Relevant Review: DC Meets the Looney Toons

DC Meets Looney Tunes Vol 1

Note: Here at Relevant Reviews, we pride ourselves on finding ancillary media every Wednesday around the time of big launches, usually movies, but also certain pastas and adult-oriented erecticana. We at RR pride ourselves on being budget-friendly, and so whenever possible will be reviewing runs that are available on a comics service, primarily Comixology Unlimited, but also DC Universe Infinity and Marvel Comics Unlimited.

This is a review of the DC Meets Looney Tunes trade paperback, collecting Batman/Elmer Fudd, Johna Hex/Yosemite Sam, Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil, Lobo/Road Runner, Martian Manhunter/Marvin the Martian and Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny. This was chosen because it’s a good lead-in to a movie about the Loony Tunes meeting up with human beings in Space Jam 2: A New Legacy, and also a decent way to butter all of us up for The Suicide Squad next Friday.

To start this off, I’m a Batfan. Loved the old Adam West series growing up (and was lucky enough to spend two hours interviewing the man for Dangerous Ink back in my reckless journalistic youth- PDF available here: ). Obsessed over the Bruce Timm animated series in my adolescence. Hell, I even loved the “I’m Batman” Snickers commercial.

So of course my favorite of the bunch was the Batman/Fudd crossover.  There are plenty of fine, serviceable stories in this collection, most doing what you’d expect with the premise of a DC hero and a Looney Tunes character having a fish out of water meeting. But the Batman story is different. Despite the title, it throws the entire Looney Tunes cast into a noir detective story where Elmer is trying to track down the murderer of his love, Siwlver St. Cwoud. He tracks the hitter, a lowlife named Bugs, to Porky’s, a bar infested with some of Gotham’s worst scum. To buy his life, Bugs siccs Elmer on the man supposedly responsible for hiring him, Bruce Wayne, which of course puts Elmer on a collusion course with Batman, and the two eventually teaming up to hunt wabbits. I don’t want to spell out any of the twists and turns, but the story takes itself just seriously enough to feel genuine, without ruining the layer of lunacy that makes it a worthy Looney Tunes story, too- not an easy balancing act, and Tom King (author of the very excellent Vision vol 2 which I largely based my Avengers West Coast pitch around) deserves special mention as a standout talent. It’s gutsy giving Elmer his trademark speech impediment in a noir narration- but it actually works- really, the whole gag works, even to the end of the story, where Bats and Elmer sit down to drown their sorrows in carrot juice, only to find it, and our story, tapped out; to quote their porcine bartender:

That's all, folks.
Images owned by DC Comics.

Old Ventures 2, Ch. 25

Note: I know I’m a few weeks behind. I’m hoping to have some announcements soon to tell you what I’ve been doing instead of posting.

Twenty-Five, Bakdida, Iraq, 2015

Ian was up to his ankles in well water, surrounded by the rest of their infiltration team. The small tunnel behind him was just large enough to accommodate Jack and Rose, and tilted at a 30 degree angle towards the surface. He switched off his radio and continued, “We’re not going to be able to use these for contact.” He straightened his bowtie and smoothed his shirt down over his bulletproof vest. “It’s likely they’ve hooked the explosives to a detonator operating on a frequency the radio could trigger. It’s more likely they’d use a cellular phone, but not so likely I’d suggest we chance it.”

“Shouldn’t one of us go with you?” India asked. “For support?”

“I can slide in, remain undetected. It’s what I was trained to do.”

“Jack can be stealthy,” Rose said.

“So can an elephant, in the proper circumstances. But in the event I’m captured, I can pass for a wealthy African Muslim funding the archaeological research here, who had been lucky enough to remain concealed; Jack cannot. In fact, I’d lay even odds even these ISIL Neanderthals will recognize him. And they would relish the opportunity to behead him on camera- likely not wasting time enough for the rest of you to mount a rescue.”

“Excellent,” India said, “then it’s decided. The old white people will wait here, in the well. The rest of us will deal with the explosives.”

“I don’t remember deciding that at all,” Ian said.

“You didn’t. I did.”

“We can stay here,” Jack said, and he and Rose exchanged a mischievous grin as Jalal first turned off his radio, then entered the tunnel.

“No making out, you two. We need you sharp. And keep your ears open for our call.” Ian followed him into the tunnel.

“Yes, mother,” Rose said sarcastically.

