Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wacky Raceland #1 Review


Is It Over Yet?


Written by: Ken Pontac
Art by: Leonardo Manco, Mariana Sanzone and Sal Cipriano
Cover Price:$3.99
Release Date: June 8, 2016

Of all the announced Hanna-Barbera titles, this one had to be the biggest head scratcher.  I don't know if it made any more sense in my mind after I heard that it was going to be the Wacky Races by ways of Mad Max, but I didn't say I wasn't intrigued, either.  As far as these new Hanna-Barbera books go, I'm pretty sure this is the property that most people are least familiar with, but after reading Future Quest and Scooby Apocalypse,  I'm not sure that's a bad thing.  This is not your father's Penelope Pitstop and by that I mean it's not my Penelope Pitstop.  Yes, I am not just familiar with the Wacky Races, but used to enjoy watching the cartoon as a kid.  I don't think anyone out there will claim it to be their all-time favorite (I liked the Laff-A-Lympics a lot more and that is nowhere near my favorite), but I wouldn't change the channel when it came on.  So, how is this reinvention of a mindless and goofy cartoon now that it is given the dark and gritty treatment?  Let's find out...


The issue starts out with the just the cars outside the Armageddon Bar.  We find out quickly that they are sentient and have a relationship with each other, their drivers and a very unfortunate lizard.  It's an okay scene that tries a little too hard for a laugh, but once we get inside the bar, I was longing for more of the cars.

Why?  Because the actual racers are all horrible people.  Well, actually Muttley is a "robo-mutt", but he's no better.  Just from watching the cartoon (or by their names), you would think that Penelope and Peter Perfect were the "heroes" here, but they seem to be just as bad if not only slightly better. Instead of any real character development, we get a bar room brawl that is intermixed with flashbacks of that day's race.



I'll give Leonardo Manco some credit here because the credits page with all the vehicles on it is the highlight of the issue.  The gang's all here and the names and numbers match up, but that's where the similarities and fun end.  I'm not talking about these re imagined versions of the vehicles which I like enough, but the dialogue between the racers.  It's pretty damn awful.

We then get a flashback to show how Penelope Pitstop (and the others in general) got involved in all of this.  It's confusing as hell and really doesn't make any sense the more I thought about it.  Penelope and her car were swept away in a flood, she woke up to a bodiless narrator, called The Announcer, who gave her car a sentient A.I. and entered her in a race with the winner getting to go to Utopia, a paradise on this new hellhole of an Earth.  That's fine, but when did Penelope hear about this Utopia?  Didn't she just wake up?  I'm not going to worry too much about it since by this point, I was having no fun at all.



We go back and forth between the race and the bar fight, but without knowing anything about most of the characters involved, everything falls flat.  We eventually see Peter Perfect kind of act like a hero and Penelope turn Dick Dastardly's trick into a win for herself, but again, there just isn't any spark here.

The brawl ends with the Announcer starting another race and the issue ends with the characters walking together, bad mouthing each other.  What did I just read?!?  There is a backup story with Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear, but it did nothing to get me on board this comic one bit.



This comic book is a mess.  It had it's work cut out for it trying to bring a goofy little cartoon into today's comics, but it could have at least been fun.  I really don't know why they bothered to even tie it in with the Wacky Races because most people won't get the tie-in and those who do might want to strangle someone after reading it.  No matter which camp you lie in, give this book a wide berth.

The big thing DC pushed going into this book were the car designs and while I mentioned the credits page as the highlight, nothing after that pushes the cars one bit.  The book becomes a muddled mess of blood and guts instead of focusing on the vehicles and I was just left wondering why.

Bits and Pieces:

Of all the Hanna-Barbera books, Wacky Raceland was going to be the toughest sell and after reading it, I'm not buying whatever it is they are selling.  It was a confusing and convoluted misdirection of a tie-in that really got nothing right. After reading it, I don't know much about the characters or cars and I could really care less.  This could have been fun, but what we got here is so far from fun and that is a real shame.  I can't and won't recommend this book to anyone, not even my worst enemy, Eric Shea.

3.5/10





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20 comments:

  1. It's funny. Every mainline issue this week disappointed me in one way or another, but with zero expectations for Wacky Raceland, I ended up having a blast.
    I really enjoyed this bunch of assholes.

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    1. I guess I am going to be in the minority...I just had zero fun with it. I did want to see the car designs they kept talking about and we rarely got that at all. I did love the credits page, though! Maybe I just wasn't expecting them all to be assholes! Maybe I should have gone into it thinking of it as Section 8 on wheels...but it still was no fun for me.

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  2. I have to disagree with this review. I immediately put in an order for #2 after reading #1. Pontac did a fantastic job of giving every racer a fair amount of spotlight, and I loved the love/hate relationships between them.

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    1. i'm glad you liked it. I thought it was a mess without any fun at all. It's funny that while DC is involved in Rebirth to bring back the legacy and fun of their books, they are also busy destroying the legacy and fun of the Hanna-Barbera stuff. Like I said, I'm glad you liked it because this was going to be the toughest one to find an audience.

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  3. It seems like DC looked at "Captain America is now Hydra" twist and decided to do something just as horrible overnight.

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    1. I just don't know why they went with the "Let's make everything dark" when that really is played out. This whole thing seemed like they were late getting on the "Afterlife with Archie" trolley, but that was fun and stayed true to the characters. These just seem dark for dark's sake,

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    2. except Future Quest...that at least keeps the spirit of the property

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  4. Maybe you should give up on the Hannah Babera Books Jim. Can't Papi or Jody review the books?

