The Flintstones #1 Review: Yabba-Dabba Don't Expect The Original, But Stay For The Commentary

The Flintstones is the most recent comic to come out of DC’s recent relaunch of their Hanna-Barbera properties. Compared to the horrifying dystopia presented in Wacky Raceland and the controversial character changes in Scooby Apocalypse, it seemed to be fairly straightforward. You take the classic animated show and just modernize it slightly. Make the art more realistic, mine our current environmental and political structure for satire, and maybe even a splash of pathos. What we got is very different.

Firstly, the issue has more than a little realism and drama. The story is bookended by shots of a modern-day museum exhibit on Bedrock, as described by a tour guide. I don’t really like this change, as I feel that it has the implication that the tour guide or the visitor could just be making up the story.

Now, if you look to the left, you'll see this green alien. We believe that it was known as the "Great Gazoo."
Additionally, it has some dramatic elements, such as Fred being a war veteran, Wilma’s tragic art, and Barney being a racist. Yeah, you read that correctly. Admittedly, that’s only a one-off joke, but it’s there.

Yup, TOTALLY not a metaphor for anything. Nope, no subtext here.
Sadly, the satire is mostly relegated to minor jokes and background gags. "Shell phones" take the place of cell phones, pretentious art critics still exist, and the Outback Steakhouse exists as the Outback Snakehouse. Additionally, apart from a few clever jokes calling back to the television show’s use of animals as household appliances, the issue really isn’t very funny. Barney and Betty are really only in the issue for a few panels. Given Mark Russell’s work on Prez, I hoped that it would be wackier.
There is a really weird joke about Wilma and Fred having a "traditional wedding." I don't really know how to interpret it. What little I can gather is rather disturbing.
Finally, the story is rather disjointed. It just seems to be a series of plot points, rather than a plot with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It also needs more humor and heart in order to fully encapsulate the spirit of the original while also sticking with the new premise.

Barney Rubble, demonstrating his sparkling wit and intelligence.
I'm going to keep reading The Flintstones, because it has potential. Despite my misgivings, it was fairly enjoyable and the future solicitations sound intriguing. Additionally, the social commentary involving racism and gender roles, while short, was good. I just think that the concept needs time to grow. This is not something that I want to judge right from the beginning, much like a certain Captain (Reality-Warped) America plot.
The Flintstones is written by Mark Russell and drawn by Steve Pugh. You can find it at your local comic book shop.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.