ham1Last time we took a look at issue #1 of Dynamite Entertainment’s 2008 revamp of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters (which first debuted in 1986 from Eclipse Comics), and now we are primed to jump into the pellet-fest that is issue #2. Normally, this would be the time where I would give a brief bio on the creative team of the spotlighted issue. But you know what? I refuse to do that this time around because my pal Simon and I already interviewed artist Tom Nguyen, and we have an interview planned with writer Keith Champagne later this month. So what’s the hurry Murray?… or Jim… or Bob, or Jane, or whatever the heck your name is. Just kick back and read this review!

When we last saw our new team of Hamsters they were in the midst of fighting a group of Hun usurpers in an attempt to rescue their monk teachers at their monestery in snowy Tibet. The gang of Hamsters (who look like their Hollywood namesakes) had lost two comrades in the battle, Steven and Jean Claude, with Rock and Arnold getting captured while Lucy tumbled off of the monastery’s roof. Similar to Clint the Hamster Triumphant where the main villainess was a transsexual, here the Hun leader (and historical figure) Genghis Khan is a metrosexual! What a jerk.

The action picks up with Lucy as she crash lands on top of a Yeti who carriers her to its cave. There she encounters a whole lot more ridiculous Yetis and her former teacher, the monk Master Lock! Lucy convinces a grudging Lock to return to the monastery and help her rescue her brothers, the other monks, and the Dalai Momma. The scene then shifts to a hamster carrying a large dead panda up the side of Mt. Fuji in Japan, and once the panel zooms in we see a familiar patch over the hamster’s left eye… who is it? Why, it’s Jackie- one of the original four Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters!

Since he and his brothers parted ways, Jackie has moved into a hidden martial arts training camp inside the mountain called Shangri La (eat your heart out Carl Sigman) which is governed by the Guitar Hero prodigy, The Golden Child. Jackie has vowed to become ‘nameless’ until he is reunited with his brothers, and as a result of this he comes to blows (get your head out of the gutter) with a fellow trainee over the dead panda. This pisses off The Golden Child who then boots Jackie out of the camp. No matter though, as Master Lock summons him to Tibet via a phone call, calling on the veteran Hamster to help out with the Hun situation.

ham2bAt this point in the story we learn that Lucy is the sister of the original four Hamsters which of course includes Jackie, Clint, Bruce, and Chuck. Like in Clint where he meets a handful of ridiculous sidekicks, here Lucy is teamed with three Yetis- Grgh, Brgh, and Trg who accompany her in a stealth operation to get back the jet plane the Huns stole in order to go pick up Jackie. The final pages of the comic are Genghis taking his newly acquired prisoners, Rock and Arnold, to the nether regions of the monastery. There he shows the two hamster brothers that the Tibetan monks may not have been as innocent as they have let on…

So far this series has done a great job of staying true to the style of Don Chin’s original Hamsterbooks. It’s complete with silly dialogue and schtick that evokes audible chuckles. One of the more hilarious panels was of a Yeti taking a dump with Lucy sweeping up the residue. It also slides in subtle homages to the first series like how Lucy has to perform her ninja cleaning duties as commanded by Lock, and an entire page that takes place in the dark with only the word balloons visible.

It’s quote time:

“Shush, Master. Cradling anger is not the way. You’re the one who taught me that peace and love are the only things worth kicking and punching for.” – Lucy

“I’m so tired of this hamster and his stupid cozy cedar woodchip smell!… I hate woodchips!… He smells like childhood!” – Multiple Samurais

“You wouldn’t believe how cranky the Yeti get without their daily dose of perezhilton.com.” – Master Lock

Hilarious! That’s it for now Hamster fans.  Stay tuned as I still have to review issues 3 and 4 of this Dynamite run, plus interview Keith Champagne!

Until next time.