Thursday, February 23, 2017
Review: FUTURE QUEST #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics
[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]
STORY: Jeff Parker – @JeffParker
ARTISTS: Evan “Doc” Shaner – @DocShaner (p. 1-19, 28-30); Steve “The Dude” Rude (p. 20-27)
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire – @whoajordie
LETTERS: ALW Studios' Dave Lanphear
COVER: Evan “Doc” Shaner
VARIANT COVERS: Steve Rude with Steve Buccellato; Bill Sienkiewicz; Aaron Lopresti; Joe Quinnoes
40pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2016)
Rated “T” for “Teen”
Part One: “Lights in the Sky”
A few months ago, DC Comics announced that it would publish a small line of comic books that would re-imagine and re-interpret classic Hanna-Barbera television series and characters. Hanna-Barbera was an American animation studio that produced animated television series for American television networks, mostly for broadcast on Saturday mornings, but also for prime time.
Future Quest, the first of these comic books, debuted recently. Future Quest brings the stars of Hanna-Barbera's action, sci-fi, and superhero TV series together. That includes “Jonny Quest” (one of those prime time animated series), “Space Ghost,” “The Herculoids,” “Birdman,” “Frankenstein Jr.,” “The Galaxy Trio,” “The Impossibles,” and “Mightor.”
The cast of “Jonny Quest” seem to be the stars of Future Quest, and are referred to as “Team Quest.” They are Jonny Quest; his adopted brother, Hadji; his father, Dr. Benton Quest; family bodyguard, Race Bannon; Race's love interest and spy-type, Jezebel Jade; and, of course, Jonny's dog, Bandit. Future Quest is written by Jeff Parker; drawn by Evan “Doc” Shaner; colored by Jordie Bellaire; and lettered by Dave Lanphear. Artist Steve Rude contributes eight pages to this first issue.
Future Quest #1 (“Lights in the Sky”) finds Jonny and Hadji wearing classic Quest rocket packs and zipping around the Florida Everglades. Meanwhile, Dr. Quest receives two visitors from “Inter-Nation Security,” who have come to see him about strange anomalies popping up all over the Earth. Meanwhile, Team Quest's arch-nemesis, Dr. Zin, suddenly appears in the Everglades and attacks Jonny, Hadji, and Race. However, all of Earth is about to be drawn into an epic struggle that threatens the galaxy and perhaps, even the universe.
I was cynical about DC's Hanna-Barbera (sometimes known as “H-B”) announcement. Quite a bit of the storytelling that entertained me in my early and formative years came from classic H-B series. It is not often that comic book versions or even TV remakes of classic 1960s and 1970s H-B series have pleased me. [I really like the Scooby-Doo straight-to-video movies that Warner Bros. has been producing since the late 1990s].
However, I'm all in on Future Quest. Writer Jeff Parker has captured the sense of adventure, fun, and wonder that permeated classic action/superhero/sci-fi and fantasy H-B series like “Jonny Quest” and “Space Ghost.” It does not matter that Future Quest will unite characters that have rarely appeared together, if at all. If H-B had brought together “Jonny Quest,” “Space Ghost,” “The Herculoids,” “Birdman,” “Frankenstein Jr.,” “The Galaxy Trio,” “The Impossibles,” and “Mightor,” I can't imagine that it would look too different from what at least this first issue of Future Quest suggests. Also, my feeling is that Jeff Parker is doing this the right way.
I am a fan of artist Steve Rude. He claims “Space Ghost” as a huge influence on his work as a comic book artist, especially on the comic book, Nexus, which he produces with writer Mike Baron. It is good to see him work on Future Quest. Rude on Future Quest is a no-brainer.
But series artist Evan “Doc” Shaner takes a backseat to no one on this comic book. His clear line drawing style recalls classic H-B, but also captures the spirit of those wonderful European comic graphic albums that appeal to readers, young and old, such as Tintin and the Smurfs. When Jordie Bellaire adds her magical colors, the comic art in Future Quest looks fantastic. It evokes H-B while being something new, fresh, and vibrant.
In fact, this is what the classic, but old H-B action TV series need – a fresh take and a new beginning. Part of me is still doubting. Is this first issue a fluke? Can Future Quest be as good – long term – as I think this first issue is. I believe in Parker and Shaner.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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