The Birds and the Gleeps
Future Quest #3
"Birdman in... The Deadly Distance!"
"The Herculoids in... Mine-Crash!"
Writer - Jeff Parker
Art - Steve Rude, Aaron Lopresti,
Inks/Colors - Steve Buccellato, Karl Kesel, Hi-Fi
Never was a big Hanna-Barbera guy growing up... in fact, the only Birdman I know practices law and has a terribly annoying voice.
From what I can tell, and I may be completely off-base, this is the one "new" HB book that strays the least from the source material... at least insofar as the characters, their origins, and their motivations. It's kind of telling that, with all that said, this is the one that seems to be enjoying the most universal praise of the bunch! Is that nostalgia talking... or is this just good comics?
Let's hit it and git it...
This issue features two-stories and outside of a brief via video-watch cameo, nary a Quest to be found.
The first tale belongs to Birdman as he answers a call to arms from Falcon 7... the collective known as F.E.A.R. is at it again. They've enlisted the aid of a scientist by the name of Zin, and in so doing, have become far more dangerous. He's to rendezvous with an agent called Deva Sumadi, and see if they can't get to the bottom of F.E.A.R.'s plot.
The pair find the baddies attempting to open a sort of vortex... when they manage to pry the bugger open, a strange yellow (xenomass) blob emerges from it. This appears to have been their goal, as they seem to want a sample of its tissue... unfortunately for them, it also wants a "sample" of theirs!
Birdman manages to effectively push-back the threat... though, it doesn't go quietly. The cadre of F.E.A.R. agents do go quietly... preferring arrest to clogging the colon of an amorphous beastie. The story ends with the sole appearance of a Quest family member, wherein Birdman and Deva are drafted into the ongoing story.
The backup tale features the Herculoids. Gotta be honest, I never cared for (or had any interest in) the Herculoids... seemed like the dollar-store He-Man to me, though I'm likely showing the decade I grew up there.
This is primarily an origin tale. Having little (okay, no) experience with the characters, I cannot say for certain that this is their "real" origin... and it doesn't so much matter. It's an interesting take on a family from the far-flung future becoming displaced on a backwater planet due to robotic war and strife.
Tarra and Zandor sharing the story with Dorno is the perfect device for this one. It doesn't feel forced, and the reader can easily slip themselves into Dorno's point of view... whether they're familiar with the story or not.
This isn't a completely "talkie" story, however. There is plenty of action here to behold as the 'loids fight off a robotic threat... all the while providing us with an exhibition of their powers and abilities. Each member gets a decent amount of screen time, and makes me look forward to seeing more!
With the story out of the way, it's time to discuss the art... man, the art. Ridiculously good. It feels like something of a love letter to these old toons... breathing a dynamic contemporary style into these, arguably anachronistic designs. All beautifully done without sacrificing any of the original look. I gotta admit, I was a little put off when I saw that Doc Shaner was not going to be part of this issue... those fears were quickly assuaged when I saw who would be taking on the chore however. The Dude and Lopresti truly bring it here!
I'd be remiss not to mention the color... the COLOR! This entire issue has a kind of wonderful warmth to it, if that makes any sense. It's as though I'm watching some aged VHS tapes of classic cartoons... but with a much higher level of resolution... maybe that's a bad analogy, but it's all I got. Great work here, regardless!
If I had to pick any nits... I guess I'd have to say, if you were waiting an entire month for the next part of the overall narrative... you may be disappointed by this issue. I happened to read all three in one shot, so I wasn't terribly affected by the shift/detour this issue brings with it.
Bits and Pieces:
Two very fun stories here that help flesh out the Future Quest universe. I don't know a whole lot about any of these characters (barring Adult Swim parodies which I feel have aged quite poorly) and still managed to enjoy this even without the luxury (or hindrance) of nostalgia. Parker brings the fun, and his artistic collaborators bring the joy. Worth checking out!