Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writers: Tim Siedell, James Asmus
Artists: Pere Pérez, Brian Level, Allen Passalaqua, Wil Quintana, José Villarrubia
Released: 3rd December, 2014
Okay, I’ll come out and admit it – Quantum and Woody hasn’t precisely been on my reading list of late. It’s not a question of doubting the quality – Valiant continue to put out perpetually interesting, fun-to-read material in the super-hero pantheon, and this is no exception – it’s just that there’s so bloody much to read these days, spoiled as we are here in comicdom, that it’s never appeared on my weekly pull list. But here we have a so-called ‘Valiant-Sized’ issue – from what I can see, the first of its kind – and I’ll be damned if something so boldly named is going to pass me by.
Also… Ceej made me read it.
For those not in the know, our heroes are foster brothers imbued with the power to control reality-altering energy thanks to a lab accident, but as a side effect, they’re bound to each other by metal wrist-bands which they must physically KLANG together to prevent themselves from dissolving into disparate atoms. Herein, they are tasked by the shady, seemingly interdimensional organisation E.R.A (that’s Edison’s Radical Acquisitions, and yes, that Edison) to prevent an incoming asteroid from destroying the world on Christmas.
There’s a lot here to like – the writing is slyly witty, both in terms of narration and dialogue, skewering everything from the aforementioned Shady Government Organisations™, to the sillier cross-dimensional fantasy that a lot of science fiction has a penchant for, to, of all things, North Korea. There’re a few eminently quotable lines, and the story pans out in a satisfying, self-contained manner, whilst at the same time setting up what promises to be an intriguing inter-dimensional, foster-fraternal conflict (get your noggin around that; or maybe take the script’s advice and don’t think about it too much…).
The art from Perez and Level is solid, if relatively low-key in its impact – even the robotic, be-tentacled, two-headed monstrosity that Edison has become feels a little understating, letting the script do the bulk of the entertainment work.
And to level a fairly critical eye on it, whilst the story is fundamentally sound, the panelling structure, and the density of the script, mean that the solid artwork frequently feels a little crowded-out by a barrage of speech bubbles, and this is compounded by Siedell and Asmus’ pressing need to ensure that those who aren’t familiar with the series get brought up to speed by asterisked addendums. It’s difficult to say that it’s truly bad, but there’s a hell of a lot of it, and you can’t help but feel that there was a more elegant edit that conveyed precisely the same information in a more condensed form.
At the end of it, I’m also still not precisely sure what ‘Valiant-Sized’ means – the structuring of the book indicates that it’s a pretty decent, regular-sized issue with two additional, tangetially-linked stories stuck on the end. I’m still not wholly sold on the proceedings, but if at any point you’ve said to yourself ‘I should probably be reading Quantum and Woody’, this is an absolutely perfect diving-on point. Containing just enough of a primer on the characters for no previous reading to be required, whilst at the same time driving forward with a fascinating, deliciously silly interdimensional disaster-prevention tale and a healthy dose of subversive Christmas cheer to boot, there’s more than enough here to justify a return visit come new series ‘Quantum and Woody Must Die!’ in January. Fun stuff, and certainly worth a look.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24