Review: Quantum & Woody #2

If I could say but one thing to Valiant Comics about Quantum and Woody #2, it would be this: “Good game, you guys. Good. Fucking. Game.” And it would be joined by a playful slap to the bottom, which would very quickly turn awkward as I continue to hold it there ... suggestively. Hey, if you don’t want that kind of attention, you shouldn’t be dressing yourself so provocatively! Rare indeed is the occasion in which I find a book so positively riddled with hilarity, but this thing is rife with the stuff, without becoming just another comedy book. Now, I could give it a 5 out of 5 simply for illustrating, in a new and fresh way, the old idiom that says you should, “never cross swords in a gunfight,” which it did here to great effect, and with no small sense of decorum. Indeed, this scene truly reexamines the full definitive spectrum of the word “touching.”

Saying that, it also deftly highlights the very real economic threat faced by the dwindling domestic karate trophy industry, which obviously is a pretty hot-button issue right now. Buy American, you guys; help break the boards of foreign reliance.

If the above makes absolutely zero sense to you, then you clearly haven’t read Quantum and Woody #2. And that’s a shame. I actually feel a little bad for you, since this is some of the most fun you can legally have with a superhero comic book inside the Continental U.S., without it devolving into outright farce. It’s tons of good, clean fun with an equal amount of heart.

With a pacing that comes as quick as its effervescent wit, this irreverently self-aware book about two “morally divergent” foster brothers who gain fantastic energy projection abilities after surviving an explosion in their murdered father’s clandestine laboratory could quite possibly be my favorite Valiant title to date, which (as I’ve said before) is saying a lot.

QW_002_COVER_SOOKAlong with being an uncontested giggle-fest that sees the two “heroes” (well, one and a half) embracing the Valiant universe’s new super-person community for cover, Quantum and Woody also demonstrates, perhaps surprisingly, some pretty profound character work, not only by expanding the depth of relationship between the heterogenous brotherly tandem, but also each one’s connection to his father.

The entirety of the cartoonish artistic style of this book is well-matched with its light yet grounded story, and as great as Fowler proves to be here in showing magnitude during the power discovery scenes of both Quantum and Woody, it’s the quietest moment in this book - a simple embrace - which carries the most powerful punch, proving that the artist is more than capable of fielding the varying humors within this story.

In the same way, the timing of this issue is spot-on, and I’m not only referencing its comedic timing. The interplay between scenes in the past(s) and present is well-structured so as to allow the story to unfold referentially without breaking its flow; that’s not easy to do, but it makes it look like it is in this issue.

I only really know Asmus from The End Times Of Bram & Ben, which I found pretty entertaining, all-in. His work here proves that his comedic talent is a great compendium for some truly great writing chops, with organic dialogue and plotting that seamlessly sets up a viable “Big Bad” for the series via some very entertaining “Little Bads” in the foil team of Johnnies 1 & 2.

It’s going to be great to see how the corners of this story converge; it should be interesting, not to mention action-packed given how this one ends. Which reminds me, if anyone out there has moderate to severe Arachno-Coulrophobia (fear’s most perfect storm), he or she may want to pop on some Huggies before reaching the end of this book.

I was never a fan previously of Quantum and Woody (mostly because I wasn’t aware of it at the time), and while it does inspire me to go back and check out some back issues of the original, this will inevitably become MY Quantum and Woody. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Very okay.

Score: 5/5

Writer: James Asmus

Artist: Tom Fowler

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 8/7/13