I have a love/hate relationship with comic book crossovers. Occasionally, combining two headliners into one joined title can produce a fun and entertaining story. Then there are times where you see a crossover announcement and you can’t see it as anything other than a cheap money grab. DC Comic’s recent Looney Toons tangent was unfortunately classified as the latter option in my mind. One title in particular struck me as the most pathetically pointless to borderline ‘WTF’ crossover entries: Batman/Elmer Fudd. Let’s be real, DC Comics, those two names have no business being together. I even openly questioned this on DC’s Facebook post. Yes, it devolved into a thread about having a toilet in a car but that’s aside the point.
Then things took an unexpected turn…. I began hearing PRAISE for the needless crossover. My preferred, historically level-headed review source, IGN, gave it an unheard of TEN out of TEN. What?!
Further research turned up a near unanimous high score for something I was happy to write off. I found myself transfixed like a moth to a flame. So I did the unthinkable – I picked it up at my local comic book store.
I’m almost embarrassed to say that this comic was stupid fun. Tom King’s capable hands crafted a story that by all rights should have been shameless dribble and made it a character driven romp in Gotham’s seedy underbelly. Elmer Fudd plays the part of a hit man doing ‘one last job’ on carrot crazed gangster Bugs “The Bunny”. This is a dark and gritty take on classic Looney Toons characters that could only fit into Gotham City. The most ridiculous part of this is that every one of Elmer Fudd’s lines are written in his trademark speech impediment. There are very few distinct voices in my head when I’m reading comics: Batman is always Kevin Conroy, Joker is always Mark Hamill, Superman is always Tim Daly, etc. These voice talents are cemented in my mind from growing up watching their animated takes on these characters. They’ve earned that place, that association that I’ve mentally manifested countless times in the years since. Much to my surprise, Elmer Fudd’s voice went right with the dialogue almost as well as if he’d stood in that rooftop lightning-lit backdrop of Bruce Timm’s classic series rather than Batman. This immediate voice assignment made for a laugh out loud read that began from the very first line of dialogue. The comic takes on a crime noir feel with a lighthearted undertone; two sides that could have been disastrous if handled by a different creative team.
I won’t give away the story because that’s part of the fun. What I will say is that you can pick this up without any knowledge of current or ongoing storylines. It has the look and feel of a one-shot. Hopefully DC leaves it as such to not tempt fate with wearing out a winning combination. This comic is meant for anyone aware of Batman that has also heard Elmer Fudd’s voice in classic Looney Toons. You’re certainly not required to be a diehard fan of either to enjoy such a ludicrous mashup.
My final rating of BATMAN/ELMER FUDD #1 by Tom King is a 9.4 out of 10.
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The Belligerent Barnes