Review – The Jetsons #1 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artwork: Pier Brito, Alex Sinclair (colours)
Release Date: 1st November 2017

I’m not sure anyone was particularly crying out for a Jetsons reboot, but here we are anyway.  DC have had something of a varied track record with their cartoon reboots, and while some of their offerings have been genuinely enjoyable (the Flintstones, for instance), others have fallen foul of trying to do too much to try and keep things fresh, ending up as a muddled and ultimately pointless mess in the process (see: Wacky Races).

With the Jetsons, writer Jimmy Palmiotti introduces some interesting ideas, exploring some of the backstory about just how society ended up living in flying houses – and no, it wasn’t a willing choice on humanity’s behalf.  The characters are all familiar enough, and with tense underwater exploration and an impending planet-destroying event during the course of this first issue, the pieces are definitely in place for what should be an enjoyable slice of sci-fi.

Unfortunately, the pacing of the issue is more than a little off, with an interesting first half that tapers off into a dialogue-heavy second, dragging things down to a crawl with an sprawling, existential conversation between George and the drastically altered Rosie before providing us with an eyebrow-raising, if a slightly underwhelming, cliff-hanger.  It’s all a little muddled, almost as though Palmiotti had too many ideas in his head and decided to just to unload them all in rapid succession without any real sense of purpose.  It’s doubly disappointing given his obvious skill as a writer, and while there’s a good chance things may straighten themselves out as the series progresses, for the time being, it all feels like a bit of a mess, sadly.

The artwork is also serviceable at best, with some awkward facial expressions and an oddly sterile look to the majority of the human characters.  The backdrops fare a little better, particularly the underwater scenes, with a real sense of scale and a futuristic sheen that definitely catches the eye.  Colourist Alex Sinclair does his best with what he’s given, injecting some energy into the proceedings with his bright palette, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this simply isn’t a great looking book, something it really needed to be in order to overcome its lacklustre plot.

It’s also somewhat puzzling that, unlike its cartoon inspiration, there are no laughs or gags to be had here.  Like, at all. Everything is delivered in an uncomfortably earnest voice, which feels like a bit of a squandered opportunity, particularly given the well-established humorous writing chops of Palmiotti, showcased to perfection during his extended run with Harley Quinn.

Ultimately then, while there are definitely some interesting ideas at play here, the overall delivery is utterly flat, and the overwhelming question of “why?” hangs over the series like a dark cloud.  Simply put, The Jetsons could pretty much be any other bland science fiction comic released over the last decade or so, and without any real unique selling point – aside from the nostalgic appeal of its cartoon namesake – it’s really hard for me to recommend this one.

Rating: 2/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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