[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Phil Hester
Artist: Steve Rude
Inker: John Kalisz
Mentok has a hostage scheme set up that could finally get him what he wants without having to get his own hands dirty. What he wants above all else? The death of Birdman of course. Well, sort of. Mentok has a much bigger and nefarious scheme planned out. Of course he does. What is it you wonder. Well, what kind of summary would give that away?
Dev and Inter-nation join the fight and Birdman has some moments of introspection while learning a ton about his past. It turns out that the holes in his memories are not filled with great news. Turns out, when he gained the power of Ra and was filled with good, some of the bad things he did when he was Ray Randall started coming out. Flashbacks ensue.
Avenger gets plucky and the fight resumes. Are Dev and Ray destined to be more than friends? Will Birdman shout his name as he screeches across the sky? Will Mentok be defeated? All will be revealed in this month’s Future Quest Showcase: Birdman.
Steve Rude is the rock star of this book. Seriously. I can go on and on about how authentic this feels. How those of us who grew up watching Birdman, Space Ghost and the rest of the originals on Saturday morning feel transported back to that time and place when we see what Rude had done here.
I can heap praise on John Kalisz for finding the perfect template to make this pop off the page, but be muted enough to feel like an old cartoon. Today’s comic readers are so used to over the top colors and crystal clear definition, but this book is totally holding onto an aesthetic that happened before all of this.
I could say all that or I could just show you some panels. Feast your eyes on this:
Pretty amazing huh?
In the same way that Rude and Kalisz totally captured the heart of the art, so does Phil Hester capture the soul of the original. Why could that be listed as a negative you wonder? Well, the original is pretty cheesy and so, the cheese factor is cranked to 11 on this. The plot is pretty thin and the way things play out is pretty predictable. If you are looking for a plot twist, you are looking in the wrong place. So, while I like what the team has done here, I am not sure this book is really for new fans who are not picking up on the old-timey, cheeseball vibe.
As has been the case with Future Quest since its inception, this book is for an oddly specific audience. I appreciate DC’s willingness to give it another go after the initial 12 part run. There are plenty of adults reading comics, and this book is for them. I hope some younger readers are picking this up and fully appreciating it for what it is. It is a lot of fun and nostalgia.