Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh
Release Date: 7th September, 2016
The Flinstones series has been a genuine surprise. It’s funny, outrageous and super silly through and through. Yet it’s also incredibly intelligent, and addresses some relevant contemporary issues without enforcing its commentary at the expense of entertainment. With this third issue, the series continues to impress.
The story is about an alien invasion that arrives in Bedrock following an experiment which involved launching a chimpanzee into a space in a bid to find other worlds. As such, the little green men were made aware of the existence of earth and decide to pay a visit while a local school field trip is taking place in the towns planetarium. The invaders’ visit is apparently a peaceful one, but Fred, Barney and the local Water Buffalo Lodge believe there’s trickery afoot. It turns out the aliens like to party, and they see Bedrock as the perfect hotspot for their Galactic Break – which is just like Spring Break, with obnoxious drunken aliens replacing obnoxious teenagers.
The Flintstones series is actually proving to be a lot more fun than you’d perhaps expect it to be. There isn’t a panel here that won’t have anybody with a wacky sense of humour grinning from ear to ear. The combination of the alien invasion with Spring Break partygoers is actually pretty fantastic when you think about it; are drunken students any less invading and destructive than extraterrestial lifeforms who want to mess up our planet? Not in my experience of aliens and students they aren’t. It also addresses topics such as immigration and the generational gulf between the young and the elderly, and how they treat each other. There is lots of smart commentary infused throughout, and credit must be bestowed in heaps on writer Mark Russell for bringing a refreshing timelessness to such a long-running and established property.
The art by Steve Pugh is stunning and reminiscent of a vintage Flinstones cartoon. It’s a Bedrock you’ll find familiar, with a few added stylistic elements which complement the story perfectly. It also perfectly encapsulates the ethos of the latest Flintstones series, in the sense that it’s redefined the characters and the universe they inhabit, while still retaining the elements we know and live. Unlike the antagonists in the story, it doesn’t feel alien. However, it has been revamped slightly, and the new character designs typify that.
Overall, this is fun and wacky stuff. But it touches on serious topical issues in a way that’s light, but still thought provoking. This was much better than I ever could have imagined; I might be a lukewarm casual when it comes to the cartoon, but Russell’s and Pugh’s latest comic incarnation has my attention.
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The writer of this piece was: Kieran Fisher
Kieran Tweets from @HairEverywhere_.