By Dustin Cabeal
Quantum and Woody is just weird. It’s a comedy full of drama that fits perfectly with the rest of the Valiant Universe, but then also feels horribly out of place at the same time. It’s the curse of the comedic superhero book. Recently there’s been a lot more attempts at humor in superhero comics, and most of them have frankly sucked ass. The whole ass. This isn’t a meme, no one’s getting points for eating ass, it just sucks. But, it makes you appreciate comics like Quantum and Woody all the more. Comics that manage to find that balance of humor, drama, and action without feeling like a hollow shell of its former self. That’s all my review should be, but that’s now how I roll, so I’ll just keep going and hope that my sentiments are destroyed by my own words. Oh wait, I said suck and eat ass a lot already, so I’m sure it’s all uphill from here.
I admittedly didn’t read a lot of the last few Quantum and Woody series from the new Valiant, nor did I read any of the old stuff, so I have no idea if they’ve always needed to “Klang” to live another day. That seems to be the big crux of this storyline though as we see them struggling to get along but always forced to see each other. It’s this conundrum that makes the opening funny and thought-provoking. Woody finds out that Eric knew his birth father was alive, something that was revealed at the end of the first issue. They fight and destroy part of the house and Woody storms off basically saying that they’re done with each other. Only to realize he has to see Eric the next day at some point as well. This is a funny moment, but it made me think and realize that if I were that mad at someone, how difficult would it be to see them again the next day… and that if I didn’t, we both die. It's fascinating to me, and I think Daniel Kibblesmith is also interested in it based on how much of the story is centered around it.
The rest of the issue, of course, has some flashbacks which make sense and fit the characters but is also a key factor in all of Valiant’s stories. We learn what Eric’s job is, while also finding out what’s planned for Woody now that his life is owed to an evil organization. While it’s all mostly funny, there is also a ton of deeper personal issues that are dragged out from both characters.
Daniel Kibblesmith I believe writes for TV, I don’t actually know or care to look it up. You wouldn’t know it by how well he writes a comic book. The pacing of the story is perfect. The flashbacks add to the present and feel like a natural change in the story rather than just a cheap break in the plot. I’m going to credit both Kibblesmith and Kano for the amazing amount of panel choices. There is a wide variety of layouts used, but it all flows naturally. It doesn’t feel like a huge break in the story when we see a bunch of reaction shots from Woody, but rather a fitting progression of the art and story. The creators are working wonderfully together to produce one of the finest funny books on the market. It is worth mentioning that so far the series has relied on mentioning the previous exploits of Quantum and Woody a lot. While that should make it seem like it’s all tying in together, it instead has started to build the feeling of exclusion. As if something important was missed. Hopefully, that gets toned down in coming issues because it’s not making me want to go back and read the previous series.
I know there are a lot of comic books out there trying to get your attention. Dying for your attention. DO you buy Quantum and Woody over one of your favorites this week? I don’t know. Maybe you’ll have to just support this one in trade, which is my point. Support it, give it a shot. Comics like this are few and far between. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a damn good comic and some of that comes from the fact that the publisher isn’t so big that one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. Valiant, to me at least, seems to care and nurture their characters. The last thing I’ll say is that there’s one line of dialogue that I could tell you to make you read this book, but I won’t because it would also ruin the line. It’s a catch twenty-two for sure, so I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself and if you want to give your guess in the comments, go for it. It’s cool if you spoil it for others, just not me.
Quantum and Woody! #2