Who would have though that the smartest, most incisive satirical comic in recent years would feature The Great Gazoo? Your Major Spoilers review of The Flintstones #7 awaits!
Previously in The Flintstones: The lives of the people of Bedrock are simple things, in the broad scheme. And yet, everything that happens feels oddly parallel to life in the year 2017.
Y’know, except for the alien police officer overseeing the planet’s evolution…
THE BEGINNINGS OF ORGANIZED RELIGION
As this issue opens, the Flintstone family is enjoying a nice afternoon picnic, an idyll interrupted first by an alien who wants to buy Earth’s water from the yokels, and then by a band of Marauders with clubs. The first problem is solved by the sudden appearance of Gazoo, the space cop assigned to keep the nascent human race from getting into galactic trouble. When asked why he doesn’t protect the Flintstones from the mob, he responds “They ARE your natural evolution.” Gazoo’s narration overlays the rest of the issue, as two parallel stories play out: In one, the people of Bedrock come to terms with their worship of Gerald, while Mr. Slate’s quarry is the scene of n accident that leaves his newest worker trapped. Both stories highlight the most terrible parts of the human race (upon discovering that they can BUY absolution, no one really wants to follow Gerald’s rules anymore; while Slate is willing to let his new worker die to make a deadline.)
“CIVILIZATION WAS A MISTAKE.”
It’s to writer Mark Russell’s credit that the satire never feels mean-spirited or anti-religion, instead targeting the worst of human nature and the tendency to look for moral shortcuts. Rick Leonardi’s art is slightly more expressive than regular artists Steve Pugh’s, which adds drama to the proceedings, especially in The Reverend’s dilemma at suddenly being solvent, but finding his congregation turning into utter bastards. The visual of Gazoo in his quasi-military uniform among the cavemen of Bedrock is at once silly and someone sinister, as if he is the personalization of the forces that drive the Bedrockers worst instincts, and his cynicism about the fate of the human race pervades the first half of the tale. As the issue ends, though, we get two very cute callback jokes and one moment of real hope, with Fred Flintstone refusing to give up on his trapped coworker, a man whose name nobody even knows.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SUDDENLY, A HOPEFUL ENDING
In short, it’s a smart issue that feels very topical for today;’s world, and one that takes a cartoon that was originally meant for adult audience back to its roots. The Flintstones #7 isn’t quite as perfectly balanced as previous issues of this series, but still manages to take difficult premises and present them with intelligence, humanity and hope, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re one of the people who can’t =believe that a story about a family driving in stone cars with dinosaurs for appliances can also be a perfectly aimed lampoon of modern society, you owe it to yourself to check this one out…