defining Moment: During the climax of Urban Renewal, after luring Thanos out of the maze within the terraformer (?) and into the Savage Land, Ka-Zar punches out Thanos.
I'll let that sink in.
Ka-Zar knocks out Thanos, the Mad Titan with a punch.
So S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up (that's the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, true believer) and blows up the terraformer, and Shanna the She-Devil gets godlike power over all creation, represented here by planets in her eyes.
So then Ka-Zar has to have a talk with the High Evolutionary, who makes some incredibly creepy sexual innuendos about Zabu and then proceeds to fall in love with Shanna. He tries to get her to come with him to Counter-Earth (Sweet Christmas! Counter-frigg'n-Earth!), and Ka-Zar punches him in the face.
Fortunately, that's all the issues I have, or else I would've gotten into the Punisher appearance in issue 15, which might have killed me. Maybe it's just because I read it all in one sitting, but this whole run pretty much amounts to some of the most talented people in comics contributing to a massive train-wreck. It's rough.
So, uh... Want to buy it from me on eBay?