Quantum and Woody #2: Slapstick Comedy Wrapped in a Superhero Package
Quantum and Woody #2
Written by Christopher Hastings
Art by Ryan Browne
Colors by Ruth Redmond
Published by Valiant Entertainment
We kick this dude’s ass once a month. He doesn’t get to leap to those kinds of threats.
If the new Bloodshot series is the definition of absurdity in action-oriented comics, then Quantum and Woody could be considered the other side of the absurd coin for comics inclined to make us laugh, and this series continues to do just that. So far we have been graced with hilarity involving destroying sewer-clogging fatbergs, Quantum punching out a 9 year old super-villain, the Capitol Building being transported to another dimension and the constant mispronunciation of the name of the infamous Dr. Toilet (It’s Twah-ley). Hastings and Browne continue the zaniness with action set pieces that rival the best slapstick comedies coupled with an instantly charming aesthetic. Of course, spoiler warning for the below discussion!
This issue opens with Quantum and Woody staking out an ice skating competition featuring a contestant that is being mind controlled by Dr. Toilet. The good doctor happens to be hiding in a bizarre headdress that the ice skater is wearing, and from this page on the slapstick comedic appeal of this comic shines. This opening set piece highlights everything that this series is doing right from the moment Woody decides to take action against Dr. Toilet and accidentally slips on the ice of the skating rink to the commentary provided by the sports anchors at the competition of the fight that takes place; it is excellently written and hilariously charming all the same. Only in the world of Quantum and Woody could the “heroes” get away with fumbling so badly through a showdown with their arch nemesis.
A new hero also interrupts this battle by the name of The Apprehension just as Woody takes an ice skate to the forehead and an ice skate to crotch from Dr. Toilet. Another aspect of this series that I find humorous is the correct and incorrect usage of onomatopoeia in some of its scenes. Of course, we get the traditional comic book-style sounds thrown in for good measure, but hilariously we get text that indicates the mood of feeling of the character. When Woody slips on the ice, the word “Crap!” frames his neck, when he takes a skate to his manhood as mentioned above we get presented with the misspelled word “krotch”. It all comes together to create this sense of slapstick comedy that few comics try let alone succeed at. The next scene sees the Apprehension “de-braining” the unfortunate host of Dr. Toilet with an uppercut only to have him possess a kid who happens to be standing nearby. Hilariously, Dr. Toilet escapes by putting on a coat while he sits atop the boy’s head, completely inconspicuous for sure.
The action slows down for a bit over the next scene as the Apprehension teleports Quantum and Woody outside the skating rink and proceeds to berate them both about botching the rescue of the skater and their defeat at the tentacles of Dr. Toilet. This scene serves as a great piece of exposition to fill in some of the narrative gaps present in the first issue. We find out Dr Toilet used to be a scientist who transformed his brain into a parasite capable of taking control of others and he seeks out the, “top of the line models,” to possess. Hastings uses this time to reinforce the dynamic between Quantum and Woody, a tug-of-war match seeing the rationality of Quantum take on the flippant personality of Woody which has always been a thematic draw of the series. He also draws a parallel between the duo and the Apprehension who understands the importance of the public’s perception of a hero. While only brief, it is a moment that alludes to the fact that even the most hare-brained comedies have relatable things to say about society and the world in which they exist.
The insanity of this issue continues with the last set piece coming down to Quantum, Woody and the Apprehension facing down an uber Dr. Toilet who has possessed a horde of animals at the zoo in addition to the boy from the skating rink. If you thought that a head with tentacles mind controlling an ice skater was a great way to start out the issue, this is an awesomely satisfying way to close it out and frame this narrative effectively. This monstrosity consists of four turtles, four monkeys, a hippopotamus, a lion, an alligator and several snakes, and is as awesome as it sounds. This scene again emphasizes the levels of outlandishness Hastings and Browne are going for in this series with a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. Fortunately, our heroes are able to save the day, and Dr. Toilet escapes into the sewer swearing vengeance on them. The issue also concludes on a high note (and a bit of a cliffhanger) when it is revealed that the Apprehension is the senator from issue one, and Woody may be lying about the visions that have been a driving force of the story arc so far.
Christopher Hastings and Ryan Browne have once again shown readers what can happen when a writer and artist have great chemistry on the comic page and a unique sense of humor to boot. Slapstick comedy has always been a favorite of mine, and it works well within the world of Quantum and Woody. I cannot praise this team enough for finding their niche and pouring everything they have into it. Quantum and Woody #2 is another excellent example of the breadth of Valiant’s talent and its vision moving into 2020; another excellent read.
Quantum and Woody #2