Review: The Flintstones #1

There are at least five panels in this comic that are either super poignant, horribly truths about society, or are otherwise perfect individual capsules. They will be online this week because they are these perfect moments delivered in a comic about the Flintstones. If you are reading this you should just get ahead of the curve and buy this book now so you can see them first and in context. Flintstones #1 is the least high concept of the Hanna Barbara books. It is really just the Flintstones story with more perspective and intelligence. This issue has Fred meet and schmooze three Neanderthals who are to be joining not only the work force but also the civilization known as Slate’s Quarry (what we know to be Bedrock from the television show). It is mostly through these three we see the differences of Slate’s Quarry and the cast who lives there and the Bedrock’s residents we knew.

FLINT_Cv1_dsAll the relationships are the same, but Fred and Barney are also veterans of the Paleolithic Wars, and attend a meeting where we get the briefest glimpses of what the war was like. Fred is also more self-aware and intelligent then in the cartoon, able to see some of the irony of his life as it comes about.

Wilma is a burgeoning artist, doing hand paintings that lands her in a local art show. How she is treated at the show not only is an interesting tale of artistic community snobbery, but also gives Wilma a great character defining flashback, which ends in the most beautiful, sweetest moment the two characters have had in any previous incarnation of the characters.

Mr. Slate is somehow an even bigger asshole then in the cartoon. Which makes sense as the town has his name on it. He abuses Fred, tries to pay off the Neanderthals to do humiliating acts for his amusement, and is just a giant prick over all.

I’m doing what I can to avoid any specific spoilers of this comic. Because it is so damn great I don’t want anything ruined. It is a well written, well characterized comic. There are call backs and call forwards in this single issue that I didn’t catch until the second reading. There’s so much depth here and the story is so well done that my review is just go read it.

The art is much more realistic then you would expect. Don’t worry, by the fourth or fifth page you have just adapted and get to enjoy the work. There are details everywhere including in backgrounds that increases the depth of the story. Yet even with the realism you still can pick each character out immediately, their defining essence is still there.

I can’t recommend this book enough, this could be the lone issue and would be worth the entire Hanna Barbara reboot. It definitely validates dealing with Scooby Apocalypse for me.

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The Flintstones #1
Writer: Mark Russel
Artist: Steve Pugh
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital