Written by: Ken Pontac
Art by: Leonardo Manco
Publisher: DC Comics
There is a moment of dialogue on the final page of Wacky Raceland #2, where hoards of zombies are closing in on the book’s self proclaimed heroes, in which a couple of racers say that they will not forget the injustice committed against them by another racer. This strangely soap- opera esque line fits well with how I as a reader felt after reading this book; lost, confused, betrayed and above all disappointed.
The premise of Wacky Racers is one that interested me from the moment it was announced. It took a moderately obscure Hanna-Barbara property about strange beings taking part in Wacky Races and promised to put a Mad Max spin on it. Being the passionate Mad Max fan that I am, I awaited the book’s debut issue with child-like excitement, which is what many of the Hanna-Barbara DC books count on to sell issues. After two issues I can honestly say that this book is less Mad Max, and more unlikeable characters going up against danger I don’t care about because I could care less if all the characters just dropped dead.
The thing that the new Mad Max film did best in my opinion was the subtle characterization, as it was easy to find yourself rooting for Max, Furiosa and the other Women, simply based on their actions. In Wacky Raceland all of the characters are unlikeable, and none is more unlikeable than Dick Dastardly, which is fitting as he was the villain from the original show. What’s not fitting is the fact that this book thus far is centred around Dick and his struggle with being a complete arrogant sociopath. Now that may seem a little harsh, but the main crux of this issue is Dick going back to the place in which in he locked his wife and child out of in order to save his own life, and killing them in the process. This issue tries to play with this horrendous act, showing Dick struggling with the choice he made,but it tries to hard to tell the reader that he is sorry without giving them any reason to believe him. There is also a grimace worthy page in which he sings, I’m sorry, while playing the piano to sell the idea that he’s sorry.
The other characters are unremarkable and there’s not much positive that can be said about them other than they hate Dick Dastardly and so do I.
The art by Leonardo Manco is by far the best part of this book, as it has a noir tone, that seeps with heavy inks and a surprising amount of bright splotches. His car designs and the movement they possess are kinetic and the vehicles seem very much thrown together, which fits the post apocalyptic tone well. That being said his panel layout is oftentimes muddled and confusing, and I found myself often having to re-visit a page a couple of times to understand what was going on.
Wacky Raceland #2 is a mess of a book, as it is full of unremarkable characters and helmed by a downright awful one. The art is solid for the most part, but is not enough to save this stinker. If you have any interest in buying this book I strongly urge you to reconsider, as you’ll live a much happier life if you never read this book.