By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry, Dave Sharpe
Unemployment and depression hit Bedrock, and not just Cavemen feel the sting…
Mr. Slate has found a new religion, one based on the strong instead of the weak and valuing success above all else. Thanks to Vorp, Slate fires his loyal employees and hires cheaper labor instead. He has a pretty young girlfriend and so he fires his pet/companion turtle Philip. Bereft, Fred sits at home with nothing to do. Wilma tries giving him a new armadillo bowling ball to cheer him up, which works, but means his old one has to go to a recycling plant.
Yet another hilarious issue from Russell and Pugh. Instead of Fred having to learn a lesson, Mr. Slate has to learn the error of his ways when his hot, young girlfriend dumps him for someone stronger and more successful. It’s sort of an Ebanezer Scrooge story, but with cute animals trying to stay alive (literally). As it turns out, if they don’t make a living they don’t live. Vacuum and bowling ball have become close friends, and with his replacement a cold jerk, Vacuum resolves to save his friend. It’s a cute sideplot, that gets pretty real when they find the meat repurposing factory where old appliances get sent.
Pugh keeps most of the events in the issue charming, such as a secretive group of the rich and powerful worshipping a giant snake god who strokes their egos, or the household appliances having a party after the humans go to bed. Pugh’s art keeps the edge of Russell’s satire from biting too deep, and also seeing Mr. Slate smoking cigars with an eagle on his arm is a funny image. I love seeing his vision of Bedrock, with the cute animals and moronic cavemen emulating modern society.
Eventually, Slate undoes his mistake and even reunites with Philip. Fred has a purpose again and the animal workforce stage a mini-rebellion by freeing their caged brethren at the recycling center. It’s interesting to ponder if Russell is giving commentary on cheap labor over American workers, or how essential work ethic is to men’s self esteem. In any case, another stellar issue with the denizens of Bedrock trying to navigate modern living by cavemen standards.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent