THE JETSONS #3 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Pier Brito and Amanda Conner and follows an alternate version of the popular cartoon family across treacherous waters. No literal waters appear in this issue, but the danger is still real as George leads an expedition to investigate a disturbance below the floating suburban community we know. The disturbance proves to be of the monstrous kind, reminding us of the vintage science fiction tales that inspired America’s first space family.
What’s great about this issue is it truly draws on the sensibilities of today to tell its tale. With a lot of modern updates, creators tend to throw in some violence and shapely female bodies instead of truly playing with the formula. That’s especially disastrous when you’re talking about science fiction, a genre and philosophy that is always anti-nostalgic. The Jetsons we all know and love wouldn’t cut it in today’s world same as we never got those flying cars 17 years ago.
The issue opens with Lake Cogswell, a new character for this book, presenting her father with the argument for print over digital publishing, and that’s amazing. The Jetsons was envisioned as the world we want, but since just about the only thing about this tech that doesn’t exist is the floating part, it’s hard for a story treating it like a godsend to be taken seriously.
Technically, this isn’t the first time we’ve looked at The Jetsons with a 21st century eye, and Palmiotti takes that into account. A popular Internet fan theory posits that the reason The Jetsons live in the sky is because the surface is desolate, and this series depicts a Universe where that’s actually the case. The concepts in this issue make one recall the original cartoon to an extent, but most draw on darker depictions of the future seen in more mature content of that era. George’s team facing off with the creature below brings to mind Journey to the Center of the Earth and other films kids were too young to know to be scared of. Conversely, we still get the Jetsons staple of Rosie pulling George out of bed, completely untouched by the modern magic wand.
While Palmiotti’s story relies mostly on realism, Brito and Conner’s visuals stay more in a world true to the source. With stylized lines and anatomy that you might see in a modern action toon like Ben 10, Palmer’s cover walks the line. Nito is a bit of a chameleon, sticking mostly to sharp lines and exciting action shots, but also breaking to inject that classic Jetsons style to moments like the Rosie and George thing.
THE JETSONS #3 continues to show the Hanna-Barbera comics to be more than a cheap cash grab from DC. The storytelling on all parts is great, even with a cliffhanger that one can’t help but find a bit corny. If you haven’t been following this series, you can get all issues to date for 3 bucks each, and see for yourself why this book is more than the same story with more chiseled jawlines.
(W) Jimmy Palmiotti (A) Pier Brito (CA) Amanda Conner