Future Quest #1
“Part One: Lights In the Sky”
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Evan “Doc” Shaner & Steve Rude
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover artists: Shaner (regular)/Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz, Joe Quinones & Aaron Lopresti (variants)
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US
I was sorely tempted to pick this comic up when it was released last year, given the creative team and the strong recommendation of the manager of my local comic shop. However, I was reticent, given my lack of nostalgic attachment to the many Hanna-Barbera adventure properties that populate the book. When I saw a copy at a flea market for a steal, I saw my chance to indulge my curiosity and appreciation of the work of writer Jeff Parker and artist Evan Shaner. While I’m pleased I was finally able to examine the book, my initial instinct proved to be correct: Future Quest is for the die-hard fan of these 1960s and ‘70s cartoons, and that’s about it. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with how the writer and artists present the material; it’s solid. But it seems clear to me that appreciation of this comic is wholly dependent on a pre-existing love for these characters.
Good versus evil. The conflict unfolds in a myriad of locales throughout the universe among a diverse array of strange figures. From a space-faring police force’s determined opposition to a bizarre energy creature to the covert plans of special agents in the United States to counter a technological terrorist, the stories feature different and sometimes bizarre elements, but they unfold in similar fashions as well. Now, thanks to rifts in reality, a diverse array of heroes and villains are about to converge and collide.
Shaner’s normally attractive figures and softer style is on display here, though somehow, it doesn’t feel as noteworthy as it has in the past. Mind you, I suspect that stems more from my lack of connection with the characters than his craft. To be honest, his work here reminds me a little of Chris Samnee’s work. He tells the story capably, and there’s certainly a strong energy to the visuals. I was surprised to find that Steve Rude contributed a few pages in the middle of the book. Rude is highly respected and for good reason, and his pseudo-psychedelic approach to the scene is inventive. However, it doesn’t really fit in with the atmosphere and feel that Shaner had already established, so Rude’s pages end up feeling like something of an interruption or aberration.
The book opens with the beginning of Space Ghost’s origin. The organization to which he belonged feels very much like a Green Lantern Corps sort of brigade (which explains the recent Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special). I was a disappointed by the rather dark and fatalistic tone of the scene, though; it’s not at all what I expected from a revival of Hanna-Barbera adventure heroes.
I know many of these properties are popular classics, and some of the more obscure ones are beloved by a dedicated, niche fanbase. But I’m not a member of the club. I vaguely recall watching some Space Ghost cartoons in my childhood, but I’ve never watched any Jonny Quest. I’ve never seen Herculoids, Mighty Mightor or Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles. I only know Birdman as a goofy, inept lawyer, not as a super-hero or secret agent. Now, while I state I’m not a member of the club, I must also note there’s no sense of inaccessibility. The creators here have definitely offered an invitation, opening the door to introduce the uninitiated into the worlds of these weird, campy and wonderful characters. I just don’t feel much like hanging out at this particular party. 6/10
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