by James Asmus and Steve Liber

James Asmus returns to Quantum and Woody with Steve Lieber on art duties. Does Quantum and Woody Must Die stack up to his previous run? Read on to find out!

Quantum and Woody is one of those books that has a very loyal following. Even among Valiant fans, opinions are split between love and hate with little middle ground. While I have always been a strong proponent of the series, the recent books – The Delinquents and particularly Valiant-sized Quantum and Woody – have really propelled the characters into a great new direction which continues this week with the launch of a four issue miniseries, Quantum and Woody Must Die.

The book begins with a heist lead by the Domino Twins which is halted by our favorite dysfunctional superhero duo and leads us down some interesting paths which the book hasn’t taken before. Sure, Quantum and Woody remain their usual selves, generally saving the day through pure luck or accident, but this team is different mainly due to the fact that they actually get along. As it turns out, it seems that Quantum and Woody have gained new-found friendship and respect for each other by attending couples counseling sessions lead by Dr. Skinner – a character who we learn has more sinister plans for the duo. Whether Dr. Skinner is the same alternate-dimension Woody we met in Valiant-sized Quantum and Woody #1 or not remains to be seen, but the setup in this story has me intrigued to read more.

James Asmus does a terrific job handling these characters as always. The dialogue in this first issue is typical of what we’ve come to expect from his run on the ongoing and subsequent one-shots and miniseries which is a great thing. There isn’t nearly as much silly humor as we’ve seen in other issues, at least not yet, but there are plenty of jokes and puns here to keep you rolling on the floor laughing. There is one particularly well-thought out scene at a Chinese restaurant involving racial stereotypes and the existence (or lack thereof) of Santa Claus which had me laughing out loud.

This is, of course, a first issue and as such, Asmus has done a nice job at introducing the key characters and giving some background information about the personalities and history without bogging returning readers down too much with specifics. Even the part where Vincent, the goat, goes to get his pregnancy checkup was explained pretty well, though I’m sure new readers may wonder why a male goat is pregnant, and being called “dad.”

There is of course the art to discuss and this book is illustrated by Superior Foes of Spider-Man artist Steve Lieber whose style is perfect for this book. Asmus’ storytelling style is highly visual and Lieber does a terrific job translating the jokes from script to page. His pacing and panel work left me with just enough time to digest and process the jokes to receive the payoff in the next panel – really great stuff, and very rewarding as a reader.

Whether you’re a new or returning Quantum and Woody reader, Quantum and Woody Must Die #1 is a very fun read that everyone should pick up. I am thrilled to see these characters back in the current Valiant universe and look forward to seeing what Asmus and Lieber have in store. KLANG!

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