Steve Orlando and Travel Foreman take us far into the future with ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1. Our story takes place a few hundred years after the life and times of KAMANDI, Jack Kirby’s last boy on Earth. ELECTRIC WARRIORS follows the tale of two brothers, the aftermath of the struggle between man and animal, and the Earth’s acceptance into the intergalactic community.

Warning, potential spoilers for ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 are below!

The World After Kamandi

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1
ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 starts us off with Ian, a human kid picking a fight with two sentient animal men. Ian is a pro-human activist, whose parents separated over their differences in human-animal relations. Kamandi’s life seems to be in the past now and Earth’s animal population has made peace with the humans, reintegrating them into society. There’s a lot of tension still, but the harmony is remaining stable.

This reintegration has caught the attention of the intergalactic community, who choose to welcome Earth by giving them the Electric Seed, which gives Earth a champion to fight for it in disputes amongst the Intergalactic Community. Earth chooses two to represent them: an animal and a human, to signify their unique relationship. Ian’s younger brother Oscar is chosen for the humans. An octopus, Kana, is chosen from the depths of the oceans to represent the animals. Kana gets a brief moment to talk about her own anxieties and the history of the ocean animals and their part in helping humanity.

ELECTRIC WARRIORS: Saviors of Their Worlds

We spend a lot of time with Ian Navarro as he gets into that fight, gets fixed up, and heads to eat with his mother and brother; before his sibling leaves to be transformed into an Electric Warrior. Electric Warriors are representatives of their world. There are no more wars between worlds. Electric Warriors fight in single combat, to the death, as proxies for the armies of these planets.

We then move to the ceremony, which itself is ostentatious. The two champions meet on a grand stage, to receive the Electric Seed. Kana and Oscar undergo Electrogenesis, their bodies are fused with the seed, granting them powers beyond those of normal beings. The two board a ship, headed to Warworld.

On the way to the planet, we find out that Oscar has been replaced by his older brother Ian! People have been mistaking the brothers for identical twins for years, so Ian took advantage. As ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 concludes, Ian rockets into space. He hopes to survive the ordeal, but knows he could possibly die at the hands of another Electric Warrior.

Steve Orlando Takes Us On A Ride

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ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Writer Steve Orlando has really outdone himself with this book. Orlando has boldly taken the Kamandi mythos and written a postscript to it that continues the threads that Kirby left. Orlando has brought us into a future that is both optimistic and dark: humans have earned their independence again, but there’s still lingering prejudice, division, and resentment between the humans and animals. Ian doesn’t hide his bitterness, which was taught to him by his mother. Orlando’s allegories to our modern day issues and tensions are very apt, and ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 is a good start to what could be a very culturally relevant book. It reframes modern tensions effectively, which is reminiscent of early era X-MEN.

There’s a great scene, when the family’s having dinner, where all of this really comes to light. Oscar being chosen as the human Electric Warrior is a sore point with Ian and their mother. While Oscar and their mother see this as a huge honor, Ian just wants to save his little brother. So for all of Ian’s anger and bitterness, he feels like the bad son, the broken one. Ian feels that sacrificing himself will save Oscar’s life, and give him a chance to live a better life. Their mother, despite fighting for human rights, is proud to send her son off to possibly die as Earth’s representative, which is an odd juxtaposition of her values. She’s a little paradoxical in her values. We may get to explore this more in future issues, if Steve Orlando is indeed making it a subplot.

Travel’s Art is Trippy

Travel Foreman’s artwork in ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 is incredible. At times, he’s very minimalist, bare backgrounds and simple lines. Other pages will have detailed backgrounds and characters, which makes for a nice juxtaposition.

The art style also changes from scene to scene, depending on where it takes place. Earth is a bit pastel, and more minimalist. The City of Krakonus has minimal backgrounds, but detailed, colorful characters (a nod goes to Hi-Fi for the vibrant colors). Foreman’s faces, specifically his eyes, are reminiscent of John Cassaday’s art.

Does Every Electric Warrior Have to Die?

The twist with the brothers is a great surprise, and Orland and Foreman laid great groundwork and tension for the second issue. Who will Ian have to fight as Earth’s Electric Warrior? Will he survive this? Can he get along with his partner Kana? What about Oscar? What will he do now that he’s on Earth? There’s also the contest between Warriors, what does that look like? We caught glimpses, but we’ll likely learn more soon, perhaps even in the next issue. So lots of questions and anticipation, and few answers; those are signatures of a great first issue, and ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 does a great job of piquing curiosities.

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 by Steve Orlando, Travel Foreman, Hi-Fi, and Travis Lanham
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Summary
ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1 gives us a look into the far-flung future of the DC Universe! Along with a brilliant plot twist, we also get a nice dose of allegory; the conflict between animals and men standing in for some of our modern day tensions.
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  1. […] issue starts where we left off, with Electric Warriors Ian and Kana arriving on the planet Covenant. The announcer gives Kana the […]

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