The Flintstones #3 sees the world invaded by aliens. As Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm try to figure out how to get the aliens to leave, Fred and Barney deal with their own troubles. Is it good?
The Flintstones #3 (DC Comics)
The Flintstones #3 opens with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm on a school trip to see the launching of a chimpanzee into space. The return of the young duo will likely please many readers considering their minor appearance in the previous issue. The rocket launch goes about as well as one might expect for a society that uses the weight of a dinosaur to jettison a rock into space, but it leads directly into the events that make up the issue.
After showing a capability for space travel, Bedrock finds itself the hosts of an alien envoy. The extraterrestrials are only there to log the existence of Earth and seem glad to leave. Unfortunately, their recordings end up being the perfect tourist guide for a bunch of younger aliens on “Galactic Break.” Artist Steve Pugh’s design for the aliens is simple at first glance, but they fit exceedingly well into the aesthetic of the overall comic. While their design as “little green men” may initially seem lackluster, Pugh works in a number of fun details in the costuming and ship-design to make them more lively.
Even with an alien “invasion,” the subplot that will likely draw most of the readers’ attention is that of Joe, a veteran of the Bedrock Wars. As Fred and Barney debate with another of their friends about what the alien arrival might mean, they reminisce on their days returning home from the War. These memories start off positive but quickly turn south as the veterans were turned away from employers and shunned socially. In the middle of all that is Joe, sitting alone in his room preparing to call to a veteran’s suicide hotline. It’s a dark moment, but writer Mark Russell handles the scenes well, utilizing some dark humor to give the scenes added dimension.
Bouncing back and forth between an outlandish alien invasion romp and a very human issue, The Flintstones #3 ran the risk of being tonally dissonant. However, the color art by Chris Chuckry keeps the books tone in line. Part of this is achieved in the costuming of the characters. While Fred is still in his famous spotted orange outfit, the majority of the human cast is wearing duller browns and blacks, leaving the more outlandish colors in the book to the aliens themselves. As a result, the humans and their environment carries a more natural feel than they otherwise might, and that helps Joe’s story ring true, even if the war he fought in was between cavemen and dinosaurs.
Is It Good?
The Flintstones #3 is flat-out excellent. The artwork by Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry is stellar, but the scripting by Mark Russell stands out this issue. Both humorous and touching, it displays the great range of emotions a twenty-page comic can elicit. Previous issues showed Russell’s grasp of the characters, but this chapter helps to cement the tone the book is going for as the broader world of Bedrock comes into play. Joe’s story is moving, and the way he and his fellow vets are treated by society provides powerful commentary on the treatment of real-life veterans.