God, is it nice to have these two morons back.
If it feels like there’s been a lot of hype coming out of Valiant for this particular title you’d be right: there was a big announcement concerning the relaunch of the beloved bungling brothers, there was another big announcement about the foil covers, and those were preceded by the announcement of a Quantum & Woody TV series. Thankfully, Dan Kibblesmith and Kano deliver a fucking delightful first issue that lives up to all the hype.
The book opens with a scene exquisitely rendered by the two creators that encapsulate the brothers to a T – Eric is trying desperately to recruit Woody to his Caverns & Kobolds game (I adore it when media sneaks in Dungeons & Dragons shit), and only gets Woody to listen once he is shown a picture of a voluptuous barbarian lady.
From there the scene leaps ahead to a full-out bananas car chase between the titular heroes and a mad scientist on a runaway segue. The pursuit vehicle is an ice cream truck, and the mad scientist shoots lasers out of his forehead.
Editor’s Note: If those two sentences don’t convince you to take a chance on this book I don’t know what will. Maybe you’d rather use raw beef as play-doh?
And, without spoiling anything else, there are a couple more time jumps that really unpack a lot of story in not a lot of space. And y’know what? Kibblesmith and Kano are wizards. They keep the story engaging, absolutely riveting, with innovative grid and panel placements, superb page layouts, dynamite dialogue, and pictures that convey a thousand words. You’d think years of exposition would make this book seem like a slog, but these creators rope you in and leave you itching to turn the page.
Kibblesmith is a revelation as a comic writer here. I’d known he was a writer for Late Night with Stephen Colbert, but seeing that he’d done work for Valiant before makes me want to go back and grab more. The beats he generates here show a sense of comedic timing that a lot of funny comic writers don’t quite have and his knack for dialogue seems more organically humorous than scores of other comics on the stands, funny or otherwise.
Kano also deserves a mountain of credit here for his ability to capture the Henderson brothers brilliantly, from the way their faces react to their very postures. There’s such attention to detail in his art (and yes, he does all the inks and the beautiful colors) that one may miss a lot of it from the first go-‘round. I found myself enjoying things more the second read because then I could really drink in what Kano had filled the panels with.
Also? Let’s give two paws up for letterer Dave Sharpe. There’s a lot of over-the-top dialogue that needs to be delivered just so, and Sharpe nails it all. Need a dramatic name reveal? Need a boisterous super-hero-shout? Need a goat bleating? Sharpe hits every note perfectly, enhancing a hell of a story with a hell of a good job.
So, summing up, yes? This is a hell of a book – HELL of a book. The creative team on Quantum and Woody deliver on everything you could expect, and it’s got to be one of the smartest, funniest, best-looking books on the shelves right meow. Get your foil, get your homage, get any damn cover you want, because the inside will blow you away.