Written by: Ken Potac
Illustrated by: Leonardo Manco
Reviewed by: Joe Bones
Genre: Comic / Science-Fiction
“The Post-Apocalyptic world is a Darwinian crucible where warriors are either forged…or consumed.”
Warner Brothers owns DC Comics and the rights to the Hanna-Barbera characters. For the last several years, they’ve given DC license to create crossover comics combining characters from these two properties. From this initiative have come maxi-series, mini-series, and a collection of one-shot specials. Although these comics boil down to nostalgia centered “money grabs” they are a fun deviation from DC’s main line. Some of these crossovers are really good, and some are really bad. Wacky Raceland is just plain awful.
The concept behind this mini-series is Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races series meets Mad Max. Fittingly, the vehicle designs in this mini-series were designed by the same guy who designed the cars seen in Mad Max: Fury Road. Basically, the plot involves the Wacky Racers competing in a series of races across a United States that has been devastated by various catastrophes. The driver that wins the most races will be admitted into a utopian city. This exciting premise is about the only redeeming quality about this book. It’s a planned mini-series that is written like a full series. As a result the storyline feels both rushed and incomplete.
There were a few things beyond the concept that I liked about Wacky Raceland. This mini-series keeps the same characters and cars as the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, but re-imagines them in a post apocalyptic world. The character and vehicle designs are really cool. They take this classic characters and give them a very modern feel. In the story, the cars have been implanted with artificial intelligence systems, giving each vehicle its own distinct personality. The car’s dialogue adds much needed levity to dialogue that is otherwise a jumbled and confusing mess.
What few positive things I can say about this mini-series are more than outweighed by the vast number of negatives. The story is all over the place. The races themselves almost become an afterthought. There’s an underlying mystery element, but Potac doesn’t leave any clues for the reader to pick up on. Instead, the reader realizes there is a mystery half-way through, and then that mystery solves itself in the final issue. Potac makes an admirable attempt at both character development and execution of character-based entertainment. Yet these efforts are derailed by Manco’s art.
The art itself is gritty and realistic, especially compared to the animation style of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons. However, its almost too realistic, to the point where it is difficult not only to follow the action but to even determine what’s happening in each panel. The line work isn’t very clear to begin with and is further washed out by a muted color palette. The colors used fit the post-apocalyptic setting but bleed so much that they obscure the details they should be highlighting.
Wacky Raceland is a mini-series that should be avoided at all costs. No amount of nostalgia is worth paying money for this dumpster fire of a comic. An intriguing concept quickly devolves into what I can honestly say is the worst comic I have ever read. Apocalypses are always marked by catastrophes. In this case, the catastrophe is the comic itself.