Review – DC Meets Hanna-Barbera
Various: Mark Russell, James Tyrion, Christopher Sebela, Marc Andreyko, Jeff Parker, Tony Bedard, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connner, Howard Chaykin, Dan DiDio Rick Leonardi, Scott Hanna, Ariel Olivetti, Steve Lieber, Ben Caldwell, Mark Morales, Pier Brito, Howard Chaykin, Phil Winslade, Howard Porter Steve Buccellato, Ariel Olivetti, Veronica Gandini, Jeremy Lawson, Alex Sinclair, Wil Quintana, Chris Chuckry Dave Sharpe, A Larger World Studios, Michael Heisler, Pat Brosseau, Nick J. Napolitano.
Published by DC Comics
Release date: 26th September 2017
DC Meets Hanna-Barbera, I mean where do I even begin? This is a wacky, outrageous and utterly bonkers comic. It follows in the footsteps of other DC mix-up mash ups, such as the very popular DC Vs Marvel. Then more recently, DC meets The Looney Tunes.
DC Comics is essentially owned by Time Warner and Hanna-Barbera became a subsidiary in 1996. The characters and their stories were rehashed on the likes of Cartoon Network. I still reminisce about the carefree days of watching them on British terrestrial television as a child. Wacky Races, Top Cat and The Jetsons, being among my personal favourites.
It wouldn’t be for another ten years before Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, announced a new partnership between DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera. This was an interesting incentive to make the most of the studios comedic characters and adapt them into darker and edgier scenarios. Now, stand alone, they have been very popular, garnering mainly positive reviews. This comic is a collection of regular DC characters interacting with the new look Hanna-Barbera characters. It brings together the comic specials that were backup features for the main series.
Warning the following contains Spoilers!
This is the first comic short in DC meets Hanna-Barbera. Here we find Booster Gold in a mix-up mash up with the Flintstones. The Flintstones make more of a cameo appearance than actually adding much to the narrative. It’s an alright story and parts are very funny. The irony that Booster Gold actually caused the problems in his timeline, based on him going back in time in an attempt to prevent it. This, in itself, is an absolute cracker. The other time hoppers being in awkward, historic disasters made for entertaining reading. More especially for me, being a bit of a history nerd.
The Flintstones could have been there or not for me, they added nothing to the storyline. The artwork is ok. A lot of the scenes with Booster Gold alone, haven’t got much in the way of background or colour. I guess this is to make him stand out but it doesn’t help the comics overall look. The art has been benefited by the addition of classic Flintstones culture. The Flintstones car, for instance, made an appearance, though it was dreadfully written into the narrative. The portrayal of Wilma as another poor, helpless, housewife character, just off to do the groceries and having no idea what was going on. This annoyed me more than I can say on here. If you are modernising the characters, at least update the female narrative. Boosters date sums it up at the end by saying she is going to sue Tinder. Yep, I feel you sister.
Next in the collection, is the Jetsons, which is not a mash up with any other DC characters, this is a stand alone short. I used to love the TV series so I was excited to read this. It begins with Judy visiting her 124 year old grandmother, Rosemary Jetson, George’s mother. Who wants to end her life, in order to upload her consciousness into a machine. She wishes to live on without the daily pain and grief of her ageing life, choosing technology over mortality.
As well as dealing with issues of grief and mortality, the comic also delves into privacy invasion. When Jane and George try to find out where Judy has gone, they are able to use a tracking device to find her location. Then are able to put two & two together and end up arriving just in time to meet XB-500. As a result, this comic short, turns out to be the pretty disturbing backstory to the maid robot, Rosie.
It is quite deep for a comic and the ending is not what I expected, nor what I think, the Jetsons deserved in terms of continuity with the original. Where does the comic go from here? Will Rosie be the maid robot like she was in the original? Or will she be Granny robot now?
The artwork was generally ok, the new look characters have definitely been modernised. My big issue is, it’s quite a serious comic and the ending was far too jokey for what is a solemn subject. As was some of the narrative, it all was fine, until that last page. It had a message to tell on several levels, then blew it for me. It’s a shame, as it could have been really meaningful.
The Wonders of Space
Green Lantern vs Space Ghost, this for me was one of the better ones in the collection. The two characters meet after receiving a distress call from a planet outside the known universe. They mistake one another for the problem. The pair soon realise, when captured, they are not the enemy and that the planet was occupied by people brainwashed into believing there is nothing in space. Finally, the new duo team up to help the world open their eyes, which struck a cord with me in this current climate.
A few fun moments, some poignant ones with great imagery to boot. The art was great, the narrative was ok, a bit dull in places but the overall message was nice. It worked because they are similar characters doing similar jobs, therefore, the crossover came easily.
The Ruff and Reddy Show
This comic short has reimagined the pair as stand up comedians and spins the yarn of how the two came to be partners. It’s full of ok one liners, the story is a bit weak, there is a random fight between them and a rival comedy duo that goes from zero to blood and gore in a single page.
