I always forget how funny Garth Ennis can be. I don’t mean the dark, ironic humor of Preacher, but just out-and-out funny. I was originally unsure how Ennis would do with a purely funny title. Here with the second issue of Dastardly & Muttley, he shows is comic chops are solid as the normal word continues to transform into a cartoon one thanks to the widespread exposure to unstabilium.
The changes are both subtle and robust. Col. Dick Atcherly gradually changes the way he speaks into a super articulate cartoon character with a weird alliterative vocabulary. Meanwhile, Captain Dudley “Mutt” Muller is turning into a dog man. At first, it appears that they are the only one affected by the magically transformative radiation but gradually it becomes clear that the effects of the radiation are spreading globally.
Ennis is matched with the talents of Alain Mauricet (Grayson, Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys), who manages to blend the distinct styles, bronze age DC and Hanna-Barbera cartoon in a seamless way that projects the transition of this universe and how its inhabitants are noticing some of the changes while some slide right by their perceptions. While everyone notices Mutt Muller’s dog head, very few seem to mind that Atcherly is going to restaurants and checking into hotels with his butt hanging out of a hospital gown.
At this point, it isn’t clear that even if our heroes stop the unstabilium leak in the Unliklistan reactor that they will be able to get the world to return to normal? Can they stop being slapped by hands reaching through the phone? Where do you buy ammunition for a giant blunderbuss that shoots 30 mm shot?
These and other questions are likely to become more and more irrelevant as the transformations continue. This is a really fun limited series. You really get the feeling that Ennis is getting to let loose with all the silliest ideas for ending the world that he couldn’t figure out how to work into Preacher or Judge Dredd. As long as Jabberjaw will play a bigger role in the remaining four issues, I’m willing to see where he is going to take us, unless, of course, I get raptured first.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Steen