DC Comics’ new Looney Tunes crossover issues continue this week with Wonder Woman and The Tasmanian Devil teaming up, and Lobo helping out Wile E. Coyote. Obviously, these comics aren’t for everyone, but even if you hate the concept a part of you has to admit it’s pretty wacky and fun.
Writer: Bill Morrison
Artist: Kelley Jones (Backup by Saida Temofonte)
Publisher: DC Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Wile E. Coyote travels to the far reaches of space to hire Lobo to hunt down and kill his greatest nemesis of all time, the Road Runner. And when the Coyote and Lobo are after him, the Road Runner knows if they catch him—he’s through. And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters with story and art by Bill Morrison!
Why does this book matter?
This book had me sold the minute I saw Kelley Jones was drawing it. His influence on Batman is unquestionable, his imagery of Swamp Thing the best ever, and his darker tone certainly suits the violent nature of both these properties. On top of that, the combo seems to make sense given Lobo and Wile E. Coyote can never die!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I spy a Looney Tune!
Opening with a science fiction plot involving Acme Laboratories, writer Bill Morrison and Jones introduce how Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner come to be impossible to kill. There’s also a slight update to their looks with a somewhat realistic turn with Wile E. Coyote much more muscular and huge than he was in the cartoon. The origin is straight out of the B-movie black and white era and it gives the issue a slice of nostalgic eeriness. These opening scenes allow Morrison and Jones to show off a few familiar animals from the Looney Tunes lineup which gives the book the opportunity to nod to characters like Sylvester. There’s actually a few nods throughout the issue so keep your eyes open for some fun call outs.
The rest of the issue can be divided up into three parts which give the book a nice pace and keeps things changing all the time. Given how simplistic the setup was that’s good because a comic like this could easily grow tiresome. Shifting from the opening, Morrison and Jones move the story into a montage of sorts capturing the usual exploits of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. This allows Jones to play up some visual tropes seen in the cartoons but in his dark and macabre style. The rest of the issue focuses in on Lobo and a surprising team up. This allows Wile E. Coyote to interact with some DC heroes you’d never expect and at the same time give Lobo a try at killing the Road Runner. Ultimately this shakes out to some fun visual gags and a nice use of Lobo.
Speaking of Lobo, he’s written very well in this issue and given his somewhat crazy exploits he fits right in. Getting his head entirely exploded, for instance, is totally normal, and works perfectly when attempting to kill the Road Runner. Jones’ art is exceptional as always in this issue with Lobo looking quite cool (and disgusting when he takes a beating) and the overall dark tone works to make the zany plot feel realistic. There’s also some fantastic space scenes and–of course–some truly horrific looking faces in the issue too.
Bill Morrison and Saida Temofonte end the issue with a backup involving Lobo dealing with some legal issues via Bugs Bunny. This portion is quite funny and utilizes Bugs in a familiar but meta way. Basically, Lobo can’t finish the comic until all the pages are in so he must go after the Road Runner some more. Of course, Bugs is in on it and just wants to make his life hell. What a stinker. Temofonte gives these pages a nice cartoon look and feel (that’ll make you want to see a Lobo cartoon in this style!) that gives this backup a Looney Tunes vibe.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are jokes attempted and not necessarily landed in this issue. It might be due to Jones’ dark and macabre style, or maybe the comedy is too silly for its own good, but much of the gags in the main story fall flat. It’s obvious an attempt was made, but it didn’t work for this reviewer. The backup, however, got a few chuckles out of me.
Given the premise of this book one probably shouldn’t take it too seriously, but it does wrap up in a quick and unnatural sort of way. The opening also seems a tad long and takes awhile to get to the Lobo crossover fun.
Is It Good?
My first DC/Looney Tunes crossover comic review ends up being a winner. The art is dark and suits the twisted nature of both Wile E. Coyote and Lobo and the issue comes with a fantastic backup that’s worth a few chuckles.
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