The DC/Looney Tunes crossover has been in line with the other crossovers that DC Comics has been a part of lately. They have been all solid for the most part but none of them have knocked it out of the park yet. The creative teams so far haven’t been able to get out of how weird it is to see the serious characters in the DCU interacting with the cartoon characters from Looney Tunes. Now it is Batman’s turn to take part in this crossover as he meets Elmer Fudd. With Tom King, writer of the main Batman ongoing, and Lee Weeks at the helm I have high hopes for this Batman/Elmer Fudd crossover to be a stand out. Will that be the case? Let’s find out with Batman/Elmer Fudd #1.
Writers: Tom King
Artists: Lee Weeks (Pway For Me); Byron Vaughns (Rabbit Season)
Colorists: Lovern Kindzierski (Pway For Me); Carrie Strachan (Rabbit Season)
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Elmer Fudd enters Porky’s Bar in Gotham City and finds Bugs Bunny drinking at the bar. Elmer and Bugs have their normal back and forth while Porky serves them some carrot juice.
Bugs asks Elmer if he is there to kill him. Elmer says he’s there for that and to drink. Bugs never thought Elmer would catch him and that there story shouldn’t end now.
As they continue to talk and drink Tweety is telling stories to other patrons, Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam are playing cards, Taz is beating people up, Marvin is talking to himself and someone tries to sell another on Michigan Fry being able to sing.
Bugs finally tells Elmer that he did not pull the trigger but he knows who. He goes on to say that he’ll tell Elmer if he doesn’t kill him. Elmer agrees and Bugs says it was Bruce Wayne.
Elmer remembers hearing Silver St. Cloud mentioning Bruce and takes off.
Bugs happily smirks “Ain’t I A Stinker?” after Elmer leaves.
As Elmer disguises himself as a driver and drives a couple to a party at Wayne Manor he remembers Silver telling him that she is in love with Bruce, breaking his heart.
After dropping off the couple to the party Elmer walks past Alfred Pennyworth and makes his way into the ballroom. Elmer spots Bruce immediately and pulls out his shotgun. Elmer says this is for “Silver” and shoots Bruce out a window.
The party guest all freak out and Elmer makes use of the chaos he caused to walk out of the party.
As Elmer is driving back to his place Batman is shown following right behind him on the rooftops.
Elmer goes into his apartment and starts remembering how he fell in love with Silver and found blood on the floor recently with a carrot in it.
Someone knocks on Elmer’s door but when he answer it no one is there. Batman tries to to sneak up on Elmer as he is distracted but Elmer quickly fires his shotgun while his back is turn.
Batman and Elmer start brawling in the apartment with neither being able to get the upper hand on the other. They end up fighting to a standstill.
When Elmer says that “Bruce deserved it” Batman reveals that Bruce is still alive. Elmer talks about how great Silver was. Batman grabs Elmer and asks what he knows about Silver. Elmer says that Bruce killed her even though she loved him. They continue to talk and figure out that Bugs lied to them to force the two to fight each other.
A little later Batman and Elmer break into Porky’s bar looking for Bugs. Yosemite Sam tells Batman to leave the bar but is quickly knocked out by Batman. Batman and Elmer then start fighting all the people drinking at the bar including Taz, Foghorn Leghorn and others until only Bugs is left sitting at the bar alone.
Batman and Elmer ask Bugs why he killed Silver. Someone else at the bar says Bugs did it because she told him. This person is revealed to be Silver, much to Batman and Elmer’s surprise.
Silver says when she dated Bruce she discovered how dangerous he became and didn’t want any part of it. Then she found Elmer but the same thing ended up happening so she decided to hire Bugs to help her turn Elmer and Bruce against each other.
Batman wonders what Silver is going to do next. Silver says she is leaving and walks out the door.
Batman, Bugs and Elmer all sit at the bar and order some carrot juice from Porky. End of main story.
The Good: Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 subverts your expectation coming into the issue by giving you a story that fits into the present version of Batman’s Gotham City. At the same time, Tom King never loses sight of who the Looney Tunes characters are, particularly Elmer Fudd, and uses classic characteristics to develop the characters to fit the world they are in. In doing so King and Lee Weeks deliver a story that knocks it out of the park with his story.
When DC Comics nails the crossovers with other universes it’s been because they are able to get a creative team that tells a story in a way that makes sense for both universes. The best example of that was the recent Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover as we see the dark, gritty versions of both universes so that neither set of characters feel out of place. That is a similar approach that King goes with for Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 takes as he makes sure that neither character looks out of place when they interact with one another.
Telling the story through Elmer Fudd’s perspective was a fantastic choice for this story. Through Elmer Fudd’s eyes we are able to see how all the Looney Tunes characters are integrated as citizens of Gotham City. The opening scene at Porky’s is a great showcase of how Lee Weeks was able to set an atmosphere for King’s story. The little details such as Bug’s buck teeth or Porky’s round design help make seeing all these cartoon characters tweaked to look human fit into the gritty Gotham City setting.
It was particularly interesting to see how King carried over Elmer Fudd’s antagonistic relationship with Bugs Bunny over into this issue. Though the main conflict was with Batman, the best part of this issue was when Elmer got to interact with the human Bugs. Their interaction hit all the iconic notes of their classic battles in the cartoons. And while Elmer is the main character of the story King does a good job of having Bugs get one over on Elmer with how he tricked him to go after Batman. It furthered how this version of Bugs is not a good or bad guy, rather he is just someone trying to stay alive long enough to have his fun.
While it could’ve been annoying, King handled Elmer Fudd’s iconic lisp very well. It added to how the character talks in the cartoons and helped further establish this as being Elmer’s story rather than Batman or Bugs. It also gave his side of the story much more character as he is not just some regular silent assassin.
That said, it was incredible to see how King turned Elmer into an almost Punisher-like hitman. It was a side of Elmer’s character that we have never seen, especially with how Bugs and Daffy always make him look like a fool. Seeing this badass version of Elmer go toe-to-toe with Batman was fantastic. Keeping the fight silent until they came to a standstill elevated the fight to be much more badass.
Silver St. Cloud being the driving force behind the fight between Elmer and Batman was a nice use of a forgotten character. The mystery of her death added to the tension between Elmer and Batman. Having the conflict end with Silver revealing that she left both Elmer and Bruce for similar reason was a great character moment for Silver. With how King wrote the character it would be great to see what else he can do with Silver in the core Batman series.
As previously mention, Weeks did a fantastic job creating a tense atmosphere and designing the Looney Toons characters in a way that they fit into Batman’s Gotham City. His human design for Bugs Bunny captured the slimy nature of this version of the character while maintaining key characteristics from the cartoons. The fight between Elmer and Batman was particularly a standout from Weeks as he nailed what an all out brawl between two would be if they existed in the same gritty world.
The Bad: The back-up story for Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 was completely unnecessary. With how excellent the main story was the back-up came off as tacked on to make the extra page count to get to the $4.99 price point. The story would’ve been more at home with the DC/Looney Toons 100-Page Special than this issue that really didn’t need it.
Overall: Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 is a perfectly paced comic book that every DC Comics fan should purchase and read right away. Everything from the character development to the action worked incredibly. Tom King and Lee Weeks did an excellent job bringing Elmer Fudd and the rest of the Looney Toons to life and integrating them into Batman’s world.