In the old days of Valiant Version 2.0, there was a series like no other, the story of two outcasts and their struggle to coexist with each other and their super-powers. Now, the original creators return to the title for a little old-school Q&W, but does it still hold up? Your Major Spoilers review of Q2: The Return Of Quantum and Woody #1 awaits!
Q2: THE RETURN OF QUANTUM & WOODY #1
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: M.D. Bright
Inker: Dexter Vines
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Q2: The Return Of Quantum & Woody:
“Quantum and Woody grew up together. They were friends. They became superheroes.
And they never failed to drive each other nuts…”
We open in the past, with a splash page of a dead man, surrounded by huge piles of money… Enter young Woody Van Chelton, teenage pervert in the middle of a discussion of Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice And Men,” followed quickly by an equally young Eric Henderson, whose opinions on the text are much more sanguine. A bit of classic Quantum & Woody semi-slapstick follows, ending with a tragic moment and a sudden flash forward.
It has been slightly more than 15 years since the original Q&W title launched, and Priest & Bright have decided to take advantage of it, it seems, setting this book 15+ years forward in their continuity. We quickly find Quantum in battle with a mysterious villain named Koro, a battle which goes poorly and leaves him in retreat. At the same time, a noticeably aged Woody traced his signal through the city in a cab, hoping to reach Eric in time, but when he finds his old partner, it’s not Eric under the mask at all…
We get a nice retelling of the characters’ origin story, thanks to Woody having to explain to a new character what has happened, and we discover that the bond that held them together (their powers would have dissolved them both into energy blobs if they didn’t clash their bracelets together and dispel the excess energy every 24 hours) has been broken, and the issue ends with a reunion that serves as a somewhat puzzling cliffhanger. Story-wise, it’s got some legs, even for someone who was pretty much only a casual fan of the loopy Quantum & Woody tales of years past, serving as an updated, ‘The Dark Knight Returns’-style future-shock addition to the mythos, one which is made more impressive by it actually BEING a decade and a half since the characters’ heyday. I’m a bit disappointed in the art in the first half of the book, with Bright’s pencils seeming somewhat less detailed than I remember, with the inks not always picking up any slack in a given panel. Certain pages feel like classic Doc Bright, while others feature some sadly cross-eyed and featureless faces, making for an inconsistent art experience.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SOMETHING FAMILIAR, YET BIZARRE
When the announcement of new Quantum and Woody came some months ago, I hoped that the new book would feature the same creative team, and when it didn’t, I wasn’t sure what to make of the new book. Now, having both the new Q&W and the original creators leaves me with a strange dissonance. On the one hand, I want to see more of these characters done by their creators, but on the other, the revamped version of the book hasn’t been the disaster I was worried it might be. If I had to choose which I liked better, I would be hard-pressed to do so, but… This one would win out by a thin margin. All in all, Q2: The Return Of Quantum and Woody #1 has a lot going for it, telling a story in three different time-frames, adding to the history and making a meta-statement on comic-book time, even if there are inconsistencies in the overall art quality, leaving us with an impressive 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one turns out…