Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wacky Raceland #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

More like Dick Cowardly...

Wacky Raceland #2
"A Night at the Opera"
Story - Ken Pontac
Art - Leonardo Manco
Colors - Mariana Sanzone
Letters - Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 07.13.2016
Cover Price: $3.99

I agreed to take over the coverage on Wacky Raceland last month... thinking that perhaps a new set of eyes would afford us a more positive point of view on the book.  Ever since then, I've had a nervous tickle in my throat and pangs of Catholic guilt for robbing the world of another Jim Werner Wacky Wreview.

I got myself caught up on issue #1... and was immediatley disappointed that I'd somehow confused Wacky Races with the Laff-a-Lympics... just what in the hell did I get myself into?

In the days leading up to receiving my copy of issue #2, I felt like I did several years back when I was on unemployment.  Every day I'd trudge up to the mailbox... worst case scenario? No check, and I didn't eat that day... the best case?  I'd have a check, but everything would still really suck.

This issue follows in the storytelling formula set in the opening chapter... we get racing and we get flashbacks.  As with last issue's Penelope Pitstop pre-Apocalypse "origin story", this month is Mr. Dick Dastardly's time to shine.  Also in following last issue's blueprint, we get a pretty impressive spread featuring all of our (favorite?) wacky racers.

This month we're racing through the dilapidated remains of San Francisco, which triggers some rather painful pre-Apocalyptic memories in Dastardly.  Going back and forth between the past and present really plays to the strengths of Leo Manco.  While I'm not completely on board with his character art, I really dig the way he is able to evoke a real feeling of decay in the "current" world, especially when juxtaposed with an almost 1940's looking pre-Poc Frisco.

We learn that Dastardly was perhaps a little cowardly before the world started falling down around everyone's ears, which just may be why he acts the way he does in the present.  He was unable to save the only one's important to him... however, the race... more specifically the disembodied announcer promises the road to redemption leads straight to the race's finish line.

Dick Dastardly was never a character I cared a whit about.  In trying to make him a somewhat sympathetic character, I suppose I can find a new appreciation for not only him, but this overall racing endeavor.  All I ever needed was "He's a bad dude, because he's called Dastardly"... If this is the way this series is to proceed, I am actually cautiously optimistic about the outcome.  

At the end of this, I'm still somewhat amused that DC seems so intent on bringing fun and a feeling of "light" to their mainline books... while the Hanna Barbera properties are being rebooted into darker, more twisted versions.  One of the things I'm wont to ask when being all petulant and precious is "Who is this for?" as in, is there an audience for this?  I'd have never guessed, but hey, what do I know?

Personally speaking, I feel this will read (and score) a whole lot better in collected format... allowing for the jerk-off characters we'd been introduced to find their own redemption(s) as they are explored further in a single volume.  These flashback vignettes are okay, however, I fear that if next month is, for example, the "Peter Perfect" issue... Dick Dastardly will lose any goodwill or sympathy he'd earned in this one.

Bits and Pieces:

I think I can safely say this was a better issue than the first.  Not a home run by any stretch, but it gives us a better understanding of the motivations behind one of the only compelling characters in the series.  It's an odd state of affairs when the most likable member of the cast is the one named "Dastardly".  Didn't like it, didn't hate it.  An improvement, however, that one vital ingredient remains missing... fun.

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