Friday, November 16, 2018

On The Shelf: More DC-Hanna-Barbera craziness

DC's Halloween treat for readers was another four pack of 1-shots pairing DC heroes with Hanna-Barbera characters, rebooted with more realistic appearances.

Running in the back of all four 1-shots was a 4-part Secret Squirrel serial by J. M. DeMatteis & Tom Mandrake, spun off from the back pages of Scooby Apocalypse, where Secret has been replaced by Atom Ant. Anyway, DeMatteis is borrowing an idea from Dial M For Monkey, one of the backup features from Dexter's Laboratory, by teasing a relationship between Secret and Agent Honey Bea, who happens to be the daughter of Secret's long-supposedly dead nemesis, Yellow Pinkie. Monkey, if you'll recall, was hot for his partner, Agent Honeydew, and the diff, of course, is that Monkey couldn't speak English.

Digression over. Seems Pinkie's consciousness has been downloaded into a computer program, and that poses a threat. For a series that was designed as a satire on James Bond and his like, this fails. Without frequent writing partner Keith Giffen, DeMatteis lacks his comic mojo. Pay attention to a subtle homage to the late Mel Blanc, who first gave voice to Secret in 1965.

Rating: C.

On to the main events. Deathstroke, The Terminator is paired with Yogi Bear, but it seems the idea of a forest legend teased in the solicitations went out with the wash. Instead, Yogi and mercenary Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) team up to shut down some illegal genetic experiments. Plenty of Laff-a-Lympics call-backs, including the identity of the villains. However, it's a few steps backward for writer Frank Tieri, who apparently geeked out in jamming as many H-B characters from the 50's to the 70's in his story. Mark Teixiera (not the former ballplayer) saves this from being a total fail.

Rating: B--.

Huckleberry Hound was rebooted as gay in Mark Russell's Snagglepuss Chronicles miniseries, but that doesn't appear to be the case in a 1-shot team-up with Green Lantern (John Stewart), set following the latter's return from Vietnam in the early 70's. Spiritually, it's a prequel to April's Hong Kong Phooey-Black Lightning 1-shot, where HKP was the Vietnam vet. Huck & John discover a common bond in dealing with civil rights issues in the early 70's. Scott Lobdell has recast Huck as a stand-up comic, and I'd venture to say that Lobdell topped his work on Flash-Speed Buggy back in April. Cue the Motown soundtrack!

Rating: A.

Nightwing teams with Magilla Gorilla. Instead of being perpetually being up for sale at a pet shop, Magilla is rebooted as a big time TV & movie star, framed for the murder of his manager. Keep an eye open for some surprise guests.

Rating: A.

Unfortunately, publisher Dan DiDio proved again why his detractors call him DiDiot. His attempt at putting Superman & Top Cat together as a team comes off as a farce that could've subbed out Supes for, oh, I don't know, Birdman, maybe? Or The Impossibles? A sentient plant sounds like something right out of the Impossibles' playbook. DiDiot's script is all over the joint, and not in a good way. No sign of TC's gang, either, as this appears to be a follow-up to TC arriving in the DCU last year for a quick meeting with Batman.

Rating: C-.
Staying on the Super-beat, the producers of Supergirl have found who they think is the ideal man to play Lex Luthor.

Jon Cryer has been popping up lately on NCIS, keeping him busy after Two & A Half Men ended its run. Hey, he can't be worse than Jesse Eisenberg, who just didn't look right as Luthor in two go-rounds on the big screen. Look for Cryer to make his debut on the show after the holiday break.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won't be back until after the next "Avengers" movie comes out next spring, but ABC, perhaps at the request of corporate parent Disney, has renewed the show already for a 7th season, likely in 2020. Just when you think ABC wants to veer away from the Marvel Universe, they get dragged back in. They're also working with Allan Heinberg on a female-centric Marvel series, yet to be determined.

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