Future Quest #2
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ron Randall, Jonathan Case, and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Dave Lanphear
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Future Quest #2 builds on the momentum of a perfect first installment. Jeff Parker, whose script ranges from harrowing to fun, is still building his team, but continues to display a firm grasp on the tone of these Saturday morning adventures while injecting an all new epic scope into the story. Along for the ride are artists Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ron Randall, Jonathan Case, and colorist Jordie Bellaire, all of whom give their absolute best and provide pages that, while rendered by different artists, all meld together in a satisfying visual experience. I will admit a healthy trepidation going into this series, but Future Quest #2 proves that DC’s grand Hanna-Barbera team-up experiment is no fluke.
Opening with science fiction sword and sorcery and quickly shifting back to the high tech hijinks of the here and now, Future Quest #2 spins a great many plates at once, but makes it look deceptively easy. Jeff Parker takes even more characters out of the deep toybox of Hanna-Barbera heroes like the Herculoids and the Galaxy Trio, but again avoids the trap of feeling overstuffed. Parker also displays a knack for juggling tone with the opening flashback and the shifting to the action happening in the title’s present.
In the opening set piece, the Herculoids and Space Ghost’s team are fighting a losing battle against Omnikron and Parker’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”-like scripting along with Shaner and Bellaire’s grim, yet vibrantly colored blocking makes you feel every bit of that loss. However, Parker and the art team perk the title right back up once we are back in the Everglades with Jonny Quest and Hadji and their new ally Jan, sending the title out with more energetic adventuring that made the debut such a perfect read.
Though this kind of slow team-building kind of story telling would usually work against a title like this, Parker keeps us not thinking about the characters as a team by using them to great effect as individuals, much like he did with the Jonny Quest-centered opening. Though the moment when they all come together will be a triumphant one, I am still unfazed by them all seeming to star in their own “shows” until that big moment. It is a difficult tight rope to walk, but Future Quest #2 does it and does it with style.
Speaking of style, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Jonathan Case, and Rod Randall continue the title’s confident streak of visuals. Though Shaner’s pedigree is undeniable at this point and for proof you need not look any further than this issue’s opening battle, it is Case and Randall that prove to be the issue’s secret weapons. Made whole by Jordie Bellaire’s bold and eye-catching colors throughout, Case and Randall finish up the issue as fill-in artists, but both artists deliver Mike Allred-esque pages that jibe very well with Shaner’s slick retro style, like the image of Dr. Quest zooming in to save the day in his hover-car that looks right out of Allred’s FF run. Though a full issue worth of Doc Shaner’s artwork would have been a best case scenario, Jonathan Case and Rod Randall rise above being mere fill0in artists with pages that work in tandem with the main style, while still standing as worthy additions all their own.
Against all odds Future Quest #2 avoids the sophomore slump and is quickly establishing itself as one of DC Comics' most unlikely of hits. Though the team hasn’t taken a solid form just yet, Jeff Parker continues to make full use of the Hanna-Barbera canon while injecting an unexpected pathos amid all the craziness. Along with Parker’s epically fun script, Future Quest #2 continues its artistic hot streak with a team that keeps the pages consistent, both in tone and energy, tied together by one of the best colorists working in comics right now. Even if you don’t know every little detail about the Herculoids or if Space Ghost Coast to Coast is your own exposure to the phantom of the space-ways, Future Quest #2 still offers a lot to love for both fans and newbies.