Dollar Comic Review: Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos #1
Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Chuck Norris:
I think we can all come together as a society and agree that Chuck Norris is one of the baddest motherfuckers alive. His very name has become synonymous with the word "awesome," and his feats are legendary. And why not? The guy was Bruce Lee's sparring partner for God's sake, he taught Steve McQueen--one of history's greatest badasses--the secrets of the martial arts, and I'm pretty sure he's the only man who could have defeated Count Dante. But rest assured, their battle would shake the very heavens themselves.
What you might not know about Chuck Norris is that back in 1987, he led a team of martial arts-themed counter-terrorist operatives that answered only to the President. Their adventures were then transcribed into the 100% Factual and incredibly short-lived Marvel series Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. Sterling recently tackled some of the highlights of #2, but I found myself a copy of the first issue last week, and it rocked me to my very core.
It is the single most awesome thing you will ever see.
Writer: Jo Duffy
Pencils and Cover: Steve "I Created Spider-Man and The Question So You Bitches Can Suck It" Ditko
From what I understand, Karate Kommandos was based on a cartoon produced by Ruby Spears Entertainment, the same folks who had Jack Kirby turning in a stack of ideas for Turbo Teen and Roxy's Raiders every day. Sadly, I've never seen it, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that Chuck Norris and his pals--which at a bare minimum include a big fat goofy guy, a scrappy kid, and a fiesty gal--battle a sprawling terrorist organization that never actually manages to shoot anybody. I did, however, manage to find a copy of the show's intro, which I will have played at my wedding.
This issue concerns the aforementioned Scrappy Kid™, who goes by the name of "Too Much." He's so called because he's constantly saying things are "too much," which puts him in the same category as Snapper Carr, only it makes a lot less sense. He and his class are going to take a guided tour of the government's new top-secret counterterrorist weapon, the Super Cruiser, the main feature of which is that it looks exactly like an RV. And it was also designed by Too Much's friend Chuck Norris. I'm not exactly sure why the government is going to let a bunch of schoolchildren poke around a top secret anti-terrorist device, but according to their teacher, it's because of Too Much's "special connection" with Chuck.
We can assume this special connection involves a lot of roundhouse kicks.
Unfortunately, the Sidekicks-esque special connection has its drawbacks as well, and in a nefarious plot to steal the government's shiny new Winnebago, the Super Ninja--and yes, that is his name--sends some thugs to hold Too Much hostage. The Karate Kommandos mobilize, and Chuck Norris beats the living hell out of enough people that everything works out okay.
- This entire book is a highlight. Things really kick off when Too Much starts thinking about Chuck Norris in class and then daydreams about busting out his nunchuck skills. That's pretty much how I pass the time at work, so I could relate.
- Too Much apparently deals in the illicit trade of signed eight-by-tens of Chuck Norris, surreptitiously passing them to his friend Tommy while the teacher's back is turned. In the prison economy that is middle school, those things are like gold.
- Too Much spends so much of his time getting pumped and flipping out that he doesn't do his reading assignment, but is spared humiliation when he's called on by the gun-totin' ninja of the Cult of the Klaw!! bursting into the classroom.
- Ahem: Badass Panel #1:
- From what I can understand, the Cult of the Klaw!! is structured thus: Numbered Ninja answer to the Super Ninja, who in turn is answerable only to a guy who sits in the shadows, petting his cat with his metal hand. Apparently the guy who used to fight Inspector Gadget is moving up in the world.
- The Karate Kommandos! Sumo Guy! Dude with a Katana! Templeton "Faceman" Peck! Some Girl! And Chuck Norris's pet wolf, Wolf.
- Chuck Norris doesn't waste time with negotiation. Chuck Norris puts on a crazy white vest over his red turtleneck and walks into the middle of a hostage crisis, and we get one of the single best panels in comics history:
- Once they've rolled in and demanded that the Cultists of the Klaw!! let the hostages go so they can settle things man-to-cult, the Karate Kommandos pretty much stand back while Chuck Norris beats up eight fully-armed ninjas... by breakdance fighting. Then he gives a little book report and everybody has a good time standing amidst the broken bodies of men foolish enough to challenge Chuck Norris.
...And that pretty much says it all.