[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Ken Pontac
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Inker: Marina Sanzone
Dick Dastardly and Penelope Pitstop are in big trouble. They drive right off the edge of a cliff and get sucked into Poseidon’s Toilet. Separated from their sentient cars, they are stranded and disconnected from the rest of the racers. Muttley, Dastardly’s best and only friend, is distraught. The racers are torn. Everyone loves Penelope whereas no one even likes Dick. That Announcer reminds everyone that she is a kind of awful. She says, “You can fight, you can cheat, but you can’t let your fellow Racers die.” Wacky Raceland keeps getting more interesting.
Writer, Ken Pontac, gives the rest of the drivers some more face time, while still finding a way to focus on everyone’s favorite, and only likable racer, Penelope Pitstop. That is great because we have been wondering about some of the other drivers. Prattling prat Peter Perfect and out of place genius Professor Pat Pending have a deep philosophical argument that might be better placed in a philosophy classroom than a post-apocalyptic hellscape, but in the hands of this book’s own mad scientist, Ken Pontac, the conversation makes perfect sense. While we see her in the background of a few issues, Sergeant Blast gets a few close up panels and in case you didn’t catch that, Sergeant Blast is a she. The Red Baron gets a few lines as well. He has something pretty terrible happen to him in this issue. But don’t worry, as the Announcer says, you can’t let a Racer die. He gets bailed out by Rufus of the Gruesome Twosome who says (and this is so campy and wonderful, it would fits perfectly), “Look who brought a gun to a Chainsaw fight.” Guts fly. It is a sloppy, beautiful mess.
Be glad that Wacky Raceland does not have smell-o-vision. Leonardo Manco’s close work is masterful. Each vine, or tooth, or leaking bodily fluid (human and otherwise) is masterfully depicted. There is something greenish in the water that we see projectile out of Penelope’s mouth onto Dick’s face. Gross, I know, but drawn perfectly.
It is in Penelope’s flashback that the full creative reaches a crescendo. As always, Pontac digs deep and makes the reader feel sad, scared, and disgusted all at once. In this issue, we learn that Penelope lived on the island of Aiyiva. She has a step-father straight from a child’s nightmare. In fact, the whole story is told from the perspective of a child. The pages, in the hand of inker, Mariana Sanzone burst of the page in contrast to the dark, murky story she has been inking in the main tale. Manco’s villainous, cyclops step-father has muscles on top of muscles. He is so big and scary that the happy sun from the beginning of Penelope’s memory cowers behind a cloud.
Nobody wins a race this issue. In each of the first two, the reader had a sense that this was going somewhere. This issue, while clearly world building, does not move the story along to the Announcer’s promised ending. The upside to this kind of pit stop (pun intended) story is that it means the book and the race. Out of Poseidon’s Toilet and onto Vegas.