Review – Future Quest Presents: Space Ghost #1 (DC Comics)
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Release Date: 16th August 2017
Despite the curiously disgusted looks on the faces of the characters on the cover of this book, there’s been something oddly marvelous about DC’s sequential art revival of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons. From the actually kinda fun Scooby-Doo rebootquel, to the curiously thoughtful Flinstones series, the whole thing has been something of an unanticipated treat. Heck, this book’s own predecessor was actually a whole bunch of silly, just-nostalgic-enough fun, and so this book jaunts in with the weight of expectation heavy atop its broad, white-wreathed shoulders.
Picking up more or less where Future Quest left off, we’re treated to a fun little actual sequence where Mr Ghost Esquire stopping a space heist being carried out by suitably grotesque aliens. Elsewhere, his newfound proteges are learning about the history of the galaxy that they’ll be tasked with defending, whilst lamenting their inability to brag to their classmates that this is the case.
Parker’s writing is as good as it ever was – equal parts slightly silly nostalgic recall and surprisingly deep science-fantasy. But Olivetti’s gorgeous artwork – having done this before in the somewhat grittier 2005 mini-series – is the absolute star of the show here. Equal parts Alexes Ross and Toth, he eschews traditional line work in favour of a painted style, whilst at the same time stylising it just enough that the characters are still immediately recognisable without becoming uncanny. Particularly lovely is Space Ghost’s costume – his cowl drawn as if made from vantablack, and the rest seemingly woven from ectoplasm. It really is excellent.
Exactly where the series as a story is headed is anyone’s guess – if this were an actual Saturday morning cartoon, the shrieking voiceover at the end would be saying something akin to ‘WHAT COMPLICATIONS WILL ARISE FOR SPACE GHOST?! TUNE IN NEXT WEEEEEEEEEEK!’. Or something. The story bounces about a fair bit, and whilst indeed the final panel does give a tiny taste of what’s to come, it doesn’t have the immediate ‘I’m hooked’ feel of the first issue of Future Quest.
Don’t get me wrong – this remains almost exactly as much fun as Future Quest was. It’s just that a touch of the sheen has been stripped away by virtue of it being a sequel series, DC having tapped here the same vein that the Marvel Cinematic Universe did with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. And while this new series doesn’t have its Yondu Poppins (yet…), it’s still a blast to read, and worth a flutter for the art alone.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24
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