James Asmus’ Quantum and Woody! Vol. 1: The World’s Worst Superhero Team

I’ll be very honest here: James Asmus’ Quantum and Woody! had me at the cover. How can you beat “The World’s Worst Superhero Team”? (And yes, there’s a goat.)

Derek Henderson is a physicist who has been working on some groundbreaking projects. Derek Henderson has been murdered. His sons, Derek and Woody, are intent on finding out what happened, and are investigating their father’s office when Woody manages to set off some sort of machinery that zaps them rather thoroughly, giving them superpowers, and shoots them outside, where they are promptly arrested by one Detective Cejudo for the murder of their father.

However, the detective is not what she seems, and there’s a sinister organization (there has to be a sinister organization) behind it all. The sinister organization (E.R.A., which does not stand for Equal Rights Amendment) kidnaps the two brothers. The consequences have to be experienced.

The guy at the comics store said this one was really funny, and in a lot of ways, it is. It starts by turning our usual stereotypes on their heads: Derek Henderson and his wife were African American. Eric is their natural son. Woody, who is white, was adopted. He’s also what they used to call a “wastrel” – smooth-talking, a grifter, a pick-pocket, etc., etc., who ran away from home when he was sixteen. Eric is a cop – an honest cop. And the two have issues, as might be expected between two brothers who have never been sure who was the favorite. A lot of the story hinges on those issues. In fact, the story is about those issues as much as the adventure, but it’s all handled lightly.

The art, by Tom Fowler with color by Jordie Bellaire, is good, strong, muscular stuff. It’s nice and open, marked by definite lines and notable clarity. Layouts are fairly standard, but there’s enough variation in frame size and orientation to keep up the visual interest.

The collection finishes off with a gallery of variant covers and what seems to be the complete Quantum and Woody! weekly, volume 1.

While it’s not as outrageously funny as the comics store guy claimed, it is pretty funny, and very well executed.

Collects Quantum and Woody! #1-4.

(Valiant Entertainment, 2013)

About Robert Tilendis

Robert M. Tilendis lives a deceptively quiet life. He has made money as a dishwasher, errand boy, legal librarian, arts administrator, shipping expert, free-lance writer and editor, and probably a few other things he’s tried very hard to forget about. He has also been a student of history, art, theater, psychology, ceramics, and dance. Through it all, he has been an artist and poet, just to provide a little stability in his life. Along about January of every year, he wonders why he still lives someplace as mundane as Chicago; it must be that he likes it there.

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