Porky Pig is the big man in town, boss of a Wall Street cryptocurrencies firm. Until everything goes (pork) belly up.
He’s lost it all to a hacking scandal. Money. Position in society. Girlfriend. He contemplates suicide, but can’t go through with it.
Meanwhile, in Washington, greedy industrialists Dr Sivana and Professor Ivo are likewise not having a good day.
Back in Metropolis, a chance encounter offers hope to the humbled pig-man.
Soon, Porky is Lexcorp’s head of social media, and things begin to look up. The calm of Porky’s new life doesn’t last, though – there’s a serpent in the Lexcorp Garden.
So here we are with another round of team-ups between DC heroes and cartoon characters. It’s a pretty fair assumption that Lex Luthor and Porky Pig are paired because they’re both pink and bald, but kudos to writer Mark Russell for building something impressive from that random fact. He places Porky Pig among the corporate greed of Lexcorp and asks if innocence can survive, never mind thrive.
Employee of the Month has laughs, especially when a certain duck gets involved, but if you know Russell from The Flintstones and The Snagglepuss Chronicles you won’t be caught short by the overall tone. The satire is as strong as ever, with social media the biggest target for Russell’s truth bombs, and I love seeing two of DC’s most tenacious super villains recast as Big Pharma types – of course that’s what evil scientists would be doing these days.
And Lex’s big plan – because you know he has to have one – is a real stinker. As for Porky, the Russell touch means he’s not quite the loveable fellow we know from Looney Tunes, but he’s close enough that the story works.
The art of Brad Walker is a big help here. I’m not a big fan of cartoon characters being made so ‘realistic’ they’re unrecognisable (see, for example, this week’s encounter between Catwoman and Tweety & Sylvester), but Walker, inker Andrew Hennessy and colourist Andrew Dalhouse find a neat balance between animation and what passes for naturalism in the DCU. The storytelling is spot on, and Walker gets to show off his talent for telling expressions. What the script doesn’t give Walker is a chance to channel the energy of the classic Looney Tunes shorts, but I’m sure he had a good time nonethless.
There’s an eight-page back-up featuring another version of Porky Pig working for Lex, and while I appreciate the main course, this dessert is pure joy.
It’s Porky Pig as I like him, a naïf determined to do the right thing, and when he realises what a monster he’s working for, he gets to show off the ingenuity behind the surface silliness. Jim Fanning turns in a terrific, tight script, and it’s delightfully drawn by John Loter and inked and coloured by Paul J Lopez. We could be looking at screen grabs, it’s so authentic – Lex’s Next Appointment is wonderful from start to finish.
The main cover by Ben Oliver is wonderfully sinister, though Porky actually looks scarier than Lex, while the variant by Mac Rey is, well, pretty astonishing in how it manages to make two figures drawn in distinctly different styles look as if they belong in the same image.
In a quiet fifth week, this is a worthwhile buy… entertaining and thought provoking.