Future Quest Presents #6 – Phil Hester, Writer; Steve Rude, Artist; John Kalisz, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The second part of the first non-Jeff Parker arc, Future Quest Presents #6, turns the focus on Birdman – at least it’s supposed to, because he doesn’t even really appear in the first half of the issue. That instead goes to the villainous Mentok, Birdman’s psychic nemesis. The opening of the issue is nice and creepy, if a bit jarring, as we see Mentok, then a boy named Menton, displaying disturbing tendencies in school, which leads to him unleashing his psychic powers for the first time when confronted about a sick drawing he made by the school counselor. In the present day, he’s presiding over some sort of odd ceremony to increase his power and locate Birdman, but it fails due to his minions not being able to handle the psychic strain.
Birdman doesn’t actually appear until page 13 in the narrative, having just found out that he has a son with the mysterious Jen Holder. Although Falcon 7 wants to pull her into custody, Birdman goes rogue and escapes with Jen to find out the truth about his family. They wind up at a hospice, where Jen introduces Birdman to his son – who has been in a coma several years, ever since complications from a brain surgery. She hopes for the power of Ra to bring him out of the coma, and Birdman’s power does seem to work miracles for a minute – but then the boy slips right back into a coma, and Mentok attacks, creating a sadistic choice for Jen that turns her against Birdman. Hester does a good job with adding some major stakes for the character, but overall none of the players are quite as compelling as what I’m used to seeing in this book.
Corrina: That is a chilling opening sequence and one of the best horror openings that I’ve read in a while. It might be too intense for this series, which has mainly been all-ages, but perhaps not, because it taps into the alienation and frustration many kids feel in school.
I have zero familiarity with the source material for Birdman, (though he was created by the great Alex Toth) so everything in the last two issues has been new to me. I’d no idea he suffered from memory loss (or did he? is that a new invention?) but it works well because it examines what becoming Birdman might have done to those around him, particularly his wife. There is a possibility that Jen is lying to him, that she’s not his ex-wife, and this is not his son, but, still, she is a mother obviously trying to save her child, which makes her an excellent antagonist because I feel for the choice she must make between Birdman and her son.
And I feel for Mentok too, who can never have quiet, and how that’s driven him mad. Ray rated this a seven. I’d give it a higher rating than that.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.