By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry, Dave Sharpe, Bill Sienkiewicz
This Week’s Finest shows us that the only thing keeping society together isn’t love or money, but the belief we won’t be wiped out by a giant meteorite and die a fiery death. This week, the Flintstones and Bedrock face their mortality…
Things are pretty good in Bedrock. They have a mall, the Church of Gerald is comforting people about how to live their lives, even Fred’s job at the quarry isn’t so bad. Life in the Stone Age involves less clubbings and witchcraft. All of that is threatened when the science institute discovers a giant asteroid is about to hit Earth and kill everybody. People panic, as they realize how fragile and uncertain their lives really are. Mr. Slate has to confront the fact that his life is empty in spite of all his wealth and that his closet friend is his servant turtle. It’s a funny and revealing look at a character who in the first issue caused a man’s death by dogging him to club a woolly mammoth.
Russell is on point this issue, dialing in to the fear and delusion people use to cope with the big questions in life. How many times have we heard about NASA or someone else finding an Armageddon-sized meteorite that might hit Earth and it turns out to miss us by thousands of miles? By this point, we’re able to blow those off. Much more concerning is the possibility that American society as we know it might irrevocably change in less than a month and gives this story some poignancy.
Under threat of a sudden and fiery death, people lose faith in religion, rules, even the mall which had brought them so much comfort. Peebles and Bam-Bam beg professor Sargon to lie about the impending asteroid or check his math again, which is how he learns that two copulating moths were obscuring his abacus results.
Steve Pugh gets a lot to play with, whether its depressed animals stuck acting as appliances, bowling balls or rioting caveman. Both require clear emotional responses and storytelling, and Pugh brings them out in spades. With Russell’s script, the differences between life for animals and cavemen in The Flintstones becomes pronounced as the happier the humans get impacts the animals quality of life. While the humans panic over the World ending, for Fred’s bowling ball this is a weekly occurrence. The scene between him and the vacuum cleaner elephant is endearing and underscores what really holds people together from the brink, each other. Peebles and Bam-Bam rely on one another for support in trying to find a solution and while while Fred and Wilma fail to find support in others, they still have each other in the end.
Like every great issue of this series, it points out the ridiculousness of life but then explains why it works anyway. People may need empty gestures and endless distractions to make it through the day without losing it, but it allows us to have some semblance of order and civility. What makes any of that mean anything, is having people that you care about around you.
Russell’s plot brings everything together in a tight bow, making this story one of his best for the series. Coupled with Pugh and Chris Chuckry’s stellar work on the art and colors, this was an easy choice for the Week’s Finest.