Review: The Flintstones #3

Another month in Bedrock, I wonder what modern real world aspects we will satire this issue… wait aliens invade? Yes, aliens show up, and it is still authentic to the world built in the previous issues. The issue is great. It is smart, funny, and biting. The satire you should now expect from an issue of The Flintstones is there. There’s even the obligatory appearance of the Great Gazoo. You should read it. This is the third month in a row I have said The Flintstones is amazing, and you should buy it right now. Don’t worry; this isn’t another long review reiterating the wonderfulness of this comic and cover the various points of satire within.

flint_cv3_dsInstead, I want to talk about Joe. Joe is probably the best character to have ever graced only seven panels in the history of comics. Joe appeared briefly (one panel) in the very first issue. Fred and Barney went to the meeting for the Veterans of Paleolithic Wars, and Joe broke down as he relived the horrors they committed to the tree people they killed to take the land that became Bedrock. It was such a powerful panel thanks to the writing and the art it stuck with me even though it wasn’t even half the page. Joe doesn’t even appear in the second issue.

Jump to this issue (and spoilers time), and another meeting of the veterans. This time, Joe isn’t around. Fred and the guys talk about how society ignored them a week after the war was over, they were old news. We then go to Joe’s house where he is sitting on his bed alone. No dialogue, just him on a bed with slumped shoulders a tip-off all isn’t right. Joe then picks up the phone and asks for help.

But help is just a voice telling Joe to please hold.

Joe never gets any help. Once the aliens fully invade and shit gets bad, Joe is still on the phone. The automated voice has moved to just blatantly calling Joe’s suicide imminent. It is an uncaring message that Joe just sits through and deals with. He doesn’t interact. He just accepts that this modern, civilized life he fought for will help him. That the rules will get him help. Even though he has seen the city doesn’t care. Even though WE have seen in this issue how mistreated the veterans are.

Joe never gets the help he asked for, but he does help Fred. Unlike the society he fought for, Joe helps when asked. Joe joins the other veterans to help fend off the aliens. He also saves Pebbles. Which is his last act before being disintegrated.

That panel made me feel like I was kicked in the teeth.

Rereading those panels, I feel the kick again.

Joe wasn’t special at all. He wasn’t a character from the show. He only appeared in seven panels (if you count the dust he became as an appearance), only talked in four of them. But why does it feel so wrenching? How can I tell my girlfriend about what happened and have her feel bad?

Because Joe is out there right now asking for help and getting an automated response.

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The Flintstones #3 Writer:  Mark Russel Artist: Steve Pugh Publisher: DC Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital


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