[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh
Inker: Chris Chuckry
This month’s title is “Democracy Sucks.” Guess what it is about? If you guessed a middle school election, you would be right. If you guessed a mayoral election in Bedrock, you would be right. If you guessed it would be an origin story about Bamm Bamm and it had some incredibly poignant story-telling, you would be Mark Russell because there is no way you saw that coming. This issue has some jokes, some tears and some reality about genocide and the monstrosities of war. Meet The Flintstones.
Here is how our story begins:
“Tomorrow is election day in Bedrock. Remember, your vote counts whether you know what you are doing or not.”
Brilliant! Right? Seriously, how clever is that? Wow.
As has been the case so far, this is the best comic in the Hanna-Barbera stable. Mark Russell timed this perfectly. It comes out just six days before the end of what seems to have been the longest, most awful election campaign in American history. To make you feel even worse about it, Russell drives the point home that saying loud obnoxious things almost always wins the day. I say almost always because who, as has been the case for this run, is the voice of reason? None other than all around self-aware 14-year-old Pebbles Flintstone. Seriously, she gets most of the best lines and seems to be the only person who really knows what he hell is going on.
One of Russell’s skills is that he throws in jokes in the middle of a heartfelt story. Barney and Betty find out the tragic news that they can not have children. Where are they? The Prayo Clinic seeing a witch doctor. Heartbreak and a laugh. Honestly, this whole series is full of that. Russell is taking George Bernard Shaw seriously. He wrote:
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.”
I would be remiss if I finished my review without mentioning how great Steve Pugh is. He has a Herculean task. He has to take characters we know and love and make them both new and recognizable. He has to create a new world and make it feel like we are watching an old cartoon. He walks this tightrope with grace and skill each and every month.
Overkill? Maybe. I don’t know what to say that is bad. The origin of the Tree People and the war in which Fred and Barney fight is explained. It is hard to read, but it is important to read. Seriously, it is not really a negative, but maybe in the midst of some social satire, stories about genocide are difficult.
Satire is hard. The book is brilliant satire. I have to say, that the only bad thing about this book is that not enough people are reading it. Seriously. Run. Do not walk. Get on a dinosaur if you have to. Get this book. Tell your friends. I have.