By Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Jordie Bellaire, Dave Lanphear, and Steve Buccellato
Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner are starting to become great partners. If you haven’t read their Convergence: Shazam issues, you owe it to yourself to go hunt them down. With the great colorist Jordie Bellaire on board, this is one heck of a team. However, these massive crossovers tend to not be very good. The previews looked decent, but we were still a little wary. Well, you can worry no more. Now that Snyder and Capullo are done with their run on Batman, this is easily the best DC title. With Rebirth upon us, that could quickly change, though topping this might be a tall order.
Unlike most crossovers, Future Quest manages to seamlessly juggle numerous characters and concepts. The story jumps from scene to scene and from character to character with a fluid motion that is downright impressive. In case you didn’t know, Future Quest is an attempt to bring together most of Hanna-Barbera’s classic action franchises from the sixties and seventies. We start out with a very bleak scene involving the Space Force and then jump right into a much lighter scene starring Johnny Quest and his gang. There are also some great scenes with some other classic characters, including Birdman and the awesome (yet evil) Dr. Zin. Parker remains true to every character, only updating them in the most subtle and important ways. These are written well enough that it’s both an ode to fans and easily accessible to readers unfamiliar with some of Hanna-Barbera’s lesser known properties.
Shaner handles the majority of the art and it is stunning work. Shaner is obviously influenced by the great Alex Toth (the guy who created a lot of these characters), so he’s really the perfect artist for the job. Shaner’s line work and Bellaire’s colors create the best of both worlds: a modern take that still resembles the roots of sixties animation. The scenes with Johnny Quest and Hadji are truly special. They spend a decent portion of the issue flying around with jetpacks, which has a look and feel that screams classic Hanna-Barbera. It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye of any fan of animation.
The other artist is Steve Rude, a guy who has done work on Hanna Barbera comic books in the past in addition to his own highly acclaimed work Nexus and countless other familiar comic properties. His style seems to mesh well with the Shaner pages, especially since his work also appears to have some influences in classic animation. The Dr. Zin scene is fantastically done and it was the right call to have Rude draw it. His lines have much more power to them, which adds to Zin’s already intimidating presence. Overall, the art has a very Kirby-esque drama to it all that works well with the original source material.
Future Quest is an absolute gem. This is the best version of these characters that we could ever hope for. Since DC wants to ship books twice a month, they should consider that strategy for Future Quest. Simply put, we can’t get enough.