Is It Over Yet?
Written by: Ken Pontac
Art by: Leonardo Manco, Mariana Sanzone and Sal Cipriano
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.