This review contains spoilers.
Future Quest #1 is written by Jeff Parker with art by Evan Shaner and Steve Rude and colors by Jordie Bellaire.
The book is a crossover between classic Hanna Barbera cartoons from the 1960s such as Jonny Quest and Space Ghost. As a disclaimer, I think it is fair to point out that I have never seen any of these cartoons. I have vague recollections of a Space Ghost show on Adult Swim but that’s it. I am coming at this purely as a newbie and judging it on its own.
The issue begins on an alien world with soldiers fighting some sort of war. The alien race is decimated in a self-sacrifice except for their Captain. On Earth, Jonny Quest and Hadji are examining temporal anomalies that have been appearing for Jonny’s dad, Dr. Quest while Race Bannon keeps an eye on them. Two government agents, Ray Randall and Deva Sumadi, visit Dr. Quest in order to figure out what’s going on. Quest’s rival, Dr. Zin, sends in his battle drones which cause Race, Hadji and Jonny to crash. Ray becomes Birdman in order to save them. Elsewhere, Dr. Zin discusses his plan. Some powerful force is trying to break through his dimension to get to Earth. However, it is breaking apart into smaller pieces in order to get to Earth. Zin hopes to be able to control this force and make it serve him. Jonni and Hadji are rescued by a boy named Ty but the issue ends with the arrival of Space Ghost who announces his intention to destroy them.
It makes sense to hire Parker to write this since he is the writer on the Batman ’66 comic. He manages to make a tone that does genuinely feel like a cartoon from the 1960s. Parker has those sensibilities really nailed down.
The art helps with that as well. Shaner and Rude create a style that matches the tone of these kind of shows but doesn’t feel the need to copy the animation style. The art is actually very much in line with the Batman ’66 book. I could easily see there being a crossover at some point. It’s colorful, bright and dynamic.
I was worried that because I am unfamiliar with these characters that I would be confused or bored but Parker makes it work. I’m sure that fans of the shows will probably enjoy this more but I found it satisfying as an introduction. Parker manages to portray that Jonny Quest characters very well to the point that I have a sense of who they are without ever having watched the show.
Some things were jarring to the uninitiated. I found the opening on the alien planet and Birdman to be incredibly random and out of nowhere. Maybe knowing the shows will help with this but I’m not sure. I was especially blind-sided by Birdman. Hopefully, he will be given more context in future issues.
I honestly cannot say if fans of these cartoons will like this because I am unfamiliar with the source material. However, it does feel reminiscent of the 1960s in tone and plot. If you like Parker’s Batman ’66, you will probably like this. It has a very similar vibe. I do think it is appealing to new readers. It’s a good enough start to a story that I am interested to know more and continue despite my unfamiliarity with these characters. I recommend picking this issue up.