Future Quest #1 is the opening salvo in DC Comics’ revamp of several classic Hanna-Barbera properties. We’re due to see strange new versions of the Flintstones (evidently moved from Bedrock to Uncanny Valley), Scooby-Doo, and a Mad Max-like take on Wacky Races. The Future Quest title seemed both the safest bet, putting action heroes in an action comic, and the most ambitious, since there are potentially dozens of heroes and villains to incorporate from the various franchises involved, which include Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Frankenstein Jr., The Galaxy Trio, The Impossibles, Birdman, and Mighty Mightor.
The company seems to have put its best foot forward — the comic not only does justice to several classic characters, it updates them for a modern audience in ways that make sense and catalyzed our interest in seeing the rest of the Hanna-Barbera action lineup appear. With deft writing by Jeff Parker and timeless art by Evan “Doc” Shaner and Steve “The Dude” Rude, Future Quest is entertaining on its own and promises even better content to follow (bring on the Impossibles, please!). We’ll also note that Darwyn Cooke is credited with character designs
The first issue starts off with two of the best-known properties — Space Ghost and Jonny Quest — front and center. We get an origin of sorts for Space Ghost, and a bit of an introduction into the extended Quest family, including how they spend their time and why they end up getting mixed into an adventure with characters from such disparate places and possibly eras. It’s some sort of time/space vortex issue. This link between properties may be the least clever part of the story, but hard to fault Parker; Marvel’s classic Secret Wars (battle planet!) and DC’s classic Crisis on Infinite Earths had similar tropes to bring everyone together. Almost a necessary evil of “big group allies across space and time for grand adventure” stories. The way Parker takes this trope and makes it viable shows what a pro he is. The brotherly bond between Jonny and Hadji and a new friend they meet called Ty may be the most charming part of the story thus far, though a myth-worthy introduction to Birdman is eye-catching and impressive (i.e., miles away from “Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law).
With the usual caveat that it’s tough to judge a series by its first issue, we’ll proclaim Future Quest as, if not destined for success, certainly primed for it. Even without familiarity or nostalgia for the characters, Jeff Parker’s scripts are always a pleasure, and Shaner and Rude’s renderings do the words justice. Pick it up!
Future Quest #1 ships Wednesday, May 18.
Images: DC Comics