I was unaware of DC’s new Hanna-Barbara comic books until coming across an article about a possible “rebooted” cinematic movie universe featuring its characters. So I thought I would read through a few of these titles and give my impressions.
Basically: everything across the board is much more realistic, with more adult situations. So for The Flintstones, we get characters that are drawn more like standard human beings, plus storylines about neighborhood gentrification and Barney continuing bromance with Fred.
Does such a radical departure work, or is it a cringeworthy nightmare? Let’s find out.
“The Neighborhood Association” is a tale of the aforementioned gentrification, with bearded hipsters moving in to Fred’s neighborhood and being generally annoying. A secondary plot line mirrors this theme, with a band of aliens called the “Neighborhood Association” whose purpose is “weeding the undesirables out of the galaxy.”
So basically: these aliens are like intergalactic elitist eugenicists, and their metaphorical parallel are the hipster cavemen who have just moved into Fred’s neighborhood and have turned it upside-down. As a life-long Brooklynite, I see nothing wrongheaded so far with this storyline.
There is also a subplot involving Barney giving Fred for his birthday a strangely sensual larger-than-life statue of the two of them. I have looked at this statue many, many times.
The hipsters find the statue to be an eyesore and want it torn down to preserve their impression of how the neighborhood should look. Meanwhile, the aliens are setting their sights on planet Earth, to determine whether it is “unfit” and should be destroyed. At this point, it should be mentioned that one of the aliens is none other than Gazoo—as in, “The Great Gazoo” of the original animated series. While this particular character seems to be way different than the original, it can’t be any worse than Alan Cumming from Viva Rock Vegas.
In general, this was a very satisfying read. Sure, it’s “adult”—but the chances that I would have otherwise ever picked up a “Flintstones” comic again for personal enjoyment was minimal anyway. The writing by Mark Russell provides a balance between more contemporary references and humor and a bit of ye standarde Flintstones slapstick, and artist Steve Pugh manages to re-design these characters in a way that both seems realistic but still retains the central recognizable visual qualities of the characters.
Lastly, though I’m only getting on board here at issue #11, I could still easily navigate my way through the plot & wasn’t bogged down with a ton of continuity.
So in short—I’d like to see more of this. Especially that statue.
THE FLINTSTONES #11 IS OUT NOW