[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
DC and Hanna-Barbera have once again teamed up to bring us a retelling of a classic cartoon. This time, The Flintstones get a royal makeover courtesy of writer Mark Russell, artist Steve Pugh and colorist Chris Chuckry.
Fred and Wilma are front and center in this first issue. Barney and a vaguely ethic, but much more historically accurate, Betty make cameo appearances.
For fans of the original series, there are references to modern day people with Bedrockian names and devices with modern day counterparts. Artist Andy Warthog shows up in the last few pages and Wilma struggles to reach Fred on his shellphone.
This is a world building issue. The whole point is to remind the readers that they may know these characters, but they do not really know them at all. The wrap around story set in modern time is brilliant. The reader is forced to examine history in a whole new way. Some intense flashback scenes involving Fred and Barney in one and a young Wilma in the other are worthy of a Scorsese picture in both narrative and artistic sensibility.
Russell is an excellent storyteller. This book is rated T, which allows him to tell a real story. We learn about Fred and Barney’s past and how they came to be best friends. We learn about Slate and his unflattering views on the world.
We learn that Wilma is MUCH more than a two dimensional housewife. We can only assume that with this kind of attention to detail, the future issues will get us some insight into Betty, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.
Almost every single indoor scene features a candle, or a torch of some kind. The historical accuracy of a town that is fictional is inspired. To that end, Chuckry dulls the colors. It is not dark and colorless; it is just dark.
As is the case with any new world, the book is too short. I just start to feel like I get to know these folks and then I am left waiting for issue 2. There is a tip of the cap to every angst-ridden teenager going through an Ayn Rand phase as Pebbles is on the cover carrying a book titled Cannibalism: The unknown ideal.
As an adult who never got over that phase, I was disappointed that it did not come up in the book, but I am optimistic that there is much to come from the Fred/Pebbles dynamic based on some Randian/Libertarian ideals.
This book seems custom built for folks who are fine with smashing idols while still keeping a picture of the idol in his or her back pocket. If the first issue is any indication, the possibilities for social commentary are vast. Four Yabba-Dabba-Doos