The DC/Looney Tunes crossovers continue with another “What The?!?” mash-up that features the ever-speedy Road Runner matching wits with… Lobo.
Because, sure. Why not, right? It makes about as much sense as any of the other pairings this series of unusual meetings has offered. And yet, it does when you think about it.
The Road Runner pairing off against Lobo is a tale of mad scientists, genetic manipulation, and intergalactic space travel that spans 70 years of an endless chase between Wile E. Coyote and his eternal lunch option, the Road Runner. As one would expect, seven decades of fruitless pursuit wears on the body and soul, and so the next best option is to (obviously) hire a bounty hunter to take over the job.
The problem is: You had better play it straight with Lobo. And you had better uphold your part of the deal.
Right from the start, the characters for Lobo/Road Runner Special #1 feel perversely familiar. The story makes sense in how a mere coyote can become a “Super Genius”, and how a simple, lowly road runner can seem impervious to harmful situations. Wile E. is tired of the chase. And when he gets captured, he welcomes the release from his obsession.
However, his incarceration results in one of the more clever Looney Tunes related cameos that addresses another familiar looking canine character, and Wile E.’s new partner helps launch (literally) the opportunity to meet Lobo. The premise is simple: Lobo will kill the Road Runner, if Wile E. takes care of Lobo’s bounty currently in progress.
Lobo finds this is not such an easy task.
Cue the standard Looney Tunes chase madness, now paired with a cutthroat and murderous bounty hunter that thrives on mayhem. Lobo has always been tongue in cheek with his gratuitous violence, but here, he meets his match. Lobo works well in this context due to his meta breakings of the fourth wall, and regenerative abilities. This is no simple bird. This is a freak of nature.
Wile E’s quarry is not much better, as he finds himself quickly in over his head with his own DC-based adversary. All of those smarts don’t match up to physical strength, and Wile E. is eager to reestablish the status quo while keeping his head in the process.
The ending, for all the goofy, slapstick situations that both Lobo and Wile E. find themselves in resolves with a satisfying last panel that might give the titular coyote the edge and reinvigoration he needs to pursue his lifelong goal.
But probably not.
The final result is silly, nonsensical, and strangely makes sense. The characterizations are spot on, and the twisted take on the endless pursuit of the Road Runner made me chuckle a few times.
The second take of the story is the more “cartoony” version of the crossover. Given the over the top slapstick nature, there’s an assumption that nothing more could be added to, but the comic finds a way.
Instead, Lobo’s pursuit is constantly hampered by the addition of Bugs Bunny, acting on behalf of being a lawyer for Warner Bros. Studios, and their intent to preserve the integrity of their intellectual property.
What results is an increasingly frustrated Lobo that can’t swear, can’t smoke, and can’t pull out his arsenal of destructive deathtraps. How does he handle the ever-increasing roadblocks? Not well. And when he finally does blow his top, the ever-litigious Bugs Bunny is present on the behalf of his client. It’s a funny little story that fits in well with the Merry Melodies stylings.
Lobo/Road Runner Special #1 is not only silly, but works well, keeping fully in tone with the character personalities for everyone involved, but just gets weird with it.
The total ride was fun, and is another successful experiment from these odd setups.