Review: Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1
The strangest and best of the DC Comics/Looney Tunes begins with a Will Eisner-esque title page, and writer Tom King, artist Lee Weeks, and colorist Lovern Kindzierski unveil a world more akin to the actually good comics by Frank Miller and not anything on a Saturday Morning cartoon. (Except for possibly Batman: The Animated Series.) Batman/Elmer Fudd is a straight-up noir starring human versions of Looney Tunes and a billionaire who dresses up like a bat. And of course, there’s a silver haired woman behind their actions, which King and Weeks use to poke holes in the classic femme fatale archetype.
Batman/Elmer Fudd, like many of the other Looney Tunes/DC Comics, because Tom King, Lee Weeks, and Lovern Kindzierski tell the story completely seriously while occasionally putting in an Easter Egg to lighten the mood. But Weeks and Kindzierski never break their chiaroscuro lit reverie, and the color palette definitely stays on the shadowy side. The hardboiled crime tone and the intense fight scenes between Batman and Elmer Fudd combined with his lispy, yet darkly earnest voiceovers creates moments of pure comedy. But then you see Elmer slumped at the bar with his stubble, downcast face, and carrot juice and feel bad for a man who lost his best chance at happiness and not constantly “wabbit hunting” when his lover Silver St. Cloud was bloodily killed by Bugs Bunny, who is a carrot chomping, mob wise guy in this comic.
Batman and Elmer Fudd work well together (And this fact is corroborated in-universe by their mutual ex, Silver St. Cloud.) because they are both driven by an obsessive need for justice. Batman hunts criminals, Elmer hunts rabbits, and they will do that until they fade out of pop culture relevance. Lee Weeks shows this shared character trait in an intense set of silent pages that establishes him in the top tier of action storytellers. Weeks’ poses and movements are powerful as Batman dodges Elmer’s point blank shotgun blasts, and later, there are holds as neither can get the upper hand.
Weeks is so good at depicting motion that you can feel the air move as Batman ducks and dives along with the bones that crack when Batman and Elmer team up against their common foe Bugs, who supposedly killed Silver St. Cloud. By the time the issue is over, Elmer Fudd, siwwiness and all has joined John Wick and the characters that Chow Yun Fat used to play in the gun fu using, revenge driven badass department. His no-look reverse shotgun blast has to be seen to be believed. However, Batman/Elmer Fudd isn’t all fisticuffs, and King and Weeks give Elmer a true air of melancholy in his drooping eyes and borderline pathetic internal monologue. The super depressing rain that drenches the characters and old style architecture helps a lot too and again evokes Eisner and early Miller.
At its heart, Batman/Elmer Fudd is a noir story about two men that are driven to violent revenge for a beautiful woman. Tom King plays with this classic formula by having Silver St Cloud be manipulative, yet still self aware and motivated by wanting to be out of these obsessive men’s lives. There are the wistful flashbacks of the beautiful woman, but Silver has agency and ends up being behind the whole issue’s plot. He, Lee Weeks, and Lovern Kindzierski also have a blast playing with the pop culture icons of Batman and the Looney Tunes and transposing them to this kind of setting.
The more cartoonish backup with art by Byron Vaughns and Carrie Strachan runs a few of its jokes into the ground, but has a hilarious Calendar Man cameo. However, it’s a nice relief after in-your-face crime noir with a side dish of lisps and hunting metaphors.
Story: Tom King Art: Lee Weeks Colors: Lovern Kindzierski
Backup Art: Byron Vaughns Backup Colors: Carrie Strachan
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review