The great DC/Looney Tunes crossover continues with two iconic characters. It is good?
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Ben Caldwell, Barry Kitson
Publisher: DC Comics
The two stories in this issue give each character’s personality a chance to shine – one set in Diana’s world and one in the Tasmanian Devil’s. Not only are the stories thematically and creatively different, but one is much stronger than the other. Let’s examine each.
The Devil You Know
This story is the Wonder Woman story, not only told from her point of view, but set in Themyscira; there’s also a nice link to classic Greek mythology as well that ties Taz to the Minotaur in the labyrinth. On her return to Themyscira for a celebration in her honor, Diana remembers running into the Tasmanian Devil in the labyrinth. She returns to find him to aid her in the face of an attack by Circe, and redirects his fury from her to her enemies.
This is by far the weakest of the two stories in the issue. To start, I think it was an error to try and make the Tasmanian Devil serious; he’s by far one of the silliest characters in Looney Tunes, with not much beyond having a terrible temper, wanting to eat everything in sight, and being calmed by music, with hints of intelligence but mostly for a punchline. The team has incorporated a lot of these details into this story, but with some very odd missteps. First, the art by Barry Kitson; it makes sense to try and make Taz more realistic for this story, but he didn’t use the actual tasmanian devil for reference, so he looks more like a strange ape creature. And that leads into another strangeness – the relationship between the two characters throughout the story is weirdly sexual. Tony Bedard starts with Taz describing (through illustrated speech bubbles) how he wants to tie Diana up, naked, and then cook her and eat her. Which we see. It’s just very strange.
Not sure if that was Bedard’s intention or it came out in Kitson’s art. I wasn’t a fan of the rest of the art either. It might just be my taste, but it looked very old-fashioned to me. It was very heavy, even the brighter colored scenes. The story is also very complicated and feels longer than it is. All in all, a miss.
The Looney Tunes style story is the winner of the issue. It feels like an episode of the cartoon show, as Wonder Woman sings Taz the story of Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse. The team embraces what makes a good Looney Tune – it’s funny, silly, cheeky, and a great retelling of a classic story. Ben Caldwell does a great job of making the art look like a Looney Tune while still giving it his own flair. Tony Bedard is also the writer on this story, and does a great job with the rhyme in the story. It’s obvious the whole team had fun with this one. My one complaint is that we don’t really get much Wonder Woman in this story – as Helen of Troy, she doesn’t get much to do.
Is It Good?
Overall, this issue is extremely lopsided and I think it’s because these are inherently such different characters. That extreme opposite can sometimes create some interesting complications, but in this case it just ended up with a mess. The second story actually only worked because they used an outside story for the bulk of it, which was really smart.