What a weird, wonderful comic book. Entirely unexpectedly–unless you think about Pugh being on the art and then you know at least the art will be amazing–but, otherwise, The Flintstones is a pretty unpredictable place to mine great material. Only Russell does it. There’s something very Afterlife with Archie in all these Hanna Barbera comics but Flintstones is the one where lighting is striking over and over.
Pebbles doesn’t even talk. Bam Bam doesn’t talk either, but Pebbles is in the comic a lot. Russell and Pugh give Pebbles the annoyed teen persona without ever having a scene with her. Okay, I guess I now hope Pebbles is amazing when she does get an issue. Anyway, the way Russell constructs the narrative is this almost reflected approach to adapting “The Flintstones” cartoon in the twenty-first century.
Only Russell isn’t asking deep questions, he’s asking traditional sitcom questions. He’s playing into the plotting of the original cartoon–while also employing a lot of comic book storytelling devices to get the scenes across. When the comic gets to its final, unexpectedly tender reveal, it’s a comic book moment. With a bit of a cartoon vibe. Only less “The Flintstones” than “The Simpsons.”
And the art. There’s so much for Pugh to do in this issue. Not just in terms of realistically realizing some Stone Age gadgetry, but in how he’s conveying the narrative. Pugh’s a storyteller. There’s an inherent pacing to his panels. It’s a perfect storm of timing, intent and talent, which is about the only way to explain this Flintstones book is such a dabba doo time.*
Buyer Beware; writer, Mark Russell; artist, Steve Pugh; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Brittany Holzherr and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.