“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Quantum & Woody #1 Publisher
James Asmus & Tom Fowler
Prior Experience With Title
None. I had no clue who these characters were and admittedly I’ve never even read a Valiant title before. All I knew about it was that the two main characters were possibly brothers…and somehow a goat plays into things.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
I knew that this was going to have a healthy dose of humor and with a tagline “The World’s Worst Superhero Team” how could I pass it by? I’m always looking for a well-written, well-drawn, comedy with superheroes and this one looked like it might fill the bill.
This issue opens right away with our two main characters in costume plummeting to their apparent demise as a reporter covering the story wonders if they’re really heroes or just overgrown children causing trouble. It’s a question that looks to be at the centre of this series but before we can ponder too much on that we flashback to the two of them as kids, two “brothers” that stood up for one another. Something has obviously happened since then as in the present day they have grown significantly apart, haven travelled down two very different paths: Eric is the strict by the book physical presence while Woody is the lazy con-man that possess the creativity. It isn’t until the death of their father that the two are brought back into each other’s lives and the pursuit of finding out who murdered their father gives them a common goal (but not before they have a drag out brawl during the funeral). What caused these two to have such a falling out is a really intriguing mystery and I can’t wait for the slow reveal to play out. After being taken in for questioning and figuring out that their father’s death was in fact murder, Woody decides that he’ll break into his dad’s lab to learn more but Eric refuses to go along with the plan until his mind flashes back to the past. We learn that Eric’s birth mother always wanted to foster kids but his father convinced her to have one of their own first. She died before her dream could come true but Eric’s father fostered Woody anyways because he knew how important it was to her. His lesson that family needs to take responsibility for one another rings through to Eric in the present day and he saves Woody’s bacon just in time. The rest of the tale quickly unfolds including Woody uncovering a micro drive that their father had hidden, Woody playing around in an experimental test chamber pretending to hit some buttons in there, and Eric trying to stop him and actually hitting a button by mistake which starts the chamber rolling, trapping them inside. Over the course of a great scene the two end up each wearing half a safety suit and after one giant flash of energy their lives are changed forever. We’ve just witnessed the first step in their origin story and I’m excited to see how this whole circumstance leads to the event happening at the beginning of the issue while I also wonder what exact powers each one has gained. If anticipating the second issue isn’t a sign of a job well done I don’t know what is.
Quantum: Get the hell out of the way, people!
Woody: Or feel free to break our fall!
Eric: I didn’t need your help, Woody.
Woody: I don’t care. We’re brothers, Eric–I’m the only guy who gets to call you horribly offensive #$%&. And I’ll beat up a thousand Kevin Kurtweils to defend that right.
Eric: Heh. Okay, then…
Woody: But you can repay me by doing my homework.
Eric: As opposed to you just copying mine like you always do?
Woody: Don’t make this about you, Eric. For once. Our dad dies, and you–
Eric: Excuse me–he’s not “our” dad. He was my dad.
Woody: Yeah…then I guess I was just a foreign exchange student visiting from the real world–for nine #$%^&@* years. And you know what? I would’ve stuck around–if I’d known you were gonna do such a #$%^ job looking out for him.
Police Officer: Hey. Need you for questioning. You gonna come easy or do I need the cuffs?
Woody: I don’t mind cuffs–as long as we have a safeword.
Woody: Hey! Check it out! It’s like a Star Trek nerd’s wet dream in here!
Eric: Damnit! Woody! Get out of there!
Woody: Sure, let me beam myself out! Beep-boop-beep!
Eric: That’s dangerous, expensive, and delicate scientific equipment! You of all people shouldn’t go near–!
Woody: Why? Because I never finished high school? Because maybe this’ll let me go back in time and graduate!
Eric: Keep looking! There might be another way out!
Woody: Well–it’s no way out, but I think I found the next best thing! Some kind of safety suit!
Eric: All right! Where are the rest?
Woody: This was it. The only one.
Eric: Oh…then I want you to take it, Woody. I…I was the one who set the machine off. And I know we haven’t always–
Woody: Don’t have to tell me twice!
Eric: You sonnuva–! You’d let me die just like that?
Woody: What? You just offered–!
Eric: You didn’t even try to talk me out of it!
Woody: I guess I thought you were actually being self-less–not just trying to look like the good guy!
Final Verdict: The first issue definitely piqued my interest and I’m really digging the relationship between the two main characters. Humorous dialogue, some great art, and the ability to quickly establish and make me care for these two earns this new series the right to be Added To My Pull-List.