By Daniel Kibblesmith and Kano
Quantum and Woody shine in their debut outing, even more so than their super-shiny extreme ultra-foil variants.
Fans who are worried this is a reboot, fear not. Think of this as a relaunch. All of the previous continuity is valid, and this book builds upon it. Valiant likes to limit the number of books released per month, meaning that some titles go on hiatus, waiting for their turn in the publishing rotation. With the relaunch of the Quantum and Woody, it’s the Henderson brothers’ turn in the spotlight.
Writer Daniel Kibblesmith takes readers on a trip through time, traversing Quantum and Woody’s history. For those unfamiliar with the title, Kibblesmith offers a charming look at their brotherly beginnings, quickly catching new readers up to speed while managing to show established fans a different side of the brothers. The humor here is gentle in tone and appropriate to the characters’ ages. These scenes serve as an excellent introduction to each character’s personality and their relationship.
That attention to maintaining character integrity holds true throughout the book. Eric, a.k.a. Quantum, is more responsible and serious in nature than his glib and self-centered brother Woody. The odd couple relationship between these two is the heart of the title and the source of much of its comedy. Quantum and Woody in its various incarnations has always pushed the limits in regards to outlandishness – and at times, good taste.
Kibblesmith goes easy in the slapstick department, making the book more palatable to readers looking for something fun but not schlocky. He delivers his humor in various ways –tongue-in-cheek, witty wordplay, and humorous props (if JNCOs aren’t funny, what is?). There are nods to everything from Taxi Driver to D&D (and I might be mistaken, but could that be a reference to a certain girl in Calvin and Hobbes?)
The story catches us up to what the brothers are doing now and the state of their relationship. Overall, it serves to set the tone for the series while introducing a new conflict, one that may have significant repercussions for the pair. Serious situations are normally not a concern in the general state of wackiness that ensues with Quantum and Woody, but the promise of a story with true emotional weight gives the book more credence. This is a light-hearted, fun book, but Kibblesmith also makes it endearing. He lets the characters have somber moments that feel genuine, and in turn, this highlights the humor. It comes across well-balanced rather than being a non-stop barrage of one-liners.
Artist Kano illustrates, inks, and colors the book. Kano’s depictions are excellent. The childhood rendition of Eric is nothing short of charming, perfectly matching the spirit of Kibblesmith’s narrative. He’s captured the essence of Woody in his facial expressions – I can’t say enough good things about how good all of Kano’s character actors are – every smirk, scowl, and derpy expression, every playful stance. The villain’s depiction is terrific (no-spoilers, but you can’t help but appreciate all the facets at play here). The use of squares within panels to call out bits of imagery, or in some cases, to serve as a mini-panel, work well and spotlight some of the gems not explicitly stated in the dialogue (for example, check out the board game young Eric is playing). The colors effectively reflect the mood – vivid during their action sequences, golden-hued for childhood memories, and neutral monotones for a dreary office job.
For a good time, pick up Quantum and Woody #1. Funny and endearing along with fantastic art, this book will turn readers into “hastag #klang-heads”. Don’t miss out.