By Tim Seidell, James Asmus, Pere Pérez, and Brian Level
‘Twas some weeks before Christmas, and all through this comic
Not a single joke was spared, page count was not economic;
The disembodied heads were hateful and foul,
In hopes that our heroes would throw in the towel;
The dimensional gateway opened up with great might,
Only to see that coward run through it in fright;
Woody had run, as selfish as ever,
Only to find…himself, except much more clever;
Jumping through worlds that looked quite “other”,
He saw it in a truth about his world’s brother;
Despite the crude jokes he would spout,
Woody almost let his true feelings out;
In the end, the day is won, no one was hurt,
Okay fine, millions died, were turned to dirt;
But this comic is fun, it should be prized
Try Quantum and Woody, now Valiant sized!
Clocking in at an irreverently generous 40 pages, Valiant-Sized Quantum and Woody #1 is an absolute lark (the herald! Angels sing….sorry). Comprised of three interlocking stories written by Tim Seidell and James Asmus with Pere Pérez and Brian Level on art duties, this is a lighthearted adventure that’s packed with the required humor and subtle heart that one has come to expect from Quantum and Woody.
The bulk of the issue is found in the opening tale from Seidell, Perez and Allen Passalaqua on colors, featuring the brothers Henderson joining up with a new government sponsored team led by Thomas Edison (or what’s left of him) and comprised of…um…quirky characters from all over the “Evil Axis” including the severed head of an Iranian nuclear scientist impassioned with hatred for all things Zionist (which is, apparently, everything) and a proud dedicated North Korean gravity-powered heroine (maybe?). There’s an Armageddon-level threat in the form of a gigantic asteroid hurtling towards Earth that only our heroes can stop. Except, they basically never even get to try. Instead Woody hops through a dimensional portal to save his own skin and we’re introduced to his Mirror, Mirror-esque counterpart from a world that has a Guy Fieri/Stephen Hawking mashup and really, that should definitely be more than enough to get you to go buy this thing right there. Siedell brings The Manhattan Projects-level creativity and pairs it with hilarity, while still managing to sprinkle in moments of genuine tenderness via flashbacks. Perez and Passalqua are a fantastic duo that complement the tonal levity even when depicting scenes of grandiose destruction and bizarrely grotesque. With a book that relies so heavily on comedy, having an artist like Perez who can effortlessly hit every story beat isn’t just an asset, it’s a requirement. Not only is his rendering wonderfully restrained (reminiscent of Jamie McKelvie in many places), it’s also key to selling every single joke with facial exclamations of fury or disgust or, the quintessential Woody, “whatever” smirk. Passalqua’s vibrant colors contrast nicely to the more muted flashback scenes and the palette as a whole hits every spot on the color wheel to great effect.
Asmus spins off the heels of the opening story and hilariously presents a Christmas-inspired short written in rhyming verse with pencils again by Perez and a bright almost neon color contribution from Wil Quintana. Without ruining the details, Woody goes on a trip that should see him towards a Scrooge equivalent epiphany, but c’mon, this is Woody. It’s a short piece, but it’s focused and filled with little details that you should go back and examine multiple times.
The final piece, again following the events of the first story, is a different beast altogether. It is also very maturely titled, “A Woody Rises.” All right class, settle down, settle down. The alternate reality Woody has found himself in his doppelganger’s world (i.e. the regular Valiant U.) and while Tim Seidell again sharply handles scripting, Brian Level’s art is the real standout. Heavier inks and a thick, yet sharp, line provide a retro-comics feel that would look right at home in a Criminal volume, but with subject matter that is distinctly Quantum and Woody. José Villarrubia’s colors have a great gritty texture spread over a pop-palette that perfectly complements the satiric noir-inspired closing chapter.
So, go forth, pick up this Valiant-sized romp and be merry!