The artwork begins by taking the form of a black and white tv set, which was a good idea, just the narrative was dull and pointless, then the art picks up and finally for this collection sets the right tone. There are moments where it does feel like an apt take on the struggles of being a stand up comedian. However, it doesn’t quite hit the mark and is a tad dull.
Strange Quest is the combining of Jonny Quest, his gang of pals, Adam Strange and a cameo from Birdman! Like everything in the Jonny Quest world, it’s a bit strange. So it’s apt that Adam Strange comes tumbling into it. Having got amnesia, he has to remember who he is. Luckily, he recalls his memory just in time, as F.E.A.R come trundling in, on their dinosaur rides; begging to be let through a vortex to anywhere but this crazy world. F.E.A.R threaten everyone with death if they don’t help them, Birdman rocks up out of nowhere and obliges.
All’s well, that ends well. I am actually happy with this short as it is more true to the original characters. The artwork is the best of the bunch in terms of continuity of the Hanna-Barbara characters. The story is random but then so is Jonny Quest. As a result, I am ok with it, not overwhelmed but not complaining either.
Top Cat in out of the Alley
This is the unlikely, Batman meets Top Cat short, written by Dan DiDio himself. We find a bit of a different back story for TC here, than the original Hanna-Barbera series. Supposedly, TC is from a world where only cats exist and no humans; where even Officer Dibble is a cat. We find out TC was finally caught and imprisoned. However, with the help of good ole Benny and a Professor of dark matter. TC managed to make a mad dash escape through a portal, ending up in the DC Comics Universe. Here he finds himself, face to face, with the caped crusader. Having to outwit Batman and get rid of him so the obvious team up could happen; TC and Cat Woman. The beginnings of what could be a beautiful relationship perhaps?
The artwork was good, a tad on the dark side and personally, I didn’t like the new look Top Cat. He stood out just a bit too much in the dark, Gotham background. With his brighter colours and puffy looks, in what is a sharp edged kind of comic, it just wasn’t quite right. The narrative however, voiced him perfectly. Just as I remember him, if not a little better, dare I add! A few touch ups here and there and I think this might work… Wait, what am I saying? TC and Batman, in a comic together, and it could actually work? Nuts hey!
The Banana Splits meets The Suicide Squad, what is not to like? The story begins with animal rock band, The Banana Splits, mistakenly identified as metahumans and thrown in Belle Reve. Perhaps a sly nod to the issues facing the American police and prison system? That or just a lucky, subtext accident, as it saves the story somewhat and gives it a deeper meaning. Amanda Waller notices the standout characters in prison and hires them to save the Suicide Squad. Together they ace a secret mission and it ends with the Suicide Squad watching The Banana Splits in concert!
It is apt the two wacky groups of Hanna-Barbera and DC should come together and team up. However, one is a killing machine, the other a Saturday morning kids show. It’s different, that said I actually really liked this one and thought the artwork was awesome. I do like the Suicide Squad though, I know they can rub people up the wrong way, in the comics too! Therfore, if you aren’t a fan then you probably won’t like this one.
This is another stand alone, comic special about Snagglepuss. For such a short comic it packs a punch. It is actually pretty politically relevant and has some important messages to pack in. Whilst Snagglepuss is still the recognisable pink lion, with clever one liners and classic southern drawl. He has been reimagined intelligently and expanded upon the original character.
We begin with Snagglepuss in the 1950’s sitting before the House of Representatives Committee because his latest play is seen as Un-American. He defends his work with intelligent quips which are representative of the beloved original character but carry more weight, given the circumstances he finds himself in. His message of resistance and writing the truth is important now more than ever when so many lies are readily accepted as the truth with the ever increasing social media dilemma. The ending is apt too, we all need to fight because some battles need fighting. The artwork is great, the narrative is cleverly written, intelligent and thoughtful.
DC meets Hanna-Barbera… but should they have run the other way?
DC Meets Hanna-Barbera, all in all, as a collection, this comic didn’t really work for me. The comics felt thrown together, some had moments of comedic gold, and others with lots of intelligence. For me, these backups for the main series, were too short to give the characters a fighting chance to develop. They sometimes ploughed the reader with too much information, without really expanding on it, in a plausible way. However, the concept wasn’t really plausible to start with, was it. The artwork in general, did nothing to help drag some of the stories along. Some got it spot on and beautiful at the same time. Sadly however, the some of the art missed the mark completely. More especially in terms of tone or were too busy and chaotic to the eye.
So as a fan of Hanna-Barbera characters in their original form, I couldn’t advise anyone with similar views to buy it. Especially, if like me, you hoped to have a good childhood reminisce about your favourite Hanna-Barbera characters meeting your favourite DC characters. Sadly there isn’t a lot left to remind me of the carefree good times in DC meets Hanna-Barbera. They have certainly lost their innocence and grown up. I would be interested, however, to follow up with reading the Snagglepuss series to see where they take that next.
Let us know what you think of DC meets Hanna-Barbera in the comments below.
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