So many superhero books get it wrong. Now, unlike some of my fellow fanboy cohorts, I haven’t written off the superhero genre in comics. As schlocky as it can be and as tired as its tropes have become, I’m still a fan of the capes. And I always will be. But for some reason, so many of them still get something wrong, whether it’s weak character pathos, the balance between action and exposition, the subtle nuance at play on that thin line between humor and tragedy, the pacing or even the artistic tone. That’s why it’s so great when you find a title that can, with carefree ease and reckless abandon, tick every one of those boxes.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, Quantum and Woody #9 is that book, and as such, it and the series that precedes, it get my highest and most unwavering recommendation.
One of the things I’ve loved about Quantum and Woody, really since its (modern) inception, and something that may appeal to those folks who are tired of this genre, is that the superpowers are secondary, reserved usually for a handful of pages and certainly far from the bulk of any one given issue.
Oh sure, we get a few golden zaps and blue-hued force fields, but the best ability on display here is that of writer James Asmus, who is almost effortlessly able to create a fully-fleshed world, with characters who are each in their own way endearing, real and blessed with organic wit and charm. None of this feels are forced or trite. Nothing is either too goofy nor otherwise maudlin. It all just works, from the funniest gag to its most touching moments.
In fact, issue nine exemplifies exactly what makes this series so goddamn fantastic. It mostly follows the titular nuclear-powered foster brothers as Eric (Quantum) spends a day with Woody to see if he is responsible enough to be entitled to the boon of their late father’s estate. This includes, but is not limited to, getting a library card (and all the adult entertainment that comes with such a license), giving blood (and other bodily fluids), and getting (read: attempting and failing to get) a job.
As you will note, it doesn’t go to plan, with all the hilarity and hijinks that have become series staples. On either side of this story, and threaded in-between, you get a fight with giant mech suits, crashing buildings, pancake-making goats and grown-ass men in yellow banana hammocks.
But you know what else you get? Excellent and touching character development with one of the series’ regular great looks back into the lives of our cast (this time focusing on the troubled adolescence of Woody), the return of a pre-established threat (and one that will doubtless affect the future) and of course, an honest-to-god captivating launch of a new arc, which pits our stars against each other in an exciting way, at least for this Washington D.C.-born reader. And that’s one issue.
Similarly, the art for this series is right back where it needs to be, in the hands of someone more than capable to play within its fun-loving ethos, but with educated visual timing. Kano is perfect for Quantum and Woody, in his amazing (and often hilarious) expressiveness, the energy of his action and the electricity in his layouts.
The way Kano clearly has a blast with the page furniture in this book makes it clear that he is so ideally-fit for this series. From that first bonkers scene that sees Clone 69 filming Woody as he rushes into battle on her smart phone (because, “Pics or it didn’t happen”), to the way he incorporates sound effects into the gutters, to the big split-screen finale ... this art makes Q&W’s hyper hype purr, aided all the more by his electric-pop neon, candy-coated color scheme.
Honestly, you guys, I don’t know if I should continue writing reviews for Quantum and Woody. I feel like every time I write one, it comes across like I’m a huge mark for the series ... which I totally am, let’s be clear. But I don’t know what more I can say. Quantum and Woody is quite simply The Shit, and is the most fun, and honestly, the most skill you will see in anything superhero-related. Yes, most get it wrong. But this? This is how you do superhero comic books right.
Writer: James Asmus Artist: Kano Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/2/14 Format: Ongoing – Print/Digital