Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 08.07.2013 – Quantum and Woody #2

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

238
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.4
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.3%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
QW-002-COVER-SOOK-09b7d
Story by James Asmus
Art by Tom Fowler
Cover by Ryan Sook, Tom Fowler, & Rian Hughes

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a chance to write about Tom Fowler’s work in a Pick of the Week review before. That’s about to be rectified in a big way. I’ve made it no secret that I think Tom is one of the best artists in comics today. He’s a great big, witty, surly, cartoonist genius, and not nearly enough people know that. Comic book professionals know it, and I’ve heard it from many of them over the years, but for whatever reason, a lot of readers just don’t know. Well, this is your chance.

When it was announced that Tom Fowler was the artist on the ongoing Quantum and Woody series, I  was thrilled, despite not knowing anything about the property, but knowing that the art and storytelling would be spot on. If you’ve ever seen any of Fowler’s sketches, you’ll see a slightly skewed, but ultimately sweet wit going on, in the middle of what some might call a cartoony style. I tend to think of it more as a rubbery reality, where things are just a bit more flexible, but the storytelling and the fundamentals of the art is incredibly tight. Quantum and Woody is kind of perfect for the artwork because it’s both rooted in a realistic world, but also concerned with crazy sci-fi science. On top of that, it’s actually funny. The first issue was good, but it was in this second issue where the team got the business of set up out of the way, and got to focus on letting things get a lot more wacky. From the (constant) brotherly bickering of our titular protagonists, to the silly supervillains that show up near the end, the art has it covered, working both sides of the formula. This was the Tom Fowler work I was hoping for, and I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Rounding out the package is Jordie Bellaire on colors, and if the artist isn’t painting the work himself, this is the next best thing. In a very short amount of time, you’ve seen Bellaire’s name on more and more projects, and when you see that name, it’s an indication that the people in charge actually care what about how the comic book is going to turn out. She’s a wonderful artist in her own right, and can deliver several styles, as is evidenced this week by her diverse color work on both Quantum and Woody, as well as an entirely different style on The Manhattan Projects. In this one, she’s using tasteful palettes for each scene, and there’s just never too much, which works as a way to keep the images grounded when they need to be. The coloring is both effective and tasteful, and a perfect compliment to the line work.

Finally, we can talk about the stellar work James Asmus is doing setting up what is, to me, a new world, while also writing a script that is both supposed to be funny, and is actually funny? You’d think that would be a lot easier than I’m making it sound, but it doesn’t happen often enough in comics. What you have here are two brothers, one white, one black, and they have nothing in common, other than their dead father. But while they bicker all the time, they clearly have a common bond, and even a common goal. There are just a couple moments of heart that make all the fighting bearable. I only say that because it really does remind me of fighting with my brother, and yes, I’m the uptight one. At the same time, this set up allows Asmus to pick away at some social taboos and areas of discomfort, race being first and foremost. It’s tricky, to be sure, but it’s nice to read a book that has a little bit of a social and political edge to it, without feeling like you’re talking about something you shouldn’t. In that way, having the white troubled kid adopted by the black family turns a bunch of our accepted notions on their heads a bit. I’m not saying it’s going to win an award for its depiction of diversity, but it’s nice that it’s part of the conversation, because otherwise, I’m not what the point would be. Seeing these kinds of conversations on TV, or a movie isn’t that unusual, but lately, in mainstream comics, it strikes me as a bit rare, which is interesting, because at one time, comics were trailblazers. Now, maybe there’s too much at stake. There’s a lot going on here in the background, and unless you’re completely ignorant to the current cultural conversation on race, a writer is going to be very aware of what he is and isn’t saying. Asmus does a nice job of riding a line by saying something subtly interesting, and managing to still keep it light and entertaining.

The first issue of this series had a lot of work to do before the story could get moving, and this issue, they’ve finally got the highway laid out in front of them, and the characters are on their way. We know who our main players are, but there’s clearly a lot more to uncover, and if nothing else, the tone of this book is completely different from what’s going on in other comics I’m ready right now. It’s similar, and it’s familiar, but still different enough to make it interesting. Obviously, the craft and quality is in place for a nice long story, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Josh Flanagan
This book would be really fun to write.
josh@ifanboy.com


Comments

  1. Pretty surprised by this potw. I wasn’t blown away by the first issue and wasn’t going to give this issue a go but the review is so positive I think I’ll give it a shot. Tom Fowler isn’t always my cup of tea but I can see the appeal that others would have with him.

