Rousing, rebellious, and rebooted for the digital age, cult favorites Quantum and Woody expand the Valiant Universe in a fun and unexpected new direction.
The self-proclaimed “World’s Worst Superhero Team” ushers in this year’s incarnation of the Summer of Valiant, adding a much needed dose of levity to the publisher’s characteristically dark and gritty stable of titles. While Archer and Armstrong has been retooled for a more cynical, modern audience and provides its fair share of chuckles, James Asmus and Tom Fowler’s reboot of Quantum and Woody embraces its action-comedy, buddy movie progenitors, bringing the best of that film genre to the comic page.
Asmus evidently knows a good thing when he sees it, so aside from tying the titular protagonists together more intimately, not much has changed: Polar opposites Quantum and Woody gain strange new superpowers during a lab accident; physically bonding them together effectively forever. Asmus’ decision to make his incarnation of Quantum and Woody adopted brothers shouldn’t be overlooked, though. The added emotional baggage that comes with estranged family members – especially siblings – drives much of the action of this first issue and sets the stage for some intriguing character development in the future.
The new artwork couldn’t be further away from M.D. Bright’s original clean, crisp rendition of his creations but Tom Fowler brings a welcome looseness to the story, his kinetic style reaching a level of expressiveness in both form and face light-years ahead of the source material. As a half-assed traditionalist, a part of me will always yearn for Bright’s effortlessly slick pencils but I quickly warmed to Fowler’s robust visual storytelling. His Woody in particular will resonate easily with a modern audience and it was nice to see a nod to the character’s mulleted origins via one of the issue’s flashbacks.
Down-to-earth superheroics at their best (or worst as the case may be), Quantum and Woody represents a fun, refreshing yet blatant attempt to remind us not to take our funny books too seriously. It will be interesting to see how the World’s Worst Superhero Team interacts with the rest of the Valiant pantheon. And with that in mind there’s only thing left to say:
Long Live the Goat!
James Asmus (W), Tom Fowler (A), Inker (I), Jordie Bellaire (C) • Valiant Entertainment, $3.99, July 10, 2013.