‘The Jetsons’ get the DC Comics treatment in a serious science fiction drama.
I was a bit too young for The Jetsons, which aired its last season in 1987. I did catch reruns and remember it, but only enough to know it’s about a family in the future with a strong sense of silly humor as its focus. Enter DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera’s new comic series written by Harley Quinn writer Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Pier Brito, which ditches the humor for a serious science fiction drama.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Meet George Jetson, a family man living an analog life in a digital world. His wife, Jane, is a brilliant NASA scientist working off-world at a conference, his daughter Judy is a social butterfly trying to discover her calling, and his boy Elroy is either doing homework or using robotic technology to break the rules. Strangest of all, George’s mother has downloaded herself into Rosie the robot! Join this postmodern family as doom rockets toward them from the outer reaches of the galaxy on a crash course of destruction!
Why does this matter?
DC Comics’ fantastic The Flintstones is proof enough they can take an old cartoon and make magic. That series mixed real world social issues with the characters in a way that was incredibly memorable. This series appears to be doing something similar as it tackles topics like global warming, humanity working together to save the Earth, and the strangeness of uploading yourself into a machine. It’s drama mixed with plenty of thought provoking ideas.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It looks similar to the cartoon, but it’s very different.
This issue introduces the family and setting very well complete with the same roll call that the show’s opening intro is famed for. We meet George Jetson, his son Elroy, his daughter Judy, and his wife Jane. They all live different sort of lives than they did in the show although George seems to come away the most preserved from it as he lives under the thumb of his overbearing boss Mr. Spacely. He’s also still an engineer, but his role is more serious. His son has a Franklin Richards vibe from Fantastic Four going on as he’s got an adventurer spirit, while his wife has a position of great power. The daughter seems to be living a typical teenager lifestyle, but far less ditzy than her cartoon counterpart. The biggest change is the housemaid Rosie who is George’s mother turned robot. The varying roles of these characters makes for an interesting drama to begin with that Palmiotti does well to hang the bigger conflict.
The Jetsons always seemed to have a strange vibe to it as far as how we got to this future. This comic aims to explain all of that and it leans heavily on humanity destroying Earth. That gives the book a deeper meaning with a strong message. There’s also interesting dialogue in regards to George’s mother and what it’s like to be a robot. This element gives the book a heavier science fiction feel.
The art adds to that too and Pier Brito draws a pretty cool looking floating city. The characters each have a unique look to them and the vehicles look sharp too. The dialogue can be long at times and yet Brito mixes up the angles well to keep your interest.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Speaking of the dialogue it can be quite long dragging the pace down. The exposition is necessary, but it also seems to be a focus so much so Palmiotti might have too many ideas!
Beyond this, the book doesn’t have a comedic angle whatsoever, which came as a surprise given the humor of the show and the recent Flintstones comic book. So far its message about humanity destroying our world is rather heavy-handed so much so that you may not care whether these people live or die due to the oncoming threat. It’s still early so the characters themselves are only introduced and not fleshed out enough to care one way or another.
Is It Good?
This is a good start with some interesting ideas and a heavy science fiction focus on a nostalgic cartoon series. It may be more serious than anyone suspected, but it’s a valid and interesting take on the property in any case.