Dastardly and Muttley #5 – Garth Ennis, Writer; Mauricet, Artist; John Kalisz, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Weird But Weirdest?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: As Dastardly and Muttley reaches its final act, it’s clear – this is the weirdest thing DC has ever put out. Far better than the previous take on these characters, Wacky Raceland, it at least embraces its cartoon roots. But this issue, which details the history of the strange substance transforming the world, goes into the most hilariously wrong corners I can imagine. The issue opens with a government team arriving at the Capitol to investigate – and being attacked by hundreds of monkeys that used to be Congressmen and Senators. From there, Dastardly, Muttley, and their team track down the evil General Harrier, who has now been transformed into a raccoon, and find the truth of how Professor Dubious uncovered the strange substance currently spilling from War Pig One. Suffice it to say, I never thought I’d see a cartoon version of Cthulhu.
Here’s the strange thing – this is, inherently, a comic about biological weapons, body horror, and the end of the world. What it does to people and the planet itself is hilarious when divorced from its comedic bits. But it’s really hard to divorce it. The scene where Muttley tries to call his daughter, only to lose the power of speech and become more and more dog-like, is genuinely tragic. But moments like that are hard to take seriously when the comic gets more and more absurd by the second. It ends with a new President – George Clooney, I think – who has transformed into a fox and references the fact that Vladimir Putin is apparently now a chicken. It’s bizarre. It’s disturbing. It’s hilarious. Is it actually good? I’m still not sure about that.
Corrina: I wouldn’t say it’s the weirdest thing DC has done–but it’s certainly weird. However, I see parallels to DC’s Metal event. Both events feature a metal that can completely rewrite a universe (this is what our Big Bad wants to do with his big tower in Metal), both events feature the transformation of favorite characters, and both events want us to believe these weird, half-science explanations.
The difference is that the whole thing is much easier to take with this darkly humorous series. The Metal crossover is just grimdark serious and it has all of the flaws of this one, too.
But I’m not sure that means Dastardly & Muttley is exactly good. It has its moments and I can see the talent behind the creative decisions made in the comic but … I’m not sure it works in the end.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.