Sometimes funny comics only bring the funny. Other times the humor is like a fart in church: funny to a few, but just not appreciated by all. Thankfully James Asmus, Tom Fowler, Jordie Bellaire and Dave Lanphear make "Quantum and Woody" #4 a whole different kind of funny. With a killer goat, insane clones and hysterically off-base evil geniuses serving under the banner of Edison's Radical Acquisitions (E.R.A.), this comic is part oddball adventure and part celebration of everything comics can be.
James Asmus delivers a high-intensity plot that would bring soundtracks to crescendos all over the place as Eric (the Quantum of this duo) struggles to fight through his body dissolving to rescue his brother from the evil clutches of a secret clone army. While comparisons could be made to the madcap adventures of Deadpool, this comic transcends that on so many levels. Asmus pulls back the curtain to reveal formative decisions and events in the duo's lives and provides the secret origin of the E.R.A. through the ravings of an outdated cyborg without muddling in the past. The bulk of this adventure is in the here and now -- the amazingly explosive here and now. The characters may not be driven by hearts of gold or purest intentions, but they are more compelling for their flaws, their humor and their humanity.
The art in this book is simply stunning. Tom Fowler's work is cartoony and detailed, animated and action-packed. He fills panels smaller than an eighth of the page with more detail than many artists can fit in an entire page and makes it look amazing and inviting. Just as wonderfully, Fowler pulls back when it serves the story, setting characters or events in white space or stepping aside to let the masterful lettering of Dave Lanphear tell a story that expands beyond visuals. The issue-ending explosion is a remarkably wonderful collaboration between Asmus, Fowler, Lanphear and colorist Jordie Bellaire that had me running through the house to share that one panel with my wife, knowing full well she'd get a chuckle from it without any idea about the rest of the issue. Bellaire's work in that panel is limited to explosive colors, but she doesn't restrain her palette throughout the issue. Bellaire's proficiency and legend as a colorist are only bound to grow through her work on this title, as she is perfectly suited for Fowler's distinctly lively style.
I can guarantee that "Quantum & Woody" #4 is the only comic to hit shelves this week (month or year) with the following quote: "I'm a @#$&-@#*% superhero, bitch." Trust me, if that line gives you a chuckle (or in my case, causes a spit-take), this comic book is exactly what you didn't realize you were missing. My continuation into the realms of Valiant continues with "Quantum & Woody" #4 and so far Valiant is a stunning "take-my-money" two-for-two. This is my first issue of the series, but I guarantee it will not be my last, especially since I'm deliberating hunting down the first three or simply waiting for the inevitable trade that will deliver the first arc of a comic that's lobbied hard to be my new favorite.