The women head out to visit Wilma’s mother on “something called a farm,” and Fred and Barney try to remember how they lived without them, while the kids get a lesson in economics in The Flintstones.
The Flintstones 8
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh
Sometimes, societal satire can be really funny and really on point, like the last seven issues of The Flintstones have been. Sometimes, though, you get a weak issue that doesn’t the land the same way that past books have. The eighth issue of Mark Russell’s satiric take on the 1960s cartoon characters didn’t seem to have the same heart, possibly caused by the seeming need to over-explain how economics can be viewed as a negative aspect of society, pushed only to support and enhance the rich.
Pebbles and Bam Bam’s class has a guest speaker to teach them about economics, and when the speaker goes off the rails, the teacher tries to shut him down. While he finds ways to continue his lesson (from a window, or a vent), he keeps getting shooed away. The whole scene just brings the comic to a grinding halt as the running gag of the lesson felt like Russell had to go too far for a joke. Especially when the writer had the issues of gender roles and civic impropriety to go after in the same issue.
For the first time in a while, Wilma and Betty get a bit of the spotlight, as Wilma confronts her past and visits her mom on the farm where she lives. We get some nice backstory for the Bedrock bride – she was promised to wed a neighboring farmer in exchange for goats and ran away, and her mom did nothing to stop her because she couldn’t challenge her husband. The scenes are interspersed with how Fred and Barney deal with their kids without their wives and how important to the dynamic the women are.
The real satire, though, comes in the book’s third plot.
Feeling like it was ripped right from the headlines, Bedrock Mayor Clod the Destroyer wants to fulfill his campaign promise of going after the lizard people, but he needs to find money in the budget.
And to get people on his side, he enlists the help of actor Stony Danza, who hasn’t been relevant in 25 years. Despite a plea for sense from Fred, the town hall agrees with Mayor Clod and the money for the hospital goes to new dinosaur armor. Because of course it does.
It’s possible that the problem I had with the latest issue of The Flintstones was that real life, at the moment, feels like satire, so a comic taking a satirical take at society might be overload. We’ll have to see how Russell adjusts to the new world order for future issues.