Review – Quantum and Woody #1 (Valiant)

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith
Artist: Kano
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Release Date: 20th December 2017

Last seen in 2012, the world (well, myself and others) has sorely missed the fun-loving misadventures of adopted brothers Eric and Woody Henderson.

Now, with Valiant High writer Daniel Kibblesmith and Valiant artist superstar Kano at the helm, we are not only treated with a hilarious debut issue with all the familiar Q&W tricks and gags, but also an issue packed full of heart and heartbreak for our sorely missed dysfunctional brothers.

Set 12 months after their lasting outing as superheroes Quantum & Woody, Eric is now working a 9-5 Government job, with Woody out on a drunken gambling bender every night. Their relationship as both crime-fighting partners and brothers is all but ended, outside of the need to meet up for the once a day “Klang!”

But, of course, trouble doesn’t stay out of the brothers’ path for long, and a mysterious gang of villains coming searching for Woody with an offer he can’t refuse…

It’s a classic set up for this new status quo, and without knowing exactly what happened in the two months prior, there’s still plenty of mystery regarding just what led the troublesome twosome to become this dysfunctional.

Coupled with flashbacks to their time as superheroes, young kids, and just after the Asmus run, it’s all building to a story of brotherly love forged and lost that will undoubtedly tug at the heartstrings.

Because of the new status quo set up, Kibblesmith gets to insert the brothers into a variety of circumstances and situations moving forward.  It allows for strong exploration of the characters and their humour, giving us insight into whole new parts of their personalities in the process. It’s fresh and exciting, and also means no scene is ever the same, with Kibblesmith keeping things moving and introducing new comedic and story elements to every different situation.

To go on further would be to ruin what Kibblesmith does here, but the way we jump from superhero shenanigans, domestic life, working hours and party lifestyles – as well as the way he changes his humourous style and delivery for every part – makes this more than just your average superhero comedy.

The brothers themselves are written perfectly, with smart characterisation that takes bits from the Priest run, the Asmus run and a little bit of Kibblesmith’s own interpretation, making them feel like the Quantum and Woody we all know and love – while also being perfectly accessible to newcomers.

And with Kibblesmith also nailing the blend of physical and verbal comedy, it’s Kano’s art that really brings it all home.   Vibrant and alive, with bright colours that really pop off the page, Quantum and Woody #1 is a feast for the eyes.

Expressive character work, coupled with interesting layouts and impressive use of colours ensure that the visual comedy is always as varied and unique as the rotating-door style of Kibblesmith’s brand of humour.

Whether it be grid-style layouts, highlighting facial work and blues and reds to separate the brothers, or time-lapsed parallel panels to show the difference in Eric and Woody’s lives, there’s never a dull page here.

My only complaint would be some of the direction used in the action scenes can be a little disorienting and loses a bit of it flow due to a lack of a direct progression, but it may very well be just another style I’ll fall in with as I follow whatever is to come next in this run.

Point is, don’t call it a Threeboot because Kibblesmith and Kano have crafted a hilarious and striking first issue, packed with perfect characterisation and a firm understanding of just what makes Quantum and Woody work.  It feels like the brothers never left at all, and that they’re simply back with a new shiny coat of paint.

Rating: 4.5/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

The writer of this piece was: Connor Stephens
Connor Tweets from @diddlesMVP

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