Thursday, 2 March 2017

Future Quest, Volume 1 Review (Jeff Parker, Evan Shaner)


Maybe I shouldn’t have read this as I never saw the Jonny Quest cartoon so have zero knowledge about or nostalgia for the show but the recently relaunched Flintstones comic wasn’t bad so I thought Future Quest might be ok too; nope - it wasn’t! 

Here’s the biggest problem: TOO MANY CHARACTERS! A whole mess of characters are thrown at you as soon as you start reading: heeeeeeeeere’s Jonny (Quest and Hadji)! - ok, they’re the main characters - Race, Dr Quest - fine, they’re the supporting characters - and then it’s an unstoppable cascade that I couldn’t follow: Birdman, Space Ghost, the Herculoids including Tundro, Zok, Gloop and Gleep, and Igoo (real names I swear!), Dr Zin and FEAR, Jezebel Jade, Frankenstein Jr and Buzz, Mightor, a monkey in a domino mask, and The Impossibles. There’s more but you get the idea - it’s a chaotic jumble of characters! 

You know what it’s like? The parasites episode from Rick and Morty where you’re deliberately introduced to dozens of new characters every minute who pretend they’ve always been around. You have no idea who they are or what their deal is. Jeff Parker gives the reader almost no background to the characters so if you don’t know them, tough, you’re not getting any help from him! And the ones he does give some backstory, like Birdman, are so generic and dull. 

Speaking of generic and dull, the plot: a portal or something is opening and bad guys or something are coming through and FEAR are evil and up to something? Terrible. I guess Parker didn’t have a choice and had to come up with something vague and all-encompassing to incorporate the massive cast but it’s still boring to read. 

The art is wonderful, in particular Evan “Doc” Shaner and Steve “The Dude” Rude’s - very clean lines, lively panels, eye-catching colour, and, despite the pandemonium of having so many characters, well-ordered. I was also impressed to see Jeff Parker’s art, which isn’t bad, as I thought he was just a writer. 

It definitely looks like a fun world to be involved in and maybe the tumultuous style of this book is similar to the original show’s and so fans, in addition to nostalgia, might like it for that; though as someone unfamiliar with the show, I found Future Quest to be totally inaccessible and uninteresting - this book is definitely for pre-established fans only.

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