India turned off her radio, then followed Ian into the tunnel, crawling on her knees and elbows. It was a tight enough squeeze she knew Jack and Rose would have some trouble getting through. “They’re like a couple of teenagers,” she complained, her gaze drifting to Ian’s taught rear as he shimmied up the shaft.

“So were we, once upon a time,” he said, grinning over his shoulder at her.

“I suppose we were, in my foolish and reckless youth. But that’s precisely my point, I grew out of it. They haven’t, and given how long they’ve been at it, it’s doubtful they ever will.”

“Is that a problem?” Ian asked. “Should maturity mean necessarily losing your youthful entertainments?”

“I think this is verging dangerously close to a discussion not of general elderly randiness, and instead a dissection of our love lives. And it’s neither the time nor the place for that.”

“I can agree,” Ian said. “How much further must we crawl?”

“Why?” Jalal asked from in front of him. “Not enjoying the view?”

“More concerned whether or not our radios will have sufficient range to reach Jack in the well, if we get desperate enough to use them.”

“We checked the GPS,” India interrupted. We were .7 miles on the surface from the site, less than .15 miles down in the well. Using the Pythagorean equation, that’s .49 miles plus . 0225, so .5125, the square root is a little north of .7 miles, .72 or thereabouts, and the radios have a range of a mile or more. Range won’t be our issue. It will be the three quarters of a mile of earth and sand.”

“She’s smarter than you,” Jalal said.

“That was never really in doubt,” Ian said.

“Ian,” India said softly. “Hold back a moment.” He waited, to allow Jalal to move outside of earshot. “How well do you know this translator?”

“Well enough to trust him with our lives, if that’s what you’re querying.”

“Well that’s excellent,” she said, “since that’s exactly what we’re doing.” He started crawling faster, to catch up to Jalal. She kept pace with him, but there was still something nagging at her “Did he contact you?”

“Initially? Unsolicited?” she could hear the mocking in his tone. “No. When you and Jack put out feelers about intervening, I started looking for locals with useful intelligence. Then I vetted him. Thoroughly. If this were a honeypot, it’s one I found in Winnie the Pooh’s closet, hidden enough to believe finding it was organic.”

“And if you’re wrong?”

“Then I know more than enough to repay him in kind afterward.”

“That’s good enough for me.”

Jalal stopped in his climb. “We’re at the entrance,” he whispered. He crawled out first.

“Wait until I give the signal,” Ian said. “If I’m wrong, crawl back to Rose, and leave me.” He shimmied out of the hole.

India twisted to get one of her revolvers out of her holster, and aimed it at the entrance.

Ian leaned back into the hole. “We’re clear,” he said, “but don’t shoot the messenger.”

“Funny,” India said, as she crawled out. Ian offered his arm to help pull her up.

“Where to?” Ian asked.

“I’m thinking,” Jalal said. “I haven’t been here in a couple of decades.” He closed his eyes. “This hallway connects the two main rooms, the larger to the left, accessible from the front. The smaller antechamber in the rear is accessible only from this hall or another opposite this one, both connected to the main chamber. It’s likely that the main chamber would have been where they staged the archaeology, and where they’d be keeping the hostages. The antechamber is where I’d put bombs if I were planting them; give you maximum damage to the hostages, the structure and any significant cultural artifacts.”

“Right,” Ian said. “I’m taking point. India will take the rear. Jalal, let us know if we’re about to do something stupid.”

“I’m not entirely sure not letting me take point isn’t stupid.”

“I’m afraid that isn’t negotiable.” Ian drew a pistol from inside his jacket. He screwed a suppressor into the barrel.

“Won’t that ruin your accuracy?” Jalal asked.

“Not if you know how to compensate for it,” Ian replied. “And it will make my shots harder to immediately recognize as gunfire. It may buy us the precious seconds we need to avert disaster.”

“That’s why you wanted point?”

“Yes.” Ian slid along the wall towards the rear antechamber. When he reached a door opening, he leaned his head in far enough to see. There were several combatants outfitted in random pieces of gear looted from the Iraqi army and improvised from civilian sources. Wires and explosive devices snaked along the wall where Jalal had supposed they would be. Ian hid back behind cover.

“Guards,” he said. “I’m going to need the two of you to create a distraction. But be subtle. It doesn’t do us a damn bit of good if the distraction makes them blow the bombs. Jalal, follow her lead. She’s as used to working alone as you are to following someone else’s orders.” “Will do,” he said.

