Well, it’s my birthday, which means I have a table full of presents to start exploring. But first, there are comics to review! It’s Election Day over in Bedrock, so The Flintstones reflect on what got them to where they are. Green Arrow, on the other hand, is away from home. Let’s hope he got his absentee ballot in before he was presumed dead and went away to defeat bad guys at sea.
The Flintstones 5
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh
The political and social satire from Bedrock continues with an issue focusing on the political climate in the town of Bedrock. The current Mayor is running for re-election against the insurgent force of Clod the Destroyer, son of the legendary Mordock the Destroyer, hero of the war against the tree people. And over at Bedrock Middle School, Ralph the bully is running for class president on a platform of “Vote For Me Or I’ll Punch You In The Beef.” The beef, it is eventually revealed, is the stomach, for those of you wondering as I did. Ralph, however, is only successful in his bullying when good ol’ Bam Bam isn’t around. Otherwise, he tends to go flying.
The election talk, though, is just a backdrop for the real story, which flashes back to tell the tale of the war Fred and Barney fought in. Fred has frequently referred to fighting in the war as participating in a genocide, and he’s clearly suffering from some PTSD from what happened there. The men are convinced to go to war in order to get land for the town that would eventually become Bedrock, but before they can create Bedrock, they need to take out the forest, which means taking out the tree people. Fred signs up to give himself a sense of purpose, even though Wilma is pregnant, and Barney comes along when he hears Betty complain about the lack of a child. The war answers Barney’s prayers – he finds a baby survivor in the remains of a tree – but it leaves Fred with ghosts of what he had done, helping to kill off an entire people who were only defending themselves.
It’s a stunningly sad tale that you wouldn’t really expect from the Flintstones, but everything comes together fluidly for a sad tale that fills in the gaps of history for the two families.
And while Clod the Destroyer manages to beat the incumbent mayor, there’s some hope over at Bedrock Middle School, as an unexpected opponent rises up against Ralph the bully.
Yup, Pebbles, with Bam Bam by her side, gives some inspiring words for her classmates, who decide they’re with her. No, the metaphor isn’t at all subtle. But it isn’t supposed to be. The Flintstones comic is satire at its finest, and the election issue this time around is maybe the best issue of the comic to date. Mark Russell has tapped in to something here, and I hope it continues for a long time.
Green Arrow 10
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Juan E. Ferreyra
After escaping off of Scar Island last issue, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Diggle – I wonder if he’s eventually going to take on the mantle of Spartan, like his TV counterpart – are jumping on board the Empire Express, an underground rail that spans the entire world, where the rich and powerful have gathered for the apparent purpose of brokering a peace deal with the middle east. But it’s a comic book, so nothing ever goes smoothly in these instances.
Canary gets on with no problems and manages to change into a formal dress and meet up with a fan of hers from her music days to help her in to the soiree inside. Diggle had a bit more trouble, barely missing the door but still manages to climb on board through a window and tries to pass himself off as security for the long ride. Unfortunately, he comes upon mercenary Eddie Fyers, who recognizes Diggle and John ends up incapacitated and stabbed.
Oliver, on the other hand, almost misses the train entirely when he runs back to get his bow and has to use his archery skills to get on to the train. Oliver doesn’t care to bother with any kind of subtlety and bashes in, getting the opportunity to use what he called “a silencer” on an opposing guard.
Boxing glove arrow! Oliver managed to get away, only to find a stabbed Diggle, who warns him of Fyers plan, which includes stabbing the Middle Eastern peace leader, who happens to be the man who helped Canary in to the party. Fyers poisons his man and Oliver puts an arrow in his shoulder, but hesitates before putting him down and Fyers escapes. Unfortunately, now our heroes are the ones thought to be the killers.
It’s only the first issue of a storyline on the train, so things should pick up with the next issue, even though there’s a lot of action in the issue already. It’s off to a great start, though, and bringing Eddie Fyers back should give Oliver and company a good antagonist to go up against in the future.