Review – Quantum and Woody #1 (Valiant)

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artwork: Ryan Browne
Colours: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 29th January 2020

This week sees the return of everyone’s favourite Valiant twosome, Quantum and Woody, in a new series which sees the pair trying to salvage their tarnished reputation and become the beloved, world-renowned heroes they once were (or at least once thought they were).

The issue hits the ground running as, out of nowhere, Woody starts inexplicably glowing (yes, glowing) and babbling what is initially thought to be a stream of nonsense, but could actually end up being a startlingly accurate premonition. Where are his words coming from? What do they mean? And who are the mask-wearing super-powered nuclear family hell-bent on destroying the Senate?

Mercifully, writer Christopher Hastings uses Woody’s ‘possession’ to provide a rapid (re)introduction to the characters before we break into a full sprint. We get glimpses of the due’s early years and some of their previous triumphs and failures, which should be more than enough to bring even the newest reader up to speed.

That said, anyone with even a passing familiarity with the characters will know exactly what sort of tone to expect from this new series. This is goofy gags, silliness and over-the-top action from start to finish, and while it’s an undeniably fun read, it only really managed to dig its hooks into me in any meaningful way during a couple of key moments along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, Quantum and Woody fans will find a ton to like here, with the loveable twosome up to their usual shenanigans and the whole wildcard/straight man dynamic firing on all cylinders. For me though, it’s just a little too much at times. Too crazy, too many gags, too much energy. I know, I know – this is a Quantum and Woody comic, so what could I realistically be expecting? But the genuinely interesting character moments, like Quantum’s suspicions of Woody’s true motivations, are all swept aside in a hail of energy blasts and explosions, which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to me.

On the positive side of things, Ryan Browne’s artwork is always well worth a look, and he does a typically dynamic job here keeping the bonkers action (mostly) under control. With heads being removed, explosions rocking the Capitol Building and all manner of glowing super-powers competing for page space, this issue had the potential to turn into an over-stuffed mess, so it’s a testament to both Browne and the colours of Ruth Redmond that everything flows quite as well as it does. Sure, there are a few tough-to-follow moments along the way, but these seem almost by design than anything else, and the whole thing crackles with excess and energy from start to finish.

The final pages set up a future conflict that I’m fully on board with, and in spite of the at times overly bombastic approach, I’m still fully planning on picking up issue #2 to see how this story pans out. Well worth a look if you’re a fan of the characters, or if over-the-top superhero silliness is your bag.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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