In the near-future, the entire Earth is a desolate, unforgiving wasteland filed with danger - irradiated lakes, cannibalistic mutants and things you can't even imagine. Yet, some humans have found a way to survive. Of the survivors, there is motley group of Racers - men, women, beasts, and everything in between - who have one but goal: to make it into the winner's circle and be allowed entrance into the last vestige of civilization on this desiccated planet: Utopia. What are the rules of the race? Simple. There are NONE. Lie, cheat, steal, set traps - some of these Racers will do whatever they have to do to survive and win. And that is just how "The Announcer" likes it. He is the unseen and omnipotent voice that saved each Racer from a grizzly fate, equipped them with powerful sentient vehicles, and set the game in motion. The race is on. A whacked-out race, for a whacked-out world. It's pedal-to-the-metal insanity in "Wacky Raceland!"
Ken Pontac pens this mad, violent, whack-a-doo story that is equal parts Death Race, and Mad Max, with very little of the spirit of Hanna-Barbera cartoon that inspired it, Wacky Races, thrown in...Well...Just because. The story is fast-paced, if a bit disjointed, with all the bouncing around from the past to the present. The characters are familiar faves like Penelope Pitstop, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley, along with their corresponding vehicles - but, boy have they been updated in some ways that were unexpected; however, Pontac hit some of the inclusivity high-notes of current comics (which is almost never probelmatic for me): Penelope Pitstop is tough, smart and capable, say goodbye to the damsel in distress...But Peter Perfect has gone from chivalrous gentleman to a screaming milquetoast; Private Meekly is now transgender, the Red Baron is a PRONOUNCED bigot, Muttley is a murderous monster-dog, and Lazy Luke is a hopeless alcoholic.
And the violence and sexual innuendos? A Teen Plus rating for "Wacky Raceland?" What did I buy, here? I had to check the cover again.
These choices kinda left me scratching my head.
A bright spot was the artwork by Leonardo Manco bolstered by the rich colors of Mariana Canzone - WOW! Gorgeous, with amazing details and busy panels that will make your eyes POP. This book is very pretty to look at. And the story is actually pretty good; it had lots of action, interesting characters, humor, and a curious, if a bit derivative, plot. But putting the Hanna-Barbera brand on this, creating totally new characters and slapping the names of old faves on there...Basically, just calling this comic "Wacky Raceland" is quite a bit of a stretch. The spirit of the work of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are nowhere to be found in these pages. If you dig films like Mad Max and Death Race, this comic will probably float your boat. If you are looking for any vestige of the original Wacky Races, you might want to leave this one alone - you will probably be sorely disappointed.
This will be the first time I give a comic two separate ratings, but I want to be fair:
1. RATING AS A FAN OF THE WACKY RACES CARTOON : 0 out of 10
2. RATING FOR THE COMIC ITSELF: 7 out of 10 (the artwork is 10 out of 10).
Here's a taste of the zany hijinks of the classic cartoon series:
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