In Review: Future Quest #1

Every page delights and returns readers to the golden age of heroic cartoons. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: Six different covers for you to go on a quest to locate. The Main cover is by interior artist Evan “Doc” Shaner and it’s amazing. It’s a wraparound cover featuring all the heroes of this series. Every character from this series of Hanna-Barbara classic super hero cartoons is on this cover: Jonny Quest, Hadji, Bandit, Birdman, Avenger, Space Ghost, Jan, Jace, Blip, Igoo, Tundro, Tara, Dorno, Mightor, (and on the back) Frankenstein Jr., Buzz Conroy, Zandor, Zok, Gloop, Gleep, Vapor Man, Gravity Girl, Meteor Man, Fluid Man, Coil Man, and Multi Man. Looking at all the characters running in the same direction makes me feel six years old! The artwork is gorgeous and the coloring beautiful. This is like looking at a dream come true. The Steve “The Dude” Rude cover with colors by Steve Buccellato is the first Variant and it features my favorite character, Jonny Quest. Jonny and Hadji, with Bandit, are making their way across a rickety bridge. Their jeep, in the distance is smashed, so the two boys and their loyal dog are trying to get to safety. Unfortunately only Bandit has noticed that one of the Abominable Snowmen is sneaking up from under the bridge; another is just behind Hadji, while yet another is about to throw a rock on them. This captures the adventure of the classic television series and is a fantastic frontpiece. The next Variant is a Wow! by Bill Sienkiewicz, this time focusing on Space Ghost. He’s flanked by Jan and Jace, and Blip the monkey is on his shoulder. The characters look amazing and behind them are three of his classic villains. This is also an amazing piece. I want this as a print or tee shirt! The cast of the Herculoids is the next Variant, hailing from Aaron Lopresti. I can hear the monsters’ roars as Zandor, Tara, and Dorno make their way forward. This is just bad ass artwork! The final Variant art cover is from Joe Quinones with several of the character flying about, with Frankenstein, Jr. providing much of the background. It’s good, but it’s really busy and is hard to find a focus. Space Ghost is dominant, but after that there are too many characters just tossed about. The final cover is a blank sketch Variant cover that one may purchase and take to a convention to have one of their favorite artist create a one-of-a-kind cover. Overall grades: Regular A+, Variant Rude A+, Variant Sienkiewicz A+, Variant Lopresti A+, Variant Quinones B, and Variant Sketch C+

The story: “A distant world. Years before.” The Space Force has evacuated the planet of Voranova which is under attack from a many tentacled horror, the Omnikron, which would give H.P. Lovecraft nightmares. General Orxis of this group has fallen in battle and gives his powerband to Captain Kyr. With this weapon he joins the last of the Space Force to take Omnikron down, but something unexpected happens. The scene then shifts to the present at the Florida Everglades where Jonny and Hadji are using their jetpacks to look for “strange phenomena” that Dr. Quest has predicted will be starting soon. Naturally, Jonny has to get himself into some trouble, but things really get interesting with the arrival of Ray Randall and Deva Sumadi. This thirty page story by Jeff Parker is a love letter to every Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the 1960s. The reason these characters are going to come together is very smart and by having Dr. Zin be part of the problem only makes things more delicious. I’ve already described beyond my self imposed four page limit, but let me tease some things without spoiling them: the monologue by Dr. Quest on Page 11 is outstanding, the flashback on 12 great, the inclusion of those iconic Quest monsters on 15 had me howling in joy, the tease across 18 and 19 has me excited, 21 and 22 had me applauding, the change on 23 and 24 had me hearing every line in the voice of Keith Andes, the rolling introduction reveal on 26 and 27 is outstanding, and the reveal on the final page is scream worthy. I’ve probably upset everyone in my house and on my block with my reading and re-reading of this book. This is magic. Overall grade: A+

The art: Often when more than one artist is on a book it spells trouble, as styles don’t mix well, one artist is much better than the other, or it’s several rush jobs hobbled together. Not this book, not at all. Evan “Doc” Shaner is responsible for Pages 1 – 19 and 28 – 30 and Steve “The Dude” Rude is responsible for 20 – 27. This book looks incredible. Shaner wonderfully captures the spirit of Alex Toth and Doug Wildey’s original designs, while keeping the art in his own style, which exploded with Flash Gordon at Dynamite Comics. The opening pages will have fans wanting to see the Space Force spun off into their own series; they’re only shown for five pages, but the power coming out of this group must be shown in other books, soon. The introduction of Jonny and Hadji is fantastic, with their poses defining their characters. Dr. Quest’s lab is littered by several creations shown from the classic cartoon and the deadly devices that are loosed upon the boy heroes are flawless fearsome fun. The final panel on Page 15 is from the absolute perfect point of view; so cool and so terrifying. Rude absolutely shines with his pages that focus on Randall’s alter ego and and perhaps the best villainous illustrations since Jim Steranko did Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the full paged splash on 24 is glorious. The Dude gets to put in more teases of other characters which has me chomping at the bit, hoping he’s going to be back on this book to draw them in action. Doc returns for the final three pages for a spectacular swamp exodus that ends in an incredible reveal of another iconic character. This book looks amazing. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jordie Bellaire also does stellar work on this book. Because of her colors on the opening three pages, readers can feel the heat of destruction steaming off the illustrations. The reveal of the Omnikron is a powerhouse of brilliant destructive colors as its core goes reactive. These pages sing with colors, only to have their absence on the fifth page be a blow to the reader as well as the lone character. This page sets up the reveal of Jonny and Hadji brilliantly, because the sky is a wonderful blue and and the foliage a perfect green. Avenger’s colors are a perfect match for his colors from his show. The yellows on 10 are beautiful, but Bellaire has only started: check out those awesome hologram pinks on 13, the absolutely fierce reds on 15, and check out the slick pairings of colors used for the exclamation on 16. The most stunning work from Bellaire is on 21 and 22 with some incredible work done with bright colors: the slight differentiations on 22 make this full paged splash truly come to life. And the yellow light effects on the final page continue to make me squeal in joy. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, yells, opening title, credits, sounds, Bandit’s barks, a computer’s voice, computer text, a mysterious voice, and the “To be continued…” are created by ALW Studios’ Dave Lanphear. The wide variety of fonts he’s using for screams and sounds is mind blowing. Each creates a unique and powerful sound in the reader’s head and it makes the reading of this book amazing. Page 16 has got the best variety on display with only two characters, but each yelling and grunting, with a terrific sound. Although, look at that awesome scream on the page next to it. Lanphear is the perfect letterer for this book. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: The best all ages action book that will thrill parents as much as their children. Every page delights and returns readers to the golden age of heroic cartoons. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To learn more about Future Quest go to http://dccomics.com

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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