    As an aside, there has been quite a lot of debate about advertisers/companies and review standards in gaming journalism of late. Most games sites have been much more open and transparent about how they do business giving detail sof advertisements or incentives provided around review time to show the transparency of their process. Things like advertising business, paid for expo attendances, in house pre-release reviews, etc. The standard seems to be a one or two line dislaimer at the end of the review/article giving a quick account of the business relationship.

    I notice Valiant have been doing a lot of advertising on the site in recent months and have probably been the biggest front page sponsor. I’ve been around here long enough to know you guys are on the level and wouldn’t think of implying any bias but that doesn’t mean others won’t. Maybe some sort of policy around it might be a good idea?

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Our policy is that our reviews are not biased. People can choose to believe that or not. There’s a definite wall between content and advertising, and we think we’ve proven our integrity.

    • ghostmann ghostmann says:

      The real controversy will be when Scamtheology comes out in December and that book gets POTW. ;)

    • 400yrs 400yrs says:

      They don’t need to write a blurb about the business relationship at all. I figured this book might have a shot at potw at some point if josh gave it a try. They really haven’t talked about any valiant books and I figured that may have had a tad to do with the ads. There have been many excellent valiant books that I enjoyed a ton more than any of the previous potws, but they never got mentioned on the podcast at all (probably because tyey arent reading them). This book makes ifanboy sense though.

      While many comic sites seem to write reviews for crappy books using tons of praise and colorful one-liners seemingly just to get their website mentioned on a cover or a trade, ifanboy always gives honest reviews…… even if they are wrong.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      And we will be wrong, dammit!

    • radpuppy71 radpuppy71 says:

      Valiant ads have been on the sight for a while now and even sponsoring the pick of the week podcast for months and this is the first Valiant book to get the pick of the week. In my opinion, there have been lots of Valiant books that could have been pick of the week in past weeks before this one. So ifanboy is not ‘whoring’ themselves out to Valiant. The pick is based on opinion and personal choice and maybe it is just a really good book. Better than anything else put out this week, perhaps?!

  2. Firevine Firevine says:

    Hell yeah! Valiant! Man, these books have been solid. I really enjoyed Q&W #1, and definitely looking forward to this one.

  3. LeviHunt15 LeviHunt15 says:

    I don’t know if I’m just comparing this series too much to the original or what, but I am just not digging it. The humor and characterization just aren’t really connecting with me.

  4. illmatic illmatic says:

    I been hearing such good things about Valiant, it makes me wish I could afford to jump , on board. But between all the great Marvel Now titles I collect and a couple titles from DC and Image or Darkhoarse, Im tapped out. If I was gonna pick up a trade, which rebooted Valiant title would everybody suggest I start with? I have no ties to the old Valiant.

    • tomistommy tomistommy says:

      I read Valiant stuff in trade and it’s all been really solid. Archer and Armstrong, and Harbinger are both quality books. X-O Manowar is pretty solid as well.

    • 400yrs 400yrs says:

      Based on your pull list, I’d recommend x-o manowar and harbinger. Harbinger starts a bit rough but the second arc is Dysart doing some fantastic character work. I like archer and armstrong as well.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      If you want something mostly serious, go with X-O Manowar. If you’d like some humor and whimsy mixed in try Archer & Armstrong. They’re both great books. Shadowman has also been consistently good.

  5. ghostmann ghostmann says:

    Is this the first Valiant title since their reemergence to get POTW? Nice to see – they are putting out solid books like Archer and Armstrong and X-O Manowar (so far the only two I read, which might change after your review of Quantum and Woody).

  6. Cantseeme Cantseeme says:

    Kudos to Josh for giving Tom Fowler some love. I’ve been waiting for him to come back to comics since his short run on Remender’s Venom, and boy this book does not disappoint. I’ve got to give credit to James Asmus though too, between this, Thief of Thieves, and Gambit, he is a very well-rounded writer.

