Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Ruff and Reddy Show #5 Review

Tired. So Tired.

Written by: Howard Chaykin
Art by: Mac Rey
Letters by: Ken Bruzenak
Price: $3.99

It's time for The Ruff and Reddy Show. Despite Mac Rey's charming and effective art, Howard Chaykin's tale of showbiz shenanigans and sleaze, while rich with pop culture references and a number of amusing one-liners, has appeared to be nothing more than a collection of gags in search of a decent storyline. Last issue saw at least some progress in that direction with our pair of comeback comedians, having jettisoned their hardworking agent Pamela, looked as if they might be in for some payback Hollywood style. While her threat appears to have been nullified, it's been made clear that Ruff and Reddy are too volatile a combination to be trouble-free for long. Is this the issue where things finally start to fall apart? There's only one way to find out…

The issue starts inauspiciously – as have most of the issues to date – with a series of talking heads discussing Ruff and Reddy's career and examples of the pair working their way through a number of different TV parts. As a commentary on current popular culture (the South Park spoof is reasonably funny, as is the Doctor Who one), they're reasonably entertaining, but, because they take up at least half the issue, they're also incredibly frustrating. While Pamela does make an appearance, it's not entirely sure what she wants to achieve in her single page of dialogue with a handsome mustachioed man and the sense of a writer not being terribly interested in telling an actual story is rather pronounced.

Things do liven up when the pair attend a comic convention but the resulting spat with their rivals is something we've seen before and the promise of a sex tape does very little to whet the appetite for the next issue. Mac Rey's art remains wonderful and Chaykin's script is entertaining enough. From a story point of view, though, this series is so thin it's almost transparent. Perhaps this would have worked better as a more tightly-plotted back-up strip in one of the other Hanna-Barbera titles, but as a main title it's flabby, unfocused and far too reliant on its writer's (admittedly well-developed) cynical humour. 

Bits and Pieces:

Mac Rey's art continues to impress but alone it cannot sustain enthusiasm for a story that its writer simply doesn't seem interested in telling properly. While pop culture commentary is fun in its own way (and some of the gags here definitely do hit their mark), the feeling that the title is treading water is inescapable. Nowhere is this more obvious than in this issue's finale which rehashes a confrontation from a couple of issues ago and does next to nothing with its comic con setting. Whoever commissioned this needs a stern talking to. Or a wedgie, possibly.


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