“A Valiant Read” is a regular column in which we highlight some of the best jumping-on points for the Valiant Universe. Find out more.
We’re back for another A Valiant Read! This time we’re taking a look at Quantum and Woody Volume 1: The World’s Worst Superhero Team. Written by James Asmus (Thief of Thieves) and art by Tom Fowler (Rick and Morty, Green Arrow), this collection covers the first four issues of the incompetent duo.
Read on to find out who Quantum and Woody are, which comics to read, and heaps more.
Who Are Quantum and Woody?
These two are brothers who accidentally stumbled into superpowers. They’ve truly earned the title of “the world’s worst superhero team” through their incompetency and lack of experience with being heroes.
They’re polar opposites from one another. Quantum aka Eric Henderson is ex-army and is disciplined. Woody, on the other hand, is a petty criminal that’s wildly inappropriate and impulsive.
While the pair don’t often agree, and barely get along, the nature of their powers (I won’t spoil this) means that they are dependant on one another in order to stay alive.
What are their powers? Quantum can use his energy powers to create a shield. Woody’s powers are offensive, with the ability to shoot energy beams from his hands.
Written by James Asmus. Art by Tom Fowler. Coloured by Jordie Bellaire. Lettered by Dave Lanphear.
The superheroes that we know and love are competent at what they do. As the title “World’s Worst Superheroes” suggests, Quantum and Woody are not your usual heroes. The comic is a comedy first and a superhero second.
The superhero situations are simply used as a vehicle for the humour, which this comic has in spades. The pair try to be heroes to solve their father’s murder but they tend to mess things up, which is then exasperated by the odd-couple situation. They live up to the title of “World’s Worst Superheroes”, constantly bickering with each other and unable to use their abilities in any productive way.
Using superheroes as the context for humour then there’s also the opportunity to get weird. Because it’s not grounded in reality, you can introduce bizarre situations and odd characters. A prime example of this is the introduction of The Goat. Most of it happens off panel, but Fowler is able to create a vivid picture in the readers mind through the expressions of characters and the chaos on panel.
There’s also a 1980s cybernetic man full of obsolete technology. He’s not valuable to the plot, but he does have a string of great jokes around him with great comedic timing.
Woody is not always politically correct and that’s not going to rub people the right way. In a lot of ways, it’s like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. He has a liable exterior but says and does things he shouldn’t. It doesn’t have malicious intent and the comic always acknowledges that what he does is bad behaviour.
Having a script that’s full of comedic moments or dialogue is only half of the equation. Tom Fowler does a lot to make sure that his art means that the jokes stick the landing. His animated style is expressive, with extra attention and emphasis put on facial expressions and body language. With it, you could take away the dialogue and still understand what’s going on or how a character reacts to a situation.
Teaming up with Jordie Bellaire for colours means that Quantum and Woody is also one of the best looking Valiant comics we have seen so far. She adopts a flat, yet layered, approach to her colour choices that don’t compete with Fowler’s lines. They’re bright, which you want for a comedy as weird as this, but can also be dulled in the right context. When things get serious then her colours are darker, her flashbacks are washed in a warm brown, and her colours are their brightest when things get crazy.
But it’s not all fun and games. Quantum and Woody has a serious side to it too. Asmus makes sure to explore the bumbling pair’s relationship with each other, their recently deceased father, and all the family tensions.
Overall, Quantum and Woody: The World’s Worst Superheroes is a top-notch comic. It beams with humour, even if some of it might be to everyone’s taste, by putting the characters and the situations above the actual super-heroics. Thanks to the talented duo of Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire, the visuals elevate the humour to the next level. If you’re looking for some laughs with your heroes, even if they’re incompetent, then Quantum and Woody is for you.
I Need To See It!
Do you need to see more before you make a decision? Check out the preview for Quantum and Woody #1.
Want to read more Quantum and Woody? Then these are the collections you will want to read next.
Quantum and Woody Volume 2: In Security
Written by James Asmus. Art by Ming Doyle.
Collects: Quantum and Woody #6-8
Quantum and Woody Volume 3: Crooked Pasts, Present Tense
Written by James Asmus. Art by Tom Fowler, Kano, Wilfredo Torres, Erica Henderson.
Collects: Quantum and Woody #9-12 and Quantum and Woody: The Goat #0
Quantum and Woody Volume 4: Quantum and Woody Must Die!
Written by James Asmus and Tim Siedell. Art by Steve Lieber and Pere Perez.
Collects: Quantum and Woody Must Die! #1-4 and Valiant-Sized Quantum and Wood #1
If You Like Quantum and Woody…
Then you’ll love Archer and Armstrong. It’s Valiant’s other buddy comedy series and it’s just as funny. If you love weird situations, involving sects, ninja nuns, doomsday devices, and immortal beings then check it out.
Join us next time when we take a look at The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage.