Future Quest Presents: Space Ghost #3
Written by: Jeff Parker
Pencils by: Ariel Oviletti
Colors by: Ariel Oviletti
What You Need to Know: Well first things first let me touch up on some of the stuff i wanted to recap in the last 2 issues but I just forgot to mention. I like that Parker is finally fleshing out Jan and Jayce who we’re pretty one dimensional in the cartoon and even in Future Quest for that matter. I like the fact that Metallus was actually able to unmask the Ghost because that is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone unmask Space Ghost and it just gives a feeling of powerlessness and helplessness to or main heroes. I really like the Space Ghost is suffering from survivor’s guilt because that makes the character seem very real to me and that is a very realistic response solidifying the character more as a soldier than a superhero which instantly makes for a more interesting character study and also allows us a layer of depth to this character never before seen in the original cartoon(I’ve only ever seen this layer of depth to the character in Kelly’s run). Just makes the god like character seem a bit more human and by making your character vulnerable you make them much more relatable. Making Ghost a hero who is the last of the heroes is an interesting direction and I had hoped it would get fleshed out more. The whole point of this arc has been to bring back the Space Force.
What You’ll Find Out: By this point subtlety is out the window and Metallus is in full force. That of course is both a good and a bad thing but I’ll get more to that in a bit. Blip is super helpful for once and Igoo is always a treat to see and isn’t as primitive as some may have previously thought. The writing of this issue really nails a point I brought up in one of my previous reviews. The writing in this issue is at it’s most Hanna Barbara esque. Everything was going great until the ending. For me that’s both a positive and a negative but I will get to that in the final thoughts section. The only thing you really learn in this issue is how Metallus and his men are confined to this cave and their physical armors. If they were to ever leave their armors their astral pure energy forms would eventually dissipate and if they leave their bodies for too long they lose their memories of who they are and basically become helpless. They explain that this is how Metallus became their leader because he discovered this first and has most of his memory intact.
What Just Happened: We got a conclusion to a rather impressive Space Ghost arc. Where to begin with this one. Well I got all the positives out of the way but there are 2 more things I can talk about. I loved the fact that Metallus henchmen are loyal to him till death because they know nothing else and they think that they need him for survival. I also like that Metallus is given a complete character overhaul Similar to Zorak in Kelly’s run but differs from him so much. Both villains contrast each other so well and Metallus works as a character having a proper motivation established and his reasoning makes sense. Parker makes him the Shredder/Black Manta of the Space Ghost universe and I’m completely ok with that. Now I have tipped my hat to both Parker and Oviletti for this run in the last two issues but this issue unfortunately does fumble a bit at the finish line. I’ve cited earlier that I really do respect that this series as well as Future Quest have that classic Hanna Barbera feel and while both series aren’t afraid to have a little fun Parker still writes it like he has a lot of respect for the characters and takes them seriously even if the audience doesn’t. This is the most Hanna Barbara of the Space Ghost run so far there is literally a panel of Metallus screaming “CURSES!” not to mention the fact of the villains leaving our heroes alone Blip rescuing them from what could have been disaster. Blip also rescuing the audience from Space Ghost vs Igoo because we didn’t want to see that and of course the final fight with Metallus. After all this mature characterization, development, and motivation set up for all of these characters you expect to be getting something of epic proportions but no instead you basically get a condensed version of the 60’s TV show. If that doesn’t bother you then that’s good and don’t get me wrong I’m not so much disappointed by the fact that this ends like a Hanna Barbara cartoon I’m just more so upset at the fact that Parker kept this in the vain of a original Hanna Barbara cartoon while also having some themes of loss, power, justice, etc. Then just ultimately rushed an ending out and I mentioned earlier that I had hoped the constraints of having to make this series only 4 issues wouldn’t effect nor impede the storyline or where it was going. Unfortunately it ultimately acts as its undoing. The idea of making Metallus and crew literal ghosts who can’t survive without their armor is an interesting idea that’s touched up on but never really gone into. Sure on of his follows dies but their is no real impact or resonance when this happens. Space Ghost’s regret for being the only surviving Force member is brought up but never really expanded on. His guilt could’ve made for an interesting arc alone but it’s never explored. Same goes for the loss of Jan and Jayce’s parents which is shown in a flashback making you think Parker would do something with it but ultimately nothing comes from it. The only positives is Metallus and Space Ghost through and through Metallus manages to come off as a investing character who completely feels organic and within his right mind never feeling out of character. So trapped in his hatred and rage he is unable to let go of the past and it is ultimately his downfall. This is good and I also like how Parker always manages to make Space Ghost the unquestionable albeit infallible hero. The fact that Space Ghost literally tries to help everyone even the bad guys just shows why he’s such a great character. Even after everything Metallus has done to him Space Ghost is still willing to forgive him and help him. I want to say the final fight between Space Ghost and Metallus but no it’s the only fight between the two and it ultimately falls flat and is incredibly anti climatic. They set this up last issue but evidently Parker clearly wasn’t given enough issues to make something lasting here. Ghost tells Metallus to stop because apparently they are completely comprised of the Zeo element but it is directly linked to their lifeforce which is an interesting concept of course then my question would be they bring up the fact that they are 100% completely made up of the Zeo element the same element used for Space Ghost’s power bands even going as far as Metallus calling himself a “living Powerband.” Leaving you thinking “does that mean he can beat Space Ghost?” “Does that mean he is the Ghost’s equal?” “It would certainly make him a match for the Ghost. Right?” “He can use the same weapon he uses but against him.” “It literally emits from his body and comes out of his hands he is completely radiation.” “Could this be the end of Space Ghost…” And nope because Space Ghost just knocks his head off any and all suspense and tension raised by that concept is immediately eliminated at the first sight of having to expand this arc to another issue. That right there is my biggest problem and is a cardinal sin and a federal offense. That is what I mean by everything was going great until the ending because while there is a lot of Saturday Morning Cartoon Hanna Barbara b.s. That goes on in this issue I could have forgiven it so long as the final conflict hit home using both character’s arguments and ideologies against one another and having an actual intense final battle where you could see it physically pained Ghost to do what he had to do stop Metallus no matter the cost. Metallus is a character unwilling to change his views and beliefs and from his point of view he is the good guy and he even has a bit of a point. He is right and the idea of making him a Geologist works so well because it makes him nothing more than a simple man who put his faith in the Force and feels as if they wronged him and everyone he cared about. The character has noble intentions and you emphasize and understand him being fully fleshed out in just one issue you understand his motive and might even agree with it. On the other side of that coin you have Space Ghost another character who is unwilling to compromise his beliefs in the Force and knows the full story whereas Metallus didn’t. Both right in different ways this really could’ve been interesting to see play out as well as incredibly intense and emotional. Unfortunately it isn’t Parker set up this idea just to drop it in the next issue. What a missed opportunity to do something truly great with a Space Ghost comic and really have it raise some deep questions on power and then just to ultimately drop the ball and cop out the following issue and have it end like the original show with a 6 minute run time. Such an interesting idea brought up by Jeff Parker just to be ultimately abandoned at the last minute due to the factor of this series having to be 4 issues long. This Metallus arc could’ve been dragged out for at least another 2 issues. The fact that his arc was only to issues long is kind of shameful and definitely wasted potential. I suppose they could always bring him back but I doubt it. Also on a completely unrelated side-note Jan and Jayce are also wasted towards the final act as they’re reduced to sitting on the sidelines watching the final battle from Phantom Cruiser.
Final Thoughts: What a waste of potential I still have the utmost respect for both of these fine talented men but towards the end of the issue it became very clear that they just wanted to wrap things up and rather than exploring some of the more interesting themes they had previously brought up they had to give us a half assed, half baked rushed out ending that just honestly feels incomplete and unsatisfying. The amount of effort that went into making the audience take the characters seriously and still be in line with that old school cartoon feel just to have it ditched last minute for the sake of not enough time to fully develop this incomplete story is downright disappointing and just honestly feels like a fake resolution. I hope issue 4 can clean up this mess and give us a proper conclusion. Being as big a Space Ghost fan as myself it’s just disappointing seeing the potential for something truly great being dropped because of the limited issue count. What we instead get isn’t a bad issue but not a great one either. It’s fun but ultimately that’s it it’s just fun it really does hurt knowing it had the potential to be so much more but due to stupid constraints it was squandered. This could have been so much more than just a silly comic based off a silly cartoon. It ultimately wasn’t bad but it won’t be as memorable or as lasting as I thought it could be.
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