DC Comics 2016
Written by Mark Russell
Illustrated by Steve Pugh
Coloured by Chris Chuckry
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
Welcome to Bedrock, where Paleolithic humans head to dinner for a taste of artisanal mammoth after shopping at Neandertal & Big Men’s Clothing, where Wilma shows her modern art, and where, if you take a plane, you could literally end up sitting ON the tail section. Join Fred and Barney as Mister Slate sends them on a mission to show some Neanderthals a night on the town in hopes of luring them into this new system called “working for a living.”
I wasn’t sure about this one. I mean a realistic Flintstones is really just the Honeymooners after all. However after reading this it’s right up there with the rest of the line for me. It has the elements I loved as a child as we see their civilisation mirror ours in every way and yes the more realistic approach by Steve works wonders on this. But it’s the overall tone and feel of the book that makes it really successful. There’s definitely a Mad Men feeling to things here where every man Fred is trying to be among the elite that I really like.
The best thing for me was the opening. Museum of Natural History, present day. They found a Neandertal frozen complete without decomp. Listening to them in the museum talk about where they found him and their assessment of it well it made me laugh. Without having been there they have no real clue what life was like they can only hypothesize and they think they are experts it’s laughable. But hey that’s modern society for you.
Basically this is your standard introductory issue. It establishes the characters, their personalities, relationships and where the live. We all know the Flintstones and the Rubbles so it doesn’t take more than this to set up what we need to know. Though having Mr. Slate use Fred as his Employee of the Month to show the new guys around and make em comfortable in Bedrock and work for the company that was genius. It means we get to see it all, the lodge, Wilma her hobby of painting and own ambitions, the layout of the town, it’s restaurants all culminating in party at Slates.
There is some incredible characterization between Fred and Wilma here too that have to discover for yourself. It also ties in history and cave paintings and such things that you’d never expect to be in this book and make complete sense to them us it baffles. Also the way that the ending ties into the story was fantastic!
I love Steve’s work he’s so versatile and can do so many different styles and make them all look effortless. His eye for how a story should flow is impeccable and his use of pages and panels through angles and perspective are a joy to see. The use of backgrounds are used well to showcase feeling, emotion and set the tone and mood of a panel.
So much better and more fun than I thought it would be. With all the right notes of seriousness and humour blended into a world that shouldn’t have existed but did long before the the others. It has the classic ring of the cartoon but is so fresh and now and could take its place once again on primetime television.