I’ve never liked the term “hiatus,” mostly because it sounds like “Hi, anus!” You can call me traditional if you like, but as opposed to some, I do not so cavalierly entertain the warm embrace of buttholes. So, as much as I’ve enjoyed the beginning of Valiant’s event book Armor Wars, the fact that it is (indefinitely?) eclipsing regular operations on Quantum and Woody so as to cause a hiatus equals, to me, the greeting of a whole lot of loose buttholes. Admittedly, and quite luckily, the interim will see the rise of The Delinquents, which merges our dynamic douches with a similar odd couple in Archer & Armstrong. Don’t get me wrong, that does indeed sound spectacular, but just what will happen to one of my favorite superhero books on the regular thereafter pains me with great consternation.
Still, here we are at issue #12 - the last new Quantum and Woody book for a while (the original team / titular characters of which will return for a quick mini-series soon) - so is it an ending worthy of the title on which I have almost unerringly levied praise? Well, in the words of one of this series’ most beloved characters, “Meh.”
This issue sees a captured Quantum and Woody tempted by a monstrous nuclear cybernetic mutant version of Thomas Edison with plans and promises not just to cure them of their superpowered predicament, but also to return to them their father, the shattered psyche of whom has now officially been revealed as living within the boys’ genetically-engineered super goat pet (see this issue and Goat #0 for more). Of course, negotiations (such as they were) quickly break down and both fighting and escape commence to the effect that you can probably imagine.
As always, this issue has Asmus’ hilarious voice peppered throughout, but something seemed amiss in the bulk of his dialogue this time, like he was forced to be more “sit-com” than his usually refreshing humor. I can’t really place my finger on it otherwise, but I’m going to chalk up my disappointment to a rush toward hiatus; an editorial mandate, perhaps, to hit a stopping point so they can do this event.
In no place was this rush more apparent than in the sudden and overwhelmingly convenient wrap-up of the relationship between Sixty-Nine (who has finally taken another name) and Woody. One page? That’s all we get? That’s a shame for such an interesting relationship, especially after all the time Asmus spent building it up.
Thankfully, the book does end with the formula and tone that makes the entire series work so damn well, but it was also too little, too late. Despite the brief spells of action, final reveals, kooky characters and liberal gobs of “weird science,” this was my least favorite Quantum and Woody story in a while, and for me, not the best way to leave before a high-anus.
Wilfredo Torres and Erica Henderson are this time joined by Joseph Cooper on art, and while it certainly isn’t the visual low the series hit in its second arc, as well as admitting that it was trying to be playful with form, this issue was also a bit of a visual mess. The mid-issue backstory, this time presented as a Richie Rich-style strip by Cooper, does a decent job of getting us caught up with “Tommy” Edison in his formative years with other founding members of his Edison’s Radical Acquisitions (ERA) team, but as Quantum himself points out immediately after the break, it’s a bit jarring.
As I’ve said in the past, I have enjoyed all of the different visual experiments this book has made with the different artists for its arcs, but this issue felt like there were way too many cooks in the kitchen, and that broke the narrative cohesion down too much for me. Also, I’m just not a fan of the style, quite frankly, and would rather Kano or Fowler to handle this book solo. But maybe that’s just me.
I don’t think that under Asmus’ direction, Quantum and Woody is capable of being a “bad” comic book, but here it has shown that it can flirt with varying levels of goodness. Like I assume of most of Woody’s sexual partners, I was hoping for a stronger, perhaps more robust finish, but I’m still already excited for this book to pick up again. In the meantime, Valiant does a great job of teasing The Delinquents #1 after the end of the issue, and at very least that book looks fucking awesome!
Writer: James Asmus Artist: Wilfred Torres, Erica Henderson, Joseph Cooper Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: 3.99 Release Date: 7/2/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital