Up and down, up and down. I stay seated on this see-saw of Dastardly and Muttley. Once I get into the story, something happens and takes it down a level of enjoyment. The fourth issue got better, but now we are at the penultimate issue. Things are getting down to the wire — the Unstabilium is out causing chaos! What will happen to Dastardly and Muttley?
Is Washington DC still on the map?
Excellent question! At the end of the issue four, Dastardly, Muttley, Zee, and Uncle were on their way to DC when there was a huge explosion and mushroom cloud leading us to believe that DC would be no more. And therein lies the magic of the Unstabilium. In Dastardly and Muttley #5, we find out that the Unstabilium can be forced to critical mass on its own, producing the effects of the explosion, but without the damage. Huh? Yeah, it sounds far-fetched to me too, even for a comic book with a talking dog.
From there we are exposed to all kinds of madness. The origin of Unstabilium is associated with a hybrid of mythical creatures combined with the Saturday morning cartoons of old. The Senators have become monkeys — cartoon monkeys, not the general monkeys they normally are (rim shot). General Harrier is now a raccoon, the newly appointed president is a cartoon fox, and somewhere in the middle of all this is still Dastardly and Muttley attempting to put the puzzle together. The pieces seem to have finally fit together; Dastardly has a master plan, now the gang of misfits just have to execute it.
So, this issue: up or down?
I am sad to say that as much as I liked the fourth issue, Dastardly and Muttley #5 took my elation down a bit. As I’ve said in the past, I dig Garth Ennis’ work, but this comic just doesn’t always fire on all cylinders with me. Ennis writes decent enough humor, but it’s the pacing of the story and how it has all come together. I like the addition of the mythical cartoon characters, but it feels like they are tacked on for “oh, hey look there!” effect, and not vital to the main storyline.
I have liked Mauricet and John Kalisz’s artwork from the start. The senator monkeys attacking General Harrier at the beginning is very amusing. Dastardly and Muttley’s looks seem to be evolving with each issue as well. It’s a nice touch and plays on the effect the Unstabilium has on them. And they aren’t the only ones effected by the chemical — Zee has gained a few eye-popping physical attributes. So yes, once again, the artwork makes the comic a little easier to get through.
Five issues down and one to go. I have been along for the long ride, and it has been bumpy. I hope in the end that Garth Ennis and the team has a great ending in store for Dastardly and Muttley.