There isn’t a pairing that sounds as completely counterintuitive and off-brand as Batman/Elmer Fudd. But as it turns out an unexpected pairing can produce one of the most transcendental comics of the years. You wouldn’t think it, but Elmer Fudd can work very well as the type of noir figure a Batman story chews and spits out. Recast as a heartbroken hitman who prefers a shotgun, Elmer is more of a pathos-filled figure than a man who eternally fails to kill a rabbit would be. Creating a version of Elmer Fudd that’s a believable noir figure is one thing, making him a believable challenge for Batman is a whole other roll of the dice and King succeeds on both counts. Whether that’s believably making Elmer’s speech impediment work in the comic among his other traits like marching in motion, incorporating a veritable bevy of Looney Tunes characters into noir archetypes, all of which fixes to make a very Batman-y comic.
All of which folds into the most classic of noir stories imaginable: a man with a gun, a beautiful woman and a patsy. Which leads into Elmer Fudd marking Bruce Wayne for death and drawing Batman into a fight over what really happened to Silver St. Cloud, the woman they both loved. What results is a tragic and action-filled game of predator and prey in Gotham City and it’s no small thing making any character the equal of Batman, let alone Elmer Fudd and King wrings all that pathos for what it’s worth.
Lee Weeks also deserves all the credit in the world for this issue as well. Gotham City and Batman have an endless supply of looks to work with, having to craft a new version of Elmer Fudd from the ground-up and having to populate that world with believable analogues for the Looney Tunes characters that work in a Gotham City punctuated by an endless night is another feat altogether. If anything this story could fit into a Batman comic of the 80’s, with Fudd’s more human frame contrasting against the crime machine that’s Batman, it’s a world filled with the sorrow and gallows humor that comes from a bleak world and it’s one that Lee Weeks is perfectly suited to bring, with the help of Lovern Kindzierski’s rain-drenched colors. Point being though is that this is the Batman comic you both need and deserve. So get it. Get it now. A comic like this only comes once in a blue moon.
5 Rabbits out of 5
P.S.: It’s also wise to note that there’s also a backup story by Tom King and Byron Vaughns. It has nothing to do with the main story, but it’s a beautiful play on the old “Rabbit Season, Duck Season” story with Batman and Bugs competing for who gets to be shot by Elmer. If you’re looking for something a little more classic, you’ll definitely be happy.