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    1. nobody wanted this one! I only expect a handful of people to review this and the reviews for the others to dwindle down as well.

      I just asked Jody and he would have given this issue a 1/10!

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    2. and asked him about Scooby...Jody would have given that a 5/10

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    3. Reggie is doing the Flintstones and Jody will keep doing Future Quest

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  5. This comic has a lot of content and rich in substance visually and story wise. It was a very pleasant surprise.

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  6. No way man. Some comics just aren't for everyone, but even you said the show wasn't great. Taking something in a new direction is a bold choice and adapting the show wouldn't have worked like it did in future quest. It was fun just seeing how they adapted all the characters. This comic clearly isn't intended for kids or hanna barbera loyalists but I'll never discourage creative spirit when so much out there is just bland same old. This has really gotten me interested in where this is all going and if that ambient voice threw you I don't know how you can read anything out there cause that's clearly something to be explained. May not be your cup of tea but given how bland you seemingly like your tea im not that curious on your opinion on tea in general.

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    1. funny because I found everything here bland...no real character development, a really forced explanation on how it is all setup...we get a little about Penelope, but even that is rushed and confusing. You liked to see how they adapted the characters which is good because all you're going to get is what you "see" - tell me how they adapted Peter. Tell me how they adapted the Slag Brothers. Tell me how they adapted the The Ant Hill Mob. Please give me a list of every character and tell me anything about them.

      I am neither a kid nor a Hanna-Barbera loyalist - this just wasn't fun to me. There isn't a character I care about as they all seem like awful people and the story is paper thin. We get a bar brawl and a race and both are confusing and without knowing the characters, had no impact whatsoever.

      This is Wacky Races turned into Mad Max and that just isn't as much of a "new direction" or "bold choice" as you say...that's pretty safe and unoriginal if you ask me. Give me something new, not an attempt to seem like one of the most popular movies in the last couple of years.

      Hey, I am not the lowest review score - guy at Multiversity Comics gave it a 0/10

      Plus, any time you end a comment with an insult, you pretty much negate everything you said above it so congrats on that!

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    2. and yea, the cartoon wasn't great, but it did have enough charm to be remembered - this has no charm, is dark and gritty for no reason except to be dark and gritty, has awful characters who are both horrible stereotypes and overly offensive to women, transgendered and anyone with taste.

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    3. I wasn't intend in to be insulting i assure you. Simply that i don't care for the review and won't be looking at others for insight into my purchases any longer. Comparing the cartoons development to this sets this bars above and although maybe it shouldn't be accounted for due to not being this issue the next two issues descriptions seem to set up much more development. Slag Brothers and Ant Hill I don't know but turning the Arkansas Chuggabug crew into a tragic story of two childhood friends, one of which becomes mutilated and brain damaged at the fault of carrying out his alcoholic friend who is traumatized to the point of constant nightmares and drinks himself into a stupor... If this book had been a one shot of all 11 racer teams in would have been two long this book ( seemingly) will be taking it one step at a time giving post apocalyptic brutality with tragic character moments and deeply dark humor. Maybe i just saw things in it you didn't. As i said it may not be the popular opinion but if something doesn't float your boat that's fine. I didn't mean to offend it just bothers me when people look at something from a single (maybe nostalgic) vantage point and don't attempt to dig into what the writers and artist seem to be trying to do. It was a lot of flash and i may even have agreed with you if not for the flashback and promises of more giving an on the surface shallow look that will prove to have different people liking different racers. And that is in essence a great adaptation of the original show.

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    4. First time and last time I will be bothering with this sad excuse for a blog. Jim is way too thin-skinned for a blogger to put it mildly. Most telling was this sad little comment.

      "Plus, any time you end a comment with an insult, you pretty much negate everything you said above it so congrats on that!"

      Your "congrats" was sad little wannabe hipster snark, so you just comes across looking like a tool. It was obvious the poster wasn't insulting you, so the "thin-skinned" comment comes back into play. Finally, if they had been insulting you, it would've in no way, shape, or form negated anything. Statements like that are a butt-hurt guys way of deflecting so he doesn't keep looking like a tool. I can make a 1,000 valid points to refute someone else's and still call them a asshat. The end result is that I'm still right. You rather failed miserably at everything you attempted, but don't let that keep you down. Then again, maybe you should just stay down. You contribute little to...anything.

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    5. LOL! So, you are never coming back after commenting on a post from a month and a half ago. Oh well, I still don't like this series and gave it to someone else to review...someone else who doesn't like it either.

      I'm not sure why you think a blogger needs to have thick skin...I can certainly fake my way through life like most people, but I pretty much treat the people who comment on our site as normal people and say what I would if they were right here with me.

      Plus, in the end, Lance and myself made up and agreed to disagree so I'm not sure what you are getting at except trying to start a fight but showed up to the party 90 days too late.

      Funny that I contribute little to anything, while you contribute a comment to my nothing! I'd say "congrats" ,but you don't like that so I will use your words...you are a butt-hurt, tool of an asshat. Did I forget anything?

      Btw, if I was a thin-skinned tool, I would just delete your comment and pretend you don't exist, but unlike other sites, we don't do that since we value what people say and like engaging with them about comics.

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  7. And i know i misspelled too... Haha... Look i just think writing this off after issue one would be a huge mistake for your readers

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    1. I agree! I am only reviewing this one issue...I hope that next issue kicks total ass and I can tell everyone to grab it. I hated this issue, but obviously, some people like it. If anyone is interested, they should pick it up and give it a shot.

      Our reviews are just our opinions...grab it and see for yourself.

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