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I am proud to present a guest review today from a dear friend of mine and comic book expert: the amazing Ronell Whitaker!
Title: DC Meets Hanna-Barbara
Author(s): Melanie Gillman
Publisher: DC Comics (2017)
Age Rating: 13+
“Who is this for?!”
That was probably the reaction most of y’all had when the news broke that DC was going to be publishing updated versions of Hanna-Barbera properties. Me, on the other hand? My first thought was “Ooh, I hope they do Captain Caveman!”
Listen, I understand the trepidation. A few years of DCEU movies might have some of us wary of “gritty and dark reboots,” and you wouldn’t be wrong to feel like that. I mean, who wants a Scooby-Doo where Scrappy is caught experimenting with club drugs? *Side note: Me. I’m the one who wants that.
But you needn’t have feared. The Flintstones is a masterpiece. The Future Quest books are fun and dynamic. And Scooby-Doo Apocalypse…man, The Flintstones is great! Thankfully, DC didn’t rest on their laurels with their early success, and we now have the Hanna-Barbera Meets DC one-shots. Listen to these titles: Suicide Squad/The Banana Splits, Supersons/Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon, Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey, Aquaman/Jabberjaw, and the penultimate: Batman/Elmer Fudd (although that’s DC/WB).
I was going to do an issue by issue breakdown, but if I’m being honest, you need to read all of these. Not because they’re all great, the results are definitely mixed, but because this is something we all must bear witness to. THIS. HAPPENED. You were alive to see Elmer and Batman team up to track down a murderer, and you would be remiss to let the opportunity to see that play out pass you by.
Besides the inherent sideshow nature of the premise, there really are some solid books here. DC didn’t just play “What if?” with these characters and slap it together. The aforementioned Batman/Fudd book has Tom King and Lee Weeks behind it, and the Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey book features some really cool classic kung-fu storytelling from Brian Hill that harkens back to the classic martial arts films of the 70’s. The Dynomutt/Supersons book grabs you by the heart and dares you not to be invested in what happens to the characters, and the Flash/Speed Buggy book tells a surprisingly family-centered story that is simultaneously everything we love about the beloved speedsters. The one thread all of these books have in common is the reader is left wanting to see more of these characters in this more grounded universe.
Other highlights are the bonus comics at the back of each one. We get to see gun-nuts resurrect The Funky Phantom, only to find that he’s not so pro-2nd amendment, a more slapstick Batman/Fudd where Bats is more of a Daffy Duck analogue, and of course, CAPTAIN CAAAAAAAVVVE MAAAAAAN!
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Jabberjaw does not work in this world, and there’s no amount of gritty realism that can make the giant heads of The Banana Splits palatable for too long. But even those shortcomings made for enjoyable reads.
Overall, do yourself a favor and track these down. And let’s all cross our fingers for the Huckleberry Hound/Jonah Hex book we all deserve.
-Thanks so much, Ronell! I look forward to reading all of these. Check out Ronell on Twitter @MisterWhitaker
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