Review – Bebop & Rocksteady Hit The Road #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver
Script: Dustin Weaver
Artwork: Ben Bates
Colours: Brittany Peer
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 1st August 2018

Hot on the heels of seeing them “destroy everything” as part of an insane time travel romp miniseries back in 2016, Bebop and Rocksteady are back for another dose of high-octane carnage.  It’s road trip time, bay-bee!

Now, trying to break down the actual plot of this issue is a tricky one. Essentially, our favourite rhino and warthog double-act are driving across Mexico and America, trying to get back to New York and vaguely toying with the idea of giving their villainy a rest and becoming heroes for a while.  However, things take a turn for the weird when Rocksteady notices that his ear has turned into a human one, and that the rest of his body appears to be following suit.

This leads the pair into a strange meeting with a wannabe YouTube (or “boob tube”) monster hunter, which in turn sees them crossing paths with a fairly obscure cult classic TMNT character.  Oh, and the EPF are hot on their heels, but not Agent Bishop, because he’s too busy grossly mishandling the Triceraton Invasion in NY in the main TMNT ongoing series.

Returning co-creators Ben Bates and Dustin Weaver are clearly having a blast here, delivering a tone and style that feels perfectly suited to their title characters.  Yes, the characterisation is pretty much non-existent, the story is wildly absurd, and the artwork is frantic and erratic throughout.  However, in spite of all these factors, this still manages to be a heck of a lot of fun.   Also, I’m not sure too many people are picking up a Bebop and Rocksteady comic expecting nuanced character development or insightful dialogue, so I can’t be too mad about the crazily disposable nature of this first issue.

There are some fun moments, some smirk-raising lines of dialogue and the typical brand of over-the-top carnage that you’d expect from these two (Bebop and Rocksteady, not Bates and Weaver.  Although an argument could probably be made for both.) That said, it doesn’t seem like quite as much fun as the timey-wimey goodness of the “destroy everything” miniseries, and it feels at times like the creators are perhaps throwing a few too many things at the wall in the hope that some of them might stick.

Ben Bates does a suitably effervescent job on the visual side of the book, partnering with colourist Brittany Peer to put together some bold, bright and occasionally nuts pages.  The action is brilliantly exaggerated,  with carnage and destruction at every turn, and the character designs Bates comes up with for some of the new (and old) faces are perfectly suited for a series like this.

The final pages see things somehow managing to get even weirder, throwing a new obstacle into the path of our “heroes” as they try to get home while figuring out what the heck is happening to them.

At the end of the day, this series, much like its stars, is likely to be something of an acquired taste.  If you’re a fan of cheesy gags, wild action and little-to-no characterisation or logic, then this is definitely going to be right up your street.  Utterly, utterly bonkers.  But in a good way, I guess?

Rating: 3.5/5.


ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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