Writer: Ken Pontac
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Colours: Mariann Sanzone
Release Date: 13th July 2016
Saturday morning TV nostalgia is megabucks these days. So, hot on the apocalyptic monster hunting madness of Scooby and Co, we get a post apocalyptic, mad Max mash(crash?)-up of Wacky Races.
I’ll freely admit to not being crazy about the premise. It smacks of a snide revisionism, a smug self-awareness. But it was recommended to me by a friend who has similar tastes to mine, and has rarely steered me wrong. So.
The announcer is some sort of quasi-omnipotent being who is giving second chances to a group of misfits, giving them AI-infused vehicles to race both for his pleasure and a promised Utopia where the victor is granted some burning desire in an irradiated, mutant filled wasteland. This issue focuses on Dick Dasterdly (and his cybernetic mutt who sadly doesn’t snicker or demand medals) in a diversion to the wreckage of San Francisco opera House; the other racers, meanwhile, battle mutants and nanites to the finish line. It’s a jolly romp, raises a smile here and there with its anarchic antics, but it’s by no means perfect.
The aesthetic of the cars is a mixed success. The Army Surplus Special works really well – not that surprising, I suppose – and both the Compact Pussycat and the Turbo Terrific really fuse the styles effectively, looking very snazzy. The others are mostly… OK. They don’t feel like enough restyling has gone on – particularly the Mean Machine, of all things; I really expected it to be seriously Mean. The facial design likewise doesn’t quite work – it’s neither one thing or the other.
There’s some great, frantic action, and it’s got immense energy – but it isn’t quite there yet. Even San Fransisco itself isn’t recognisable: even a post apocalyptic ruin should retain some iconic architecture, or it invalidates the very point of using said location.
All that being said, it’s still fun. Sanzone’s colouring is the absolute star here, characterising time, place and tone to great effect. I like a comic that’s so episodic I feel like I can pick up an issue here and there on a whim. I’d love this to build to something bigger, and I do like a bit of fresh air being breathed into a rather stale dystopic genre. So, not a swing and a miss, but with practice, shows potential.
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