Speed Buggy has an interesting place in Hanna-Barbera’s history. Depending on who you talk to the show was amazing and inspirational, or repetitive and derivative. It directly recycles plots from Josie and the Pussy Cats, it’s often compared to the Scooby Doo gang (or at least the Mystery Machine), and not much more than H-B trying to ride on the popularity of Speed Racer with Herbie the Love Bug. It’s just one of the many, many, vehicles to cross the small screen.
So in this version, the Speed Buggy was created by Dr. M. Blanc, one of the original founders of S.T.A.R. Labs, to allow non-metas to access the Speed Force. Flash eventually agrees to help him test the vehicle, not because he wants to help but because he wants the scientist meddling with the Speed Force alone even less. But when something goes wrong in the test Dr. Blanc and the car are somehow merged giving us the sentient machine people know from the original cartoon. The two soon discover that the “accident” was actually sabotage by Flash’s old nemesis, Savatar. When Savatar arrives to confront them, he brings with him a pair of allies also created by the “accident”: Speed Demon Buggy and Reverse Speed Buggy.
After winning the day, Speed Buggy returns to Tinker’s Garage (which we were introduced to in a cutaway scene earlier in the story), where he would start a new life of adventure with his cartoon cohorts: Tinker, Mark, and his daughter Debbie.
The epilogue takes place six months later, and Flash is set to race Speed Buggy for charity. The background of this scene is chalked full of characters from around both the DC and the Hanna-Barbera universes, which along with some of the easter eggs in the Blanc’s lab, maybe the best part of this book.
Brett Booth’s art is clean, with the subtle details that my brain associates with DC superheroes. Scott Lobdell’s story is well done and entertaining for what it is. There were five inkers and two people on colors, so I’m picturing this big art bee, with everyone just grabbing a page. Maybe a random art relay where an inker runs across the room, grabs a page, inks it, runs it to be colored, and the next inker goes. I also think I need more coffee to get myself back to reality.
This wasn’t a terrible book, but it also wasn’t really good enough to justify more than a 2.5 out of 5, with the caveat that I’m not a huge fan of either character to begin with, and this did nothing to change that opinion.