Quantum and Woody are back, and they’re updated for the millennial crowd.
It’s been a while, but Quantum and Woody are back from Valiant this week and not a moment too soon. This new series written by Daniel Kibblesmith (who we interviewed) with art by Kano aims to bridge the gap between the characters’ last adventure and reveal key details about their past. Oh, and they hate each other.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Sometimes…you embrace your destiny. And sometimes…you and your trouble-making adopted brother find yourselves trapped in a scientific lab explosion that grants you $@&%ing awesome super-powers. As a result of their accident, Eric and Woody Henderson – aka Quantum and Woody – must “klang” their wristbands together every 24 hours or both dissipate into nothingness. Which makes superhero-ing pretty awkward when you’re not on speaking terms at the moment. See, Eric has been keeping a pretty big secret: He knows who Woody’s birth father really is…and where he’s been hiding all these years. nWith great power comes great sibling rivalry! This winter, you’ll believe two men and one goat can split a one-bedroom apartment and still be a credible threat to evil and injustice everywhere when QUANTUM AND WOODY make headlines and take names!
Why does this matter?
If you grew up in the 90s you’ll know this was the funniest comic of all time. Since then there have been plenty of great comedic comic books, but the fact remains this duo has a lot of nostalgic vibes about them. The dynamic between the characters is solid, plus they own a goat together. What’s not to love about that?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Not the best vehicle to chase baddies with, eh?
I suspect a lot of folks will be talking about the art after reading this issue because Kano draws some lights-out stuff here. The layouts are impressive and he never seems to do anything more than once. One page may have eight panels, while another has two with seven more littering the page to add a bit of color and chaos to the page. This allows the frenzied action sequence (where Quantum and Woody are chasing a baddy in an ice cream truck) to feel even more chaotic. There’s also an interesting use of panels in one page where the panels are at the center of the page with white space to the left and right and an occasional panel sprouting off the center. There’s a lot of innovation going on with the visuals and it’s impressive to see.
The story isn’t bad either. If you’re unfamiliar with these characters fear not, as it opens with a good flashback to when these two heroes were kids. Like all siblings they were best buds at one point, and it’s all gone to shit in their later years. Jealousy, frustration, and just growing up have all taken a part. Woody continues to be the crazy one and Kibblesmith weaves in his obsession with social media well. How can you maintain a secret identity when you’re hashtagging yourself and making it pretty clear who you are? Kibblesmith has done a good job bringing this story into the modern era of attention grabbing and social media and even has a character call Woody a millennial (when I’m pretty sure he’d be in his 40’s by now, but this is a sort of reboot).
The story as a whole serves the purpose of showing how these characters may be at odds with each other right now, but they really do need each other. In an excellent montage for instance, we see the fast and hard lifestyle of Woody juxtaposed with Quantum’s rather boring life as a police officer. You get the sense these characters balance each other out and need each other for a variety of reasons.
Interesting panel work.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Save for a few high energy bits from Woody I didn’t find this comic very funny. The wacky nature of the duo is evident with the goat being present, but there aren’t many jokes to be had. There are a few chuckle-worthy moments (like a supervillain bush who is a hedge-man…get it?) but nothing to laugh out loud at.
There’s also quite a lot of dialogue to the point where the pace is slightly hindered by it. The chaotic layouts and high energy of the lines seems to be combating the exposition dumps that come later in the issue.
Is It Good?
I really dug this first issue because the art is truly unique and the characters have a lot of heart. If you enjoy superhero books you’re going to get a kick out of this duo.