Quantum and Woody #3: Valiant’s Comedic Duo Nears Perfection
Quantum and Woody #3
Written By Christopher Hastings
Art By Ryan Browne
Colors By Ruth Redmond
Variant Covers By Caspar Wijngaard, Will Robson with Jim Charalampidis, Steve Lieber with Ron Chan
Published By Valiant Entertainment
“Oh, He wasn’t really a supervillain, huh? Just a Creep.”
When readers last were graced with the misadventures of Quantum and Woody, we saw the most over-the-top absurdity that had ever been collected in a single issue of a comic book. Dr. Toilet (Twah-ley) possessed a professional ice skater, an audience member and a horde of animals from the zoo and then escaped through a drain into the sewer.. The mythical Apprehension was revealed to be real, and Woody was definitely lying about his visions. For a nice change of pace, Quantum and Woody #3 takes a more focused approach to its narrative and pacing, but this in no way impacts that hilarity contained in this book. This series is the comic book equivalent of the movie The Naked Gun, and Christopher Hastings, Ryan Browne and Ruth Redmond continue to collaborate with great success on the most ridiculously funny title being published right now.
Within Quantum and Woody #3, Christopher Hastings does an excellent job of switching up the pacing of the issue by balancing the present day narrative with more flashbacks to the duo growing up together, and this makes complete sense in light of the story presented here. Quantum and Woody have decided to take on an investigation at the high school in which they attended. One of the thematic focal points of any run of this series is the struggle between our two main characters and their brotherly upbringing, and this issue nicely gives readers examples both past and present of this theme. It is certainly a strong point of this issue as Hastings has chosen to give readers more time to spend in the past than previous issues. We get several flashbacks to Eric (Quantum) attempting to defend Woody in spite of Woody’s arrogance and lack of caring. These scenes really highlight how far the brothers have come since childhood.
When I read the description that Quantum and Woody would be investigating a murder in the high school they attended, I knew this would be complete hilarity, but I also wondered how this would fit in with the established narrative. Rest assured that Christopher Hastings has tied things together in a satisfying way, and it does a nice job of carrying the reader through the ridiculous nature of the issue. Without spoiling too much, this investigation involves literal ghosts haunting the high school and a guidance counselor that moonlights as a deranged medium of sorts. As I mentioned above, this series is the Naked Gun of the Valiant Universe, and several scenes in this issue are perfect examples of this. One in particular sees Quantum uppercut the villain through the roof of the school building (accompanied by a skull and crossbones and RIP) way into the air which causes him to be hit by a passing jetliner. Slapstick perfection! Lastly, I always find it interesting how the popular media portrays the inner workings of a school as I am currently a teacher. From my experience, Hastings did capture our characters experiences accurately as they relate to students during the school day. Overall, Christopher Hastings has constructed another narrative arc that perfectly exemplifies all the best qualities of past Quantum and Woody Arcs.
Additionally, Ryan Browne and Ruth Redmond show off their ability to create eccentric and visually arresting visuals within every panel. Originally, when I heard that Ryan Browne was going to be handling pencils duties for this run of Quantum and Woody, I was not completely sold on how his style would fit into this series. Now that these creators have fully embraced making this book straight slapstick comedy, Browne’s art is a perfect match and the colors provided by Ruth Redmond are nothing short of divine. I discussed the pairing of artist and colorist in my review of issue #2, but issue #3 stands as a testament to the levels of perfection that can be reached when artists and colorists are meant to work together. The line work of this issue is energetic and unconventional, but completely charming. Couple that with Redmond’s vibrant, quirky and completely offbeat coloring and this book on a visual level achieves what very few comics ever achieve. Flashbacks are appropriately tinged with cool colors and a slight sepia-like filter. Action scenes are highlighted by bright and dynamic primary colors. It is remarkable how every single panel in this issue exceeds the bar established by previous issues, and I commend this team for the excellent work they are doing.
Christopher Hastings has created a narrative that continues the slapstick and comedic story of Quantum and Woody while presenting readers with a more focused and well-paced arc by highlighting the past and present lives of our starring heroes. Additionally, Ryan Browne and Ruth Redmond have moved into a league of their own. Their art and color work is second to none, and again shows readers the quality that can be achieved when two artists’ styles complement each other perfectly. This issue of Quantum and Woody is as close to perfection as this series has come, and I have the utmost confidence that this creative team will continue to set the standard for the action/comedy genre of comics.