Writer: Tom King / Artist: Lee Weeks / DC Comics
Fuck a drive-by, I just hop out the car and mush a face”- Royce Da 5’9
I don’t know what world we are living in where a team up with Elmer Fudd and Batman is one of the best written and illustrated books, not only of the year, but of the past several. On paper these Looney Toons and DC Comic book characters should be a joke, but that isn’t the case. It feels like all the creatives assigned to these held a competition with one another on who could make the most bomb character with the most unlikely match-ups, similar to Mary Shelly, Percy Shelly, Lord Byron, and John Polidori competition on who could create the best horror story.
Tom King introduces the Looney Toons universe by having these characters portrayed as humans in Gotham’s underworld. We’re introduced to Elmer Fudd as a country-born hitman. Fudd’s entering a bar to take out local criminal Buggs “The Bunny” Woves. Yeah, you see where this shit is going. Fudd isn’t the bumbling hunter we know from his cartoon iteration here. Fudd is a gritty noir, matter-of-fact hitman, still with his signature country accent. I love it. I fucking love this.
Buggs has killed someone close to Fudd and Fudd’s here for revenge as Buggs exchanges the name of the person who hired him in hopes of keeping his life. That man is Bruce Wayne. Oh, this ain’t spoilers either, baby — this ain’t even the thick of it. King draws out the connection between these two and it’ll have you screaming at this issue like you’re watching a rap battle with apple pie bars [made from scratch] taken out the oven on Barefoot Contessa. Fudd’s background fleshes out on his journey to Bruce and we learn more about him as a hunter, hitman, as well as simply a man who becomes a well-rounded character. Batman shows more personality than usual this issue as well. King displays a bit of Bats letting some quips fly.
The artwork for this series is perfection. That’s it. It’s perfect. Lee Weeks’ gritty vision of Gotham is all you’d ever want. This story could be taking place in the 50’s or modern day, and that’s such a feat to pull off. It’s one thing for the writing to be incredible, but when there are action scenes that going as hard as the bars? My god. Never in my life did I imagine I’d be saying in 2017 that Elmer Fudd versus Batman is a top-ten comic book fight. Weeks lets us know that Fudd isn’t just nice with the shotty — he can throw down, too. Fudd is more than capable of holding his own against Batman.
Bruh, you see how smooth that gunplay looks? Works gives Fudd his own specific gracefulness in fighting Batman. It’s not an acrobatic pretty but a rough-around-the-edges type of beauty to each movement that Fudd initiates. The scenery is the perfect type of dreary for Gotham as well. Lee knows what’s up and was the perfect choice on visuals to be paired with King.
I am completely floored by how great this special is. The funniest thing about this issue is trying to suggest it to a friend and knowing how crazy you’re going to sound saying, “So Batman and Elmer Fudd face off, right?” When we talk about real rap raw from our favorite hip hop artists, the same can be applied for writers and artist in the comics industry. I have no problem saying Tom King and Lee Works are on a real storytelling raw level that needs to be recognized and credited.
Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.