Warner Bros. is no stranger to crossing over their numerous properties, but DC Comics is pushing the mashup to a whole new level as Looney Tunes characters are inserted into the life of a classic DC character, such as the recent Martian Manhunter/Marvin the Martian crossover.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Lee Weeks, Byron Vaughns
Publisher: DC Comics
Following a successful first year of the current Batman run, which is now on “The War of Jokes and Riddles”, Tom King inserts our favorite bumbling hunter who likes to go after wabbits into the dark abyss that is Gotham City. Making a stop at Porky’s to confront Bugs “The Bunny,” a bucktoothed hitman responsible for killing someone Elmer loved, Fudd receives information from Bugs in that it was Bruce Wayne who hired him to do the killing, thus propelling the hunter to target the billionaire who happens to dress up as a bat at night.
As always with Tom King, who whenever he tackles an established universe, he tends to drop a lot of Easter eggs evoking the history of a superhero and with this crossover, he gets the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it depicts Gotham as a gritty crime-ridden film noir setting that reprises a classic femme fatale from Batman’s history, whilst on the other hand, King has enormous fun in reinterpreting Looney Tunes as shady Gothamites who hang around in Porky’s.
Although he does not hunt rabbits or ducks, Elmer Fudd is a character who fits nicely into the dark streets of Gotham as King presents him as a tragicomic figure who shows emotions in a reckless fashion. As much as he is the central focus, Elmer can be a menacing presence and when he confronts Batman, it’s surprising that he can have an advantage on the Dark Knight, although King manages to provide a sense of humor by retaining the traditional Elmer-speak, even when he’s given serious dialogue.
Known for his work on such titles as Daredevil, Lee Weeks seems very influenced by David Mazzuchelli as he illustrates Gotham with panels filled with murky waters, as well as characters placed in shadowed interiors. As much as he retains the original visual template, there’s nothing looney about this Fudd and the central fight between he and Batman is a brilliantly choreographed sequence that makes the whole issue worth it.
My only criticism with this issue is King’s backup feature that is basically a traditional Bugs Bunny episode that guest stars Batman, with artist Bryon Vaughns doing an amateurish impersonation of Chuck Jones. Clearly stating the heritage of the Looney Tunes, it just seems unnecessary as it just makes Batman a fool who gets shot in the face.
Much like what he’s doing in his current Batman run, Tom King pokes fun at both the Bat-mythos and his reinterpretation of Looney Tunes, presenting a darkly comic crime-ridden tale.
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