Better than the av-er-age comic?
Writers: Frank Tieri and J.M.DeMatteis (Backup)
Artists: Mark Texeira and Tom Mandrake (Backup)
Colorists: Jeromy Cox and Hi-Fi (Backup)
Letterers: Wes Abbott and Travis Lanham (Backup)
Man Vs Wild. Genetically Enhanced Assassin vs Bear. Five dollars for a crossover special vs spending it on literally anything else. These are the great showdowns of history. Does this particular special do enough to warrant your money?
Honestly no, I hate to take the sting out of this review straight off the bat but, the art is serviceable, the story is ok, a few laughs are to be had but not enough to call the Book funny. Don’t get me wrong, nothing here is bad, but no part of this special elevates it beyond mediocrity to a point where its price tag would be justified.
Frank Tieri weaves an unremarkable story, Boo Boos disappearance forces Yogi to track down and hire Deathstroke (who's currently spending his time hunting down Z-list nobodies from the Hanna-Barbera vaults for, what presumably, are pretty small bounties). On return to Jellystone Park the wildlife has gone into a frenzy, some rudimentary investigation leads to the discovery of a hidden tunnel network and the involvement of H.I.V.E. Boo Boo is saved, the threat dealt with and a couple of epilogues to deliver on a punchline setup early on in the book and to tease a story I hope never actually makes it to print.
The interplay between Deathstroke and Yogi is probably the strongest part of the book, their two personalities play off each other far better than expected. Mark Texeiras’ Yogi is beautifully drawn, fuzzy and friendly with a big expressive face, while the quality of art for the human characters can be quite variable Yogi is always a joy to look at.
I’m going to take a minute to talk about the backup featured here, and through all 4 crossover specials published this week. During the last batch of the Hanna-Barbera crossovers, DC used the extra pages to published inverted short stories. Flipping the art into a more traditional Hanna-Barbera style, reducing the word count and relying on the more traditional cartoon physics and physical comedy of the old cartoons to carry the story rather than attempting to construct any kind of deep narrative. For the most part, these backups were successful, short, fun and often the better part of their respective books.
Unfortunately, this time around DC has decided to take a full-length issue of Secret Squirrel to cut it up into four pieces and distributed to the four different specials. This is a terrible idea executed badly.
Few people are going to pick up all four specials, making those last eight pages of each book pointless for most readers who will be receiving a fragmentary experience of a story that is so confusing to start with that anyone who happens to just be served a middle portion of it is going to get nothing of any value from it. And while the backups helpfully tell you where the next part of the story can be found, at no point during the book are you told where you can find the previous part of the story.
Twenty dollars to read a complete Secret Squirrel story that appears to be so random and scatterbrained it could put Neal Adams to shame. This is what DC has decided to do to their paying customers this week and frankly, it's kind of appalling.
Bits and Pieces:
A comic that does just enough to not be bad but has nothing to elevate it beyond mediocrity. These specials struggle to justify their five dollar price tag at the best of times and with 8 pages wasted to a terrible, borderline insulting decision by its publisher, you're probably better off spending that money elsewhere.