Old Ventures 2, Ch. 24

“What’s going on?” Rose asked as she held the door so it stopped swinging, and wouldn’t give them away in the store room.

“I’m not sure,” Laney said, her brow furrowed. “It was tense out there, but it’s always tense. The people we help, they’re all caught between a rock and a hard place. They’ve fled violence and hardship to get here, and for most of them, there’s no guarantee they’ll be allowed to stay. But most are good people, stressed, sometimes testy, but good.

“And then suddenly they weren’t. I, I noticed something in the air, almost palpable, even from my office. So I went out to the lobby to check what was going on. Something about me even walking into the room, it was like waving a cape in front of a bull. A Syrian man I’ve been helping with an asylum claim threw a chair. It missed me, but hit the glass wall between the lobby and my desk.

“That seemed to set everybody off. People started screaming, shoving; what had been orderly lines a second before were writhing chaos. Fights broke out, often between people from the same family. Everyone was attacking whoever was closest.”

“Everyone?” India asked.

“Hmm,” Laney thought a moment. “No. Not the staff, none of the volunteers. They were frightened- reacted just like I did.”

Laney’s phone rang, and she answered it. “Hello? Ellen, oh, thank God. Hold on.” The phone beeped as she put it on speaker.

“-managed to get clear. We made it into the conference room, and managed to barricade the door with the conference table. A few of the refugees tried to get in, but when they couldn’t they must have given up.”

“And everyone is there?” Laney asked.

“Everyone but you. That’s why I called. The rest of the staff remembered our evacuation plans…”

“I’m just glad you’re all safe. And no one is exhibiting any strange behavior. Aggression, confusion?”

“Scared, mostly. None of us have ever seen anything like this.” Then her voice became more muffled and quiet. “I’ve talked anyone out of posting any videos for right now… but that can’t hold. I think the longer people are trapped here, the more pissed off they get- and the more likely to do something foolish.”

“Keep an eye out. Whatever got into those people… I don’t think we can rule out it being communicable. So be ready if anyone starts acting strangely.”

“And do what?”

“Hit them over the head with something heavy, would be where I’d start. Unless one of you had the foresight to grab a sedative out of the nursing station.”

“I barely had the foresight to get myself to the evacuation staging area.”

Laney sighed. “That was more than I did,” she said. “Just stay calm. And keep each other calm. We’re going to see what we can do to calm things down out there.”

“Should we be calling the cops?”

“Not if we can help it,” Laney replied. “Cops aren’t known for their prowess at deescalating, and if they show up to a refugee riot the absolute best we can hope for is mass arrests leading to mass deportations.”

“Okay,.. just hurry. I don’t know how long I can keep our people in line.”

“Thanks, Ellen. I appreciate it,” Laney said, and hung up the phone.

“So is there anything back here that we can actually use to stop a riot?” India asked.

“You could try flashing them,” Laney said with a shrug. “This isn’t a military base. We mostly have donated supplies to keep people from dying during the early parts of the asylum process. We don’t even have much in the way of personal protection, maybe some face masks and rubber gloves.”

“So it’s good I brought my gun,” India said.

“No, it’s not. You can’t shoot these people.”

“Not even to wound?” India asked.

“We need to calm people down. Shooting them isn’t going to do that.”

“Do you have a plan?” Rose asked.

“Not a great one.”

“My plan was to punch my way through. Hers was the same, but with bullets. I’m willing to try plan C.”

“Okay,” Laney said. “Then follow my lead.” Laney pushed her way into the lobby. As soon as she was through the door, she hopped up on the counter. “I need everyone to calm down,” she yelled to be heard over a room full of snarling and angered growling. “We’re here to help you,” she said, “but to do that I need all of you to sit down where you are now.”

For a moment there was quiet, as the crowd glanced around the lobby. Then the throng returned to their screaming, bodies crashing together likes waves in a small cove. “Damnit,” Laney said, hopping down from the counter. 

A Syrian man shrieked in Rose’s face, his fingers clawing at the air between them. India hit him in the nose with the butt of her revolver. The skin on the bridge of his nose burst, and blood flowed from the wound, as well as from each nostril. “They aren’t going to be talked down,” India said.

“Can we contain the situation?” Laney yelled to be heard over the din. “It’s spiraling.”