The Flintstones #12 sees the town of Bedrock off as Gazoo is asked to judge humanity. Is it good?
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry
Publisher: DC Comics
Mark Russell makes the narrative decision to continue with Gazoo’s point of view established in the previous issue, giving The Flintstones #12 a narrative throughline that makes it unique in the primarily done-in-one nature of the series. By doing this, Russell is able to more freely transition between the various story threads, whether it be Pebbles balancing science and religion, Mr. Slate wanting to win a bowling tournament, or Bowling Ball planning a rebellion against the humans that killed his friend.
Pebble’s journey is particularly interesting. Russell has used satire to poke at some of the more dogmatic aspects of religion, and continues to do so here, but the take on the Church of Gerald in The Flintstones #12 is decidedly more nuanced, as Russell points out that religion can be extremely beneficial for those who are lost and trying to find something to believe in beyond themselves. For Pebbles, this need means that she must accept that she finds Gerald a bit lacking in the face of scientific theory and come to terms with her beliefs. It’s a delicate approach that cuts to the core of her character.
Steve Pugh makes these nuanced choices in the script work with his expressive character work. Whether it’s the scheming smirk of Mr. Slate, or the calm reassurances of Bowling Ball, each character feels wonderfully alive in Pugh’s line art. At the same time, Pugh maintains the series’ visual humor (the Star Wars reference!), adding additional layers to The Flintstones #12. This series has never been big on action, but the scenes where Bowling Ball interferes with Fred’s game are well done, with the colors punching up the drama with golden backgrounds. It’s a color choice that instantly conveys the emotion of the scene without fully diverging from the regular color palette that balances naturalistic tones with bombastic clothing choices.
Is It Good?
The Flintstones #12 provides an emotionally satisfying (and sometimes surprising) conclusion to the fantastic series. By adopting the viewpoint of Gazoo, Mark Russell is able to smoothly transition from one scene to the next, allowing for the many ongoing subplots to conclude in a fulfilling way. This range also allows for Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry to once again show off their talents as artists. And while the issue lacks some of the gut-punch intimacy of the prior chapters, the broader viewpoint allows the story to make a statement on mankind by tying together the various threads that made the series a joy to read.