When DC first decided to do DC Comics/ Looney Tunes crossovers in this format, I originally thought, “God, this is a terrible idea.” And then I was forced to eat crow once the issues were published because we were treated to some nice fun stories. On top of it, Tom King and Lee Weeks delivered Batman/ Elmer Fudd, which was not only the best of the crossovers, but one of the best books of the year! So for this round, I found myself more open to the prospect of these titles and wondered if lightning could strike twice!
Catwoman/ Sylvester & Tweety #1
First and foremost, I want to come right out and inform you that this book should be titled Catwoman & Black Canary/ Sylvester & Tweety because Dinah is as much a part of this story as the other three characters. It’s kind of crappy that DC didn’t include her as a headliner because she is. It also seems like a stupid marketing move because more people may have opted to check this romp out if they were aware she played a key role… But what do I know? I’m just a schmuck who writes about comics and has spent over a decade working in sales/ marketing.
Anyway, this is a rather simple story that is moderately entertaining. A group of witches meet up to celebrate their witchiness, and while doing so, a debate about which animal is more important and powerful in the Wiccan lore begins: is it the cat or the bird? The conversation leads to a test, and after a little double, double toil and trouble, Sylvester and Tweety are sent to Catwoman and Black Canary with an ominous mission. Sylvester must eat Tweety before dawn. If he doesn’t, all cat-themed creatures and heroes will die. But if Sylvester is successful in eating Tweety before dawn, then all bird themed creatures and heroes will die.
The book is a fight for survival as Catwoman and Sylvester pit themselves against Black Canary and Tweety. There are times when the book is fun, but the story drags during the beginning. In addition to that, there appears to be a battle of tones. The story feels as if it wants to take itself seriously, but it’s loaded with dialogue that is essentially a lift from the Looney Tunes cartoons. I understand that this contradiction is meant to be funny, but that attempt misses its mark. In fact, I was convinced I didn’t like this story until a plethora of characters showed up to interject themselves into this war of cat vs bird. The mere presence of these other heroes and villains took the book to another level!
Inaki Miranda delivers art for the main story and does a solid job. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing Miranda take a permanent residence on a title at some point. Meanwhile, the backup story by Shea Fontana and Walter Carzon is more indicative of the standard Looney Tunes stories, and will definitely serve as a fun read with the kids.
– Josh McDonald
Harley Quinn/ Gossamer #1
Harley Quinn/Gossamer #1 presents a main story by the creative team of Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Pier Brito (artist) and Paul Mounts (colors) as well as a backup feature by Sholly Fisch (writer) and Dave Alvarez (artist). The issue is a mixed bag with regards to the artwork. The main story’s art isn’t bad per say; Brito has an eye for interesting compositions to create a sense of depth and motion, and he doesn’t shy away from adding in little details in the background (which is always a positive in my book). However, while his rendition of Gossamer is cute for the most part, I don’t think he quite managed to integrate the character in Harley’s world (but maybe that is the point: to show that Gossamer doesn’t belong here). Furthermore, Conner and Palmiotti script a story where Brito gets plenty of explosive, action-packed sequences to draw that should be entertaining, but unfortunately fall flat because none of the sequences seem to connect, and as such the comic reads like a collection of random skits whose punchlines feel so forced that they fail to land, rather than a solid story. The backup feature does a better job of capturing the spirit of the Looney Tunes while integrating Harley into the narrative, because the artwork makes the story look like a cohesive, animated whole. However, like the main feature, the script also leaves a lot to be desired because there is no actual story here either: it’s merely a string of weird events that never line up nor manage to make me laugh. All things considered, Harley Quinn/Gossamer #1 is an incoherent comic book that’s better left on the stands: there must be better stories out there that are worth your time and money.
The Joker/ Daffy Duck #1
Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth team up to bring us The Joker/ Daffy Duck, and in my opinion, this is the best story out of this collection of DC/ Looney Tunes crossovers! The book starts with the Joker at a comedy club telling jokes that are received with roars of laughter. After he has a few jokes under his belt, it’s revealed that the patrons are all dead, and that the laughter is nothing more than a laugh track controlled by his goons. Right away, I knew I was going to enjoy this book.
There are a number of things that resonate with me here, most of which stem from characterization. Nothing feels like it’s being sacrificed by characters to tell the story at hand. In addition to that, the script hits the core narrative beats that make up any classic Looney Tunes cartoon. It’s a slapstick story that is undersold just enough to let it mesh with the DC universe quite well!
Daffy is first introduced as a disgruntled customer that’s looking to return a defective product to the ACME corporation, but his desire, unfortunately, leads him face to face with Joker. One thing leads to another, and Daffy becomes the leader of the ACME criminals, serving as Joker’s right-hand man. He’s responsible for training henchmen, planning missions, and executing missions… None of which he actually wants to do. He’s simply trying to save his own skin.
We get a full, well-rounded story that’s ripe with comedy, entertainment, and even some action. Lobdell and Booth do more than tell an effective story though. It’s clear that they took time to really think of details to help elevate this story from good to great. There’s one panel in particular where Joker hands Daffy an unfinished, crayon-drawn mission plan… Do yourself a favor and read it. You’ll be treated to a number of laughs. As I said, this issue is the gem of the lot, and one that I will definitely read again in the future… The backup, on the other hand, leaves quite a bit to be desired.
– Josh McDonald
Lex Luthor/ Porky Pig #1
For the love of all things looney, this is one depressing story! Seriously though, if you’re going to write a DC/ Looney Tunes crossover, make it fun. And that’s not to say that a book can’t be serious and fun – Tom King and Lee Weeks proved that point with Batman/ Elmer Fudd, but this… This just goes too far. Here, you have Porky’s company getting breached, then tanking, then Porky loses all of his money, loses his wife, and considers suicide… Within the first two pages!
The story does pick up a little once Lex is introduced and Porky starts working for him. I even found myself thinking, “Wow, this could turn out really good!” because interesting ideas and themes are presented well, even if they are socially and politically heavy-handed – something that has been known to bring Russell success in recent years. But then, the book takes a turn when Russel attempts to add slapstick elements into the narrative that just feel ridiculous considering the tone of the book. It’s one failed attempt after another, wrapped in a depressing narrative, with unlikable characters.
As for the backup story, it so juvenile that it reminds me of Teen Titans Go! Yes, there will be some who love the humor, but I found it repetitive and tiring after the first few jokes. That being said, I can’t recommend this book.
– Josh McDonald