Comic Book Review: The Flinstones #8
At the end of 2016, “The Flintstones” finally began to see the acclaim it deserves by ending up on many “best of” lists. As hard as it may be to believe for some of you, this series is probably one of the smartest in American comic books right now. At the very least, it is the most timely book at DC right now. “The Flintstones” #8 continues the adventures of this prehistoric family and takes a poignant look at gender inequality. It’s another very strong outing that finds a way to be relevant without losing its narrative.
In “The Flintstones” #8, Wilma and Betty leave their husbands behind to go on a trip to visit the farm that Wilma’s mother lives on. In their absence, Fred and Barney learn just how much their wives do as partners and mothers. As this happens at home, Bedrock is faced with a mayor who wants to make cuts to children’s healthcare forcing the men of this city to face their own major flaws.
In each issue of “The Flintstones”, big topics have been tackled within the storyline through situations that arise for the characters. Each issue has basically felt like an episode and that’s part of why it has been so easy to recommend. Russell tackles the odd helplessness that men sometimes feel when their wives are away or unavailable. They are almost reduced to children and not once does Russell condone this. In fact, he spends much of this issue praising the role women have in modern society and condemning what men put them through. Through Wilma’s backstory, we understand just how deeply unequal Bedrock still is the secondary plot with the mayor is almost too real given the times we live in. “The Flintstones” #8 tackles all this but still retains an underlying dark humor. It’s tough to laugh about some of this stuff right now but Russell finds a way to do it without making the reader feel wrong for doing it. Now, it must be said, “The Flintstones” #8 is a story shown through the eyes of Fred and Barney, two straight men, and while we’ve got plenty of that in comics, it shouldn’t take away from the valid points the series has made.
Steve Pugh continues to do excellent work on this series and carries the weight of making a lot of the comedic and unbelievable moments happen. Through his character work, we really see the hopelessness of Fred and Barney. There are some great panels of each dad having to interact with their teenagers and with each pairing, there is awkwardness. Pugh gives us this visually in a way the writing can’t. He also does this with Wilma and her mother as he provides a huge emotional range for each character. But it isn’t all serious as the school set sequences feature a lot of really great physical humor. Chuckry’s colors are vibrant and bring the sitcom feel to the book. I really like the filter he puts the flashbacks through because it provides a nice kind of confusion free transition. His color work is detailed and really pays attention to the little things like cheetoh dust on Barney’s fingers and varying colors on wardrobe.
“The Flinstones” continues to be the most surprising and poignant ongoing series DC has and I can’t wait to see what else in store for it.