February 17, 2010

Wacky Comic Wednesday: Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters (vol. 2) #4

Here we are, another segment of Wacky Comic Wednesday and the final chapter of Dynamite Entertainment’s reboot of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters! That’s right, we’re ready to wrap this baby up with a review of issue #4. Where to begin… Well how’s this for starters:

What the hell!?

The story begins with a breaking-of-the-fourth-wall introduction from the most metrosexual villain in comics, Genghis Khann, whom we see has captured Jackie, Bruce, Chuck, and Lucy. How he accomplished this, we don’t know, but the tight shirt wearing psychopath urges us to read on in order to find out…

The scene cuts to the coolest Hamster of them all: Clint, the Hamster Triumphant! Except that here he’s no longer calling himself Clint but Harry Callahan, and he’s anything but triumphant as his mohawk has been cut, his earring holes have closed up, and he works at an electronics store. That’s right, Clint… er Harry, the most badass and outspoken of all four Hamster brothers has found himself living the life of a retailer. Yeah, talk about a midlife crisis. Not only that, but he has been tamed; he’s married to a valley girl human who is also a drunk. To boot, this imperfect 7 year union has bestowed two ungrateful step children unto ‘Harry’ who are disgusted by his animal appearance and rarely miss an opportunity to call their ‘father’ a ‘freak.’ And Harry, our former gun toting, one liner slinging hero just sits there and takes it all. We even see him proposition his wife for one of the finer benefits of being married but she only puts out a stinging remark about how bestiality disgusts her. As a form of therapy to deal with the rejection and unhappiness of his life, ‘Harry’ goes to the garage and begins to carve some wood. The finished product is a 6 shooter- Clint’s former weapon of choice, and in a brief flash of identity crisis the warrior hamster persona breaks through, but is quickly subdued when Harry destroys the model weapon.

A few days later Jackie, Bruce, and Chuck arrive at Harry’s store. They want their brother to make them four once more and join them in rescuing their Tibetan monk masters from the clutches of the Huns. Harry plays dumb, claiming that he has no clue who his brothers are. That’s when a bombshell is dropped- we learn why Clint has been acting this way for all these years; he was once dating Lucy but she dumped him for his brother, Chuck! Clint snaps out of it for a moment, referring to Lucy as Yoko (hah!) which provokes a minor scrum between he and Chuck. However when the dust settles, Clint still claims that his name is Harry and turns down his brothers’ request to join them in their adventure. He shows them the door and they leave.

Then comes one of the best moments of the issue: Lucy breaking into Harry’s home, punching his wife in the face, and stealing him away from his mundane life. She informs him that his brothers never returned from trying to recruit him earlier that day, and Harry comes to the logical conclusion: they were abducted by Richard, the weirdo animal lover who frequents his electronics store. He tells Lucy to wait as he makes an exit. Next comes the scene we were all waiting for: the return of Clint! In a full page shot, Clint confronts Richard with a gun in hand while donning a Roman helmet that mirrors his old mohawk. He delivers sweet justice to Richard and frees his brothers. However, once again Clint declines the offer to join them in their crusade. He states that this is the life he’s chosen- to be Harry Callahan, the desperately needed father figure of his bastard step children which is a responsibility he can’t walk away from.

Which is very unfortunate because without Clint’s help the series reaches its climax and it’s shocking to say the least: in a failed attempt to defeat the Huns, Lucy, Chuck, Bruce, Jackie, and Master Lock get themselves captured and are all shot in the head by Khann! Yep. That’s right, these main characters each take a bullet to the noggin, officially ending their comic book careers. Immediately after this shocking scene, the space jello (which was first introduced in Don Chin’s Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #1 back in 1986) reappears in our solar system to the delight of our metro villain…

The setting then jumps ahead ten years and we see Clint, in full battle regalia hunting down Khann. He has come to the realization that had he accompanied his brothers on their mission back to Tibet all those years ago he could have prevent their deaths. So he has vowed to avenge them by stopping Khann. Clint blasts his way to the metrosexual (who has achieved his goal of global domination by creating a race of alien hamster warriors) who is now severely over weight and watching TV on the sofa. Clint puts a gun to the Hun’s head and demands to know the location of his time machine. The avenging hamster has no desire to kill Khann at that moment, rather he plans to travel back in time and stop him when he had the chance a decade ago, thus preventing the deaths of his brothers, Lucy, and Master Lock. Suddenly, Clint drops through the floor and Khann reveals in a villainous soliloquy that the hamster has just traveled back in time…

And that’s how the 4 issue Hamsters reboot mini-series ends.

Wow. What a ride! You’re probably wondering why things ended so abruptly. The reason is that the title was originally supposed to run 6 issues, but Dynamite decided to pull the plug on it early, cutting it back to 4 midway through the run. This of course forced writer Keith Champagne and artist Tom Nguyen to restructure the story and make it work with 40+ less pages. Not an easy task and even though it had to happen, this issue was still fantastic! Of course Clint getting more face time would have been nice (although I’m sure he would have had this series run its full course), but fans of the original Hamster series will absolutely dig this issue. It left me with my mouth agape as I definitely didn’t see the ending coming, and when Clint started to kick some ass in the final segment my inner fanboy got his fix. I’ve already said it in the previous articles, but as a whole this reboot of the Hamsters franchise was a successful take on the original material as it provided a fresh spin on the Hamster’s while managing to stay faithful to the style of Don Chin’s late 1980s masterwork.

Now for some quotes:

“Harry, the twins need discipline! Put down that magazine and assert yourself! If I cheat on you again, you’ll only have yourself to blame! I need a man, not a coward!” – Clint’s wife

“Shut up and squint like his mighty metrosexualness. That’s the only way to enlightenment!” – Hun soldier

“You… you just hit my wife! I wanted to say thanks! She’s had it coming for years- but it would have scarred the twins for life if I had done it… although I’m pretty sure they’re screwed anyway. I’m glad you came. Stinks that I’m married now but, y’know… according to William Jefferson Clinton, there are still things we can do.” – Clint

“In case you’re wondering, you know that gas I used to knock you out with? Traded some old Ninja Turtle comics for it at Harry’s shop. Ironic, don’t you think?” – Richard

Until next time Hamster faithful.

Andy Liegl



  1. Infinite Speech

    Sounds like a fun ride but do you think it would have read better with 2 more issues?

  2. Josh

    Global domination by means of alien hamster warriors… Wacky? More like ‘Crazy as Shit Comic Wednesday!’

    To Clint, er..Harry’s wife: If Bestiality disgusts you, don’t marry a F’n hamster!

  3. billy

    “I need a man, not a coward”. lol

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