    On a side note, would the iFanboy staff recommend Mysterious the Unfathomable? I do love me some Jeff Parker too…

  7. SuperLuigi says:

    Awesome. Great to see a Valiant book as POTW, since they really have been firing on all cylinders since they’ve been back. I thought Harbinger Wars was a REALLY great crossover, and the company continues to build momentum with their latest ongoing. I really enjoyed the first issue of Q&W and thought this one was even better. Like Josh said, its not easy write a comedy especially when there is such high expectations and you’re replacing a legendary team in Priest and Bright. Also, is.Fowler a Valiant exclusive? If so, what a stable of exclusive artists they’re building. Add him to Trevor Hairsine, Cary Nord, and now Doug Braithwaite on UNITY… wow. And the writers… Dysart, Venditti, Van Lente, Pak, Gage, Asmus, Kindt. Just an awesome re-launch for Valiant. Can’t wait to see what year 2 has in store!

  8. DrOuija DrOuija says:

    Did anyone else notice when Woody blows up the first police car it says “CAR-BOOOM”? I loved it.

  9. This book sounds right up my alley. Not sure why I haven’t given it a shot yet….Considering I just dropped a few titles I should get on this.

    So is Valiant the ‘little company that could’ now? Cause they;re skyrocketing from obscure relaunch to semi-powerhouse real fast. It’s astonishing.

  10. player1 player1 says:

    Tom Fowler has a certain MAD/CRACKED feel to his art.

    I may give this a shot just based on his involvement alone.

  11. Sherlock19 Sherlock19 says:

    I love this book……..I also love Valiant.

  12. phess1 phess1 says:

    Gonna give it a try now

  13. randall4000 randall4000 says:

    All the Valiant books I’ve tried have been good or great. The first 2 arcs of XO Manowar were really awesome. I’ll give this a shot too. It’s nice to see a new player on the field. I hope Valiant sticks around.

  14. I love this book.

    And all of Valiant’s titles. They are my favorite publisher.

  15. cosmo cosmo says:

    I liked the first issue, but didn’t love it. I wanted to give it more than an issue, but it was a heavy week for me, so I let it pass. Next week should be lighter, so I’ll give it another shot then.

    Glad to see some love for the Valiant titles, I’ve really been enjoying their out put.

  16. TonyyyG TonyyyG says:

    Bought the Harbinger trade a few months back, i just couldnt get into it. I might’ve been the art. Im hesitant to try another valiant book. Maybe this one is worth a shot

  17. frankt1978 frankt1978 says:

    Does anybody read the Gambit series that Asmus did? I know it’s getting cancelled but might grab it in trade.

  18. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    Really enjoyed the first issue, the first Valient title I actually liked (X-O Manowar, Archer and Armstrong, that psychic one; they don’t grab me. I’m sure they’re fine series tho). I guess my LCS was out of this, otherwise i would have read it right away.

    I didn’t notice any political commentary from the first issue, but maybe thats was because it was more subtle and I was paying attention to the humor. But looking back on it, it is kind of like “Different Strokes” reversed. Which is good I gotta say. If this issue ramps that up, right on.

    One thing about race and comics thats been bugging me lately though; Black heroes don’t look like black heroes. They get covered up head to toe in their costume (Black Panther, Mile Morales Spider-Man, the new Batwing, Blue Beetle, White Tiger). There are quite a few exceptions, some occuring to me right now; but those first 2 seem pretty major. Quantum at least has the fingertips cut off, but I wonder if thats enough.

    Anyway, thats enough introspection; great article Josh. i look forward to reading this issue.

  19. wayne2001bc wayne2001bc says:

    After reading all of these comments, I’ll probably end up picking up a Valiant series, or two. I’m going to check out the FCBD issue just to have a sample. I hope I get hooked.

  20. brangates brangates says:

    This book has been getting good reviews all over POTW doesn’t surprise me at all. I decided to try it out after seeing it was POTW and grabbed the first couple issues from my LCS and it is really good. Another 4 bucks a month, i need to drop some titles lol.

  21. pyynk pyynk says:

    Truthfully if you’re a fan of classic JLI era Booster and Blue Beetle interaction, this scratches that itch just right. Just a lot of fun.

  22. SuperLuigi says:

    I think we can all agree the best part was their brotherly “embrace.”