Future Quest is an exciting new title being put out by DC comics. Unlike most DC titles this does not feature their classic stable of characters: Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and the Green Lantern. Instead the focus is on an entirely different set of heroes that were created for television back in the 60s by the animation studio Hanna-Barbera.
Many older adults will remember who these characters are: Jonny Quest and his gang, Birdman, The Herculoids, Space Ghost, and more. Younger generations might recognize the characters from their Adult Swim re-imaginings: “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”
Future Quest #1 begins in space with a battle between some sort of space creature and a number of space heroes that all look to belong to the same organization. The group all wear the same uniform, which resembles that of Space Ghost’s sidekicks Jan and Jace. They utilize a wrist blaster that also similarly resemble Space Ghost and his crew’s own. Presumably they belong to the Space Rangers, an organization that could possibly be compared to either to DC’s Green Lantern Corps or Marvel’s Nova Corps in their duties.
However, this first issue isn’t about these heroes in space, instead it is mainly about Jonny Quest, Hadji, and Dr. Quest. The book is meant to set up the events that will connect the rest of the Hanna-Barbera characters.
Dr. Quest, who is presumably the premier super scientist in this new series, has been observing a number of unique anomalies, known as “vortexes.” The vortexes act as portals to other worlds most likely leading to the other Hanna-Barbera heroes. But, Dr. Quest’s rival, Dr. Zin, has also been studying the vortexes for his own nefarious purpose.
Dr. Zin appears to be the opposite of Dr. Quest. Where Quest has more noble goals which include world peace. Zin, on the other hand, uses his intellect for wealth and power.
First of all Future Quest #1 is great, it is the perfect set-up for what looks to be a very fun and rewarding series. Based on this first issue alone, author Jeff Parker was a perfect pick. The dialogue is easy to follow, and the plot is easy to understand. Plus this first issue doesn’t overwhelm you with all the future characters that are sure to come in later issues. Instead, it focuses on Jonny Quest and his supporting characters. There are hints and a few reveals of other Hanna-Barbera characters as well.
Readers who are more familiar with these properties will be excited at the nods and easter eggs that are sprinkled throughout the book. However, people just learning about these characters for the first time will enjoy getting to know them. There is no origin story for any of these characters, but bits of detail about them are revealed through conversation throughout the issue.
Art wise the book is top notch. It features two artists doing interior pages, and character designs that were done by the late Darwyn Cooke. It feels like there were multiple people competing to bring the characters that they love to life on the comics page. I don’t know how many people applied for the job, but Evan “Doc” Shaner and Steve Rude are the perfect fit.
I am less familiar with Shaner’s work than I am Rude. Speaking on Rude alone though it is not a surprise that he is working on this title. Rude, who is known as one of the creator’s of Nexus, has said in interviews that he was friends with Jonny Quest creator Doug Wildey. Rude’s art has also been compared to Space Ghost creator Alex Toth. The fit couldn’t have been more perfect.
Shaner’s art is great too. The book is rich in detail, and the world that he and Rude have created is one I had imagined living in as a small child. Space monsters, deadly robots,and jet packs. These are all things I would fantasize about when I was 10 or 11-years-old. Actually, if I am being honest they are still things I fantasize about.
However, the colorist should also receive praise as well. Jordie Bellaire really makes the pages pop; the coloring on this is absolutely excellent. Her colors provide a sense of warmth and nostalgia to the images.
Future Quest #1 is a must have first issue, especially if you are a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera action properties. The writing and art is great. The story is linear and easy to follow, and doesn’t reveal too much all at once. It also provides a number of nods and Easter eggs to people who are long time fans of these characters. The art is of course amazing, and features Steve Rude who is a true fan of this material.
- Art looks amazing and is done by people who really love the material
- Story is strong and easy to follow
- A first issue of what could be a very promising series