Lobo/Road Runner Special #1 Review

Written by: Bill Morrison

Art by: Kelly Jones

Publisher: DC Comics

Well this was certainly a surprise. While I love the idea of the DC/Looney Tunes crossover (as much as I love any other “so dumb it’s good” ideas) I was expecting them to be pretty guff comics with a simple gimmick to carry it. So far though, I’ve been really impressed with their quality. Lobo/Road Runner is undoubtedly my favourite so far, with a pairing that seemed pretty strange, though perfectly captures the spirit of what makes both properties special.

The comic starts strangely with a very comics style origin given to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Taking so much time to introduce mad scientists, ACME as an evil organization and even references to other Looney Tunes characters feel pretty hilariously over the top. It almost feels like a parody of DC’s new 52 style of origin stories and was very appropriately tongue in cheek. After years of failing to capture his mortal enemy the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote eventually manages to hire the services of Lobo to end him once and for all. It’s here that the comic swings back into the Looney Tunes style of story telling with some very slapstick heavy depictions of the ultimate predator versus the ultimate bad luck charm.

If there’s one knock against the plot it’s that it manages to be both strangely convoluted and  pretty short and straightforward in equal measure. The attention to building a Looney Tunes mythos slows down the plot quite a bit in the first half, and it’s not until the introduction of Lobo that things really start getting fun and purely entertaining. It’s definitely an interesting experiment to give the Looney Tunes a complex origin and feels like it could make for good commentary on the need for superhero comics to explain everything, though it does give the comics a pretty slow open.

Thankfully, once things get going they really take off. Kelly Jones does a wonderful job at mixing both world into each other. She very much captures the DC style, especially in the aforementioned opening and origin, but once the more traditional cartoon antics start, here art very subtly shifts to match and takes on a brilliant slapstick quality. It’s the perfect mix of both worlds and captures the pure joy and cartoonish energy while keeping things fresh and modern. While the Lobo sections are interrupted by a pretty dull side-plot involving Wile E. Coyote and the Green Lanterns, it nonetheless makes for a damn entertaining story, and the payoff at the end is worth it.

The biggest surprise of the issue however is the back-up written and drawn by Bill Morrison. Frequent readers will know of my detest of tagged on back-up stories simply to inflate the price, so I was amazed to see this tagged on back-up actually agreeing with me. It’s a fun story that takes place directly after the main story and features Lobo drawn in the Looney Tunes style, forced to participate in more traditional all-ages antics. It goes a little too meta at times, though at only 8 pages it doesn’t at all outstay it’s welcome and manages to be pretty hilarious. A nice bit of relief and definitely cathartic for me to see a back-up story complain about how blatantly annoying they are.

There’s definitely a particular crowd for these comics, and thankfully they’re proving themselves to be of a high quality. If you look at these on your local store’s shelf and think “man that’s so strange I have to check it out” then by all means please too. It’s a great tongue-in-cheek comic that knows exactly what it wants to be and does it tremendously. Don’t miss this one.