Review: Quantum and Woody! #2 by James Asmus and Tom Fowler

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Quantum and Woody! #2

Written by James Asmus

Art by Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire

 

The short of it:

With a video camera recording him, Woody sits around in a robe with a glass of scotch recanting his and his brothers purpose, but then Eric comes in pissed that he’s screwing around instead of trying to look for evidence that could prove their innocence in their father’s murder. Woody has only one concern, however, he wants to get the record straight early. They’re going to be huge, they’re going to get optioned.

But that’s not where last issue left off, last issue we had them naked at the heart of an explosion surrounded by police, their bodies going in and out of being solid and being formless energy, and that’s right where the story goes! The cops freaking out, guns pointed, Eric trying to explain to them….and Woody trying to pass all of the blame onto his brother with crazy cries about a suicide bombing terrorist with Xena war cries. It’s awesome. Anyway, the cops aren’t sure what to do, because these guys are clearly idiots. I mean, they’re naked and fighting while cops have guns pointed at them, and it’s a big brotherly spat until Woody accidentally fires an energy blast. That’s new. It makes cop cars go “CAR-BOOOM”, and the negotiations are over with, and they open fire. Eric and Woody make a break for it, have an incredibly awkward moment, and then they try to figure out what happened….so Woody accidentally does it again. Eric tries to make him stop, and, well…

KLANG!

The energy effect across their bodies fades and they think it’s over, so Eric goes to surrender…and gets shot at. He makes a shield for the first few shots, then gets distracted and takes a bullet. Not enough to stop their Dukes of Hazzard exit, complete with Woody recklessly endangering everyone to make their getaway. Anyway, we go to a flashback of their dead disciplining a young Woody for having cigarettes, but upon realizing that the boy was more than familiar with being beaten by the adult men in his life, shocks him with a hug.

But hey, now we’re back where we started, with Woody’s robe now making a lot more sense. The two of them looking for clues, bickering over their very different relationships with their father, and eventually finding a message from him for Eric about the very project that killed him and caused their troubles. Unfortunately, Woody seems to have recorded over part two. Whoops. Anyway, doesn’t matter, Woody has a plan, and it involves Quantum Laboratories. The same Quantum Laboratories that just underwent a hostile takeover by two brothers who want Derek Henderson’s classified research. Enter…QUANTUM! Full costume, ready for anything…and then in comics Woody! Wearing a jacket and sunglasses!

Little flashback to Eric thinking the costume looked silly, and Woody talking him into it. Then Woody brings out an arsenal he stole from Eric’s work, which would explain why Woody will never see it again. Eric is just looking out for him. Anyway, back to the now, Woody lists out reasons why he ditched the costume and the sum of them was, and I quote, “Those costumes look gay”. Now, don’t freak out, he quickly justifies his usage of the word. Priceless. Anyway, fight breaks out, Quantum versus the regular sized twin, Woody with the crippled dwarf that he dangles out of a window. Really, our heroes think they have it all well in hand until the guy they went to go see in the first place spits a parasitic nightmare beat out of his chest.

 

What I liked:

  • Woody throwing Eric under the bus when the cops show up was priceless. Asmus went as ridiculous as he could with it and he found success. “This crazy black man is a Muslim fundamentalist who tried to blow up our Godless white science!” I was dieing of laughter at the entire exchange.

  • Asmus really does get the most he can out of the fact that his two main characters are running around bare-ass naked being shot at. I mean, he got in the awkward man-parts to man-parts moment and just sealed it. Like I said, this book is hilarious.

  • Woody versus Johnny 2 is absolutely priceless. With Quantum having a superhero style fight with Johnny 1 in the background, Woody pulls the crippled guy out of his chair and almost tosses him out of a window just for pissing him off. That’s the sort of thing you don’t see in your typical superhero comic.

  • The flashback with Derek and Woody and the cigarettes is a really powerful page. If this book is anything like the first volume, we will never be permitted to forget about how horrible Woody’s life was earlier on, but if James Asmus handles it like this every time? I like this.

  • I read a lot of comics and this is easily the funniest thing on the market. Superheroes and comedy are a natural fit, and in the oh so serious realm of mainstream comics, it’s REALLY nice to have a book that gives you action, characters, and a lot of laughs.

  • The humor pulls no punches. Like, there’s the “those costumes look gay” gag, and I saw that and did a spit take. You know how long it’s been since I saw someone pull a line like that with no attempts made at being PC? It was perfectly executed.

  • Tom Fowler’s work in this issue is a lot stronger than last issues, especially where the faces are concerned. Last issue had some Elephant Man visuals going on, this issue has none of that. Also, props to him for using the energy bubbles popping up around the characters as ways to censor them without conveniently placed scenery every time.

  • Quantum’s “Hey, remember the 90’s?” costume. What can I say? I grew up in a time of X-Force and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Big cape, tons of pouches, enough potential gear to make the Adam West Batman blush….That is totally Eric’s first day on the job. He’s ready for anything and everything except for what shows up on the last page.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • Nothing, I loved this book from start to finish. Even my art issues from last issue seem to have faded. I didn’t even realize that I was missing the Goat until after I was done with the issue!

 

Final thoughts:

The bickering is the top selling point of a book that is loaded to the brim with selling points. These guys are the World’s Worst Superhero Team for a reason, they may somehow get the job done (I would assume, they haven’t yet), but they’re going to fight each other first and foremost. Woody trying to sell Eric out was amazing, and I nearly died when the super serious Quantum completely disregarded everything he was doing to yell at Woody about not wearing a costume. The back and forth was a great element in the original, and it’s a great element here.

Woody’s gun hands are awesome. If I remember right, in the first volume everything they did was channeled through their gauntlets, and while that was cool…limiting. Him running around with finger guns actually blowing stuff up is awesome.

Also awesome are the bracelets that replace the gauntlets. The original look definitely had a 90’s style of cool to them that were heavily accented by the art of M.D. Bright, but with the current look of the book the sleek design is a major upgrade. I mean, those things were giant, there was no blending in while wearing short sleeves. The only time that they didn’t look out of place was when mixed in with Quantum’s already over the top 90’s “could totally be in X-Force” costume.

Woody’s stance on the costumes was perfect. I mean, one look at what Eric wound up with and you can only imagine with Woody and his “what’s a codename” approach to handling things would have wound up wearing.

So how long does Quantum’s cape last? He has it in none of the promotional art that I’ve seen, but it’s here in all of it’s glory for this issue. I’m imagining that it either almost gets him killed, or the GOAT eats it during his debut. Regardless, I’ll enjoy the crap out of that gaudy piece of superhero fashion for as long as it lasts. I mean, dude is wearing just a regular spandex superhero costume with a pouch on one leg in the cover art, but his debut is a giant cape and pouch city. EMBRACE THE 90’S! EMBRACE THE LIEFELD!

The Nightmare Brigade! So many clowns….I’d probably piss myself just like Quantum.

Tom Fowler really upped his game this issue, or maybe I was just trying to be too critical with the first one. Either way, this issue looks great.

Valiant, in their return to the industry, have delivered strongly with their mission statement. Sure, they’re using characters with devoted fan bases from an era that ended nearly twenty years ago, but they’re keeping things fresh by reinventing with today’s reader in mind. They’ve given some of the top under the radar talent in the industry to come in, reinvent an old property, and deliver the best damn stories that they can. And so far? Batting a thousand. Valiant is proof that if you take the reigns off of a writer and let them do what they do best, that the end result can easily be must read stories. It’s a place to put creators on the map, like Robert Venditti. Sure, he wrote The Surrogates (great book, pretty good Bruce Willis movie), but it wasn’t until X-O Manowar took off that he was writing Demon Knights and having to turn down Constantine at DC so that he could take over Green Lantern after Geoff Johns bailed. Seriously, Valiant is the new place to go and find untapped allstar talent.

I mean, this is a book by James Asmus. You know what my thoughts were on him before this book? I knew he wrote a few issues of Generation Hope, but for the most part he was a guy that I knew was always going to have a story in one of those X-Men ‘welcome to our new status quo’ minis. You know who he is now? A guy writing the best book that I’ve read since last months issue, and I read a LOT of books every month.

Now I really need to read Shadowman so I can start ranting the same thing about Justin Jordan.

I’m the kind of reader that likes to have one book that is “my book”, and it’s a book that I will sit down, read, love, and swear up and down by and try to get everyone I know to read it. The title that makes me happy I read comics with every single issue, the constant reminder of why I love the medium. I haven’t really had one of those since DC ended Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl, I’ve had books I’ve enjoyed, and I mean, The Boys still had a few issues left at the time, but in two years I haven’t really filled the void. Until now.

Quantum and Woody has everything you could ask for in a comic. Interesting and unique characters, super powers, no holds barred humor, a guy threatening a crippled guy, and even promises of a GOAT! I don’t normally like to declare such things before the first arc is over, but I really think I may have found my new favorite book.

Overall: 10/10

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