ADVANCE REVIEW: Future Quest #1

Posted May 17, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Jeff Parker

Art by: Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve “the Dude” Rude & Jordie Bellaire

Publisher: DC Comics

When DC announced their line of Hanna Barbera books, it was clear that one of their major selling points was the nostalgia. Like everyone else who watched the cartoons as a child, I was pretty excited to revisit them in comic book form. There was, however, one property that I had no reverence for: Future Quest. I was (and still am, to be entirely honest) unfamiliar with the cartoon. This issue was my first real exposure to the characters, and the world that they inhabit. Unfortunately, that means I won’t be able to tell you how loyal the creative team is to the source material, so if that’s all you care about, I don’t think this is the review you’re looking for. Otherwise, please, continue reading. Or don’t. I’ve already gotten a click out of you.

Overall, I liked Future Quest #1. My biggest concern going in is that I would be completely lost, considering my lack of knowledge for the source material. It’s entirely possible that I missed a few references here and there, but overall, Jeff Parker did an excellent job making the book new-reader friendly. It sets up all the characters fairly well, though some of this is done through overwrought exposition rather than dialogue or character beats. This isn’t true across the board, and Hadji and Jonny both seem like interesting characters, and they have a pretty cool dynamic.

The most glaring issue with Future Quest #1 is the sheer amount of exposition. I get it, it’s a debut issue, but there are multiple pages that Parker uses as information dumps. Now, this doesn’t always bother me, but the information just isn’t presented in an interesting fashion. It also gets in the way of any actual characterization for at least three members of the book’s cast. They spend more time telling the reader facts about the world and other characters that there’s simply not enough panel space left for them to be really fleshed out. It really left me longing to get back to the parts with Jonny and Hadji, which were light hearted and fun.

Fortunately, there’s not so much exposition that it gets in the way of the art. The panels are constructed in such a way that, for the most part, the reader can take in the full glory of the art. Shaner and Rude have very similar styles, so there’s no reason to be all that concerned about a dissonance within the issue. This actually surprised me, because it’s so rare that two artists have styles similar enough to facilitate this degree of cohesion. Anyways, the art is gorgeous, and Bellaire’s colors just give it an extra layer of life. It encapsulates the light-hearted nature of the issue perfectly.

Future Quest definitely has a lot going for it. Its problems aren’t necessarily irreversible, and many of them are characteristic of debut issues. That obviously doesn’t forgive them, but it’s something to keep in mind while reading this issue, or deciding whether or not to pick it up. There’s a sense of fun that Future Quest encapsulates really well. Despite it’s flaws, it’s just so excellent tonally that I hope it picks up in later issues.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.