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Quantum and Woody
There was this period, around late 1996, about the time Heroes Reborn started, when the pickings were pretty damn slim if you were a fan of superhero titles. Then, in the span of a few months, Warren Ellis took over Stormwatch, Grant Morrison took over JLA, Kurt Busiek launched Thunderbolts and Christopher Priest and MD Bright launched Quantum and Woody.
So as good as this book is (and it is good) it stood out even more due to the time it was released, where things looked bleak.
The concept of the book is that Eric Henderson and Woodrow “Woody” Van Chelton were best friends whose fathers worked together as scientists, and they both went to the same exclusive private school. One day, Woody disappears without a word. Another boy tells Eric it is because Eric was black. It really was because of the divorce of Woody’s parents.
When their fathers die in a suspicious helicopter accident, Eric and Woody meet for the first time since they were teenagers. While investigating their fathers’ murder, they come across metal bracelets. Each one takes one bracelet, but when the bracelets come into contact with each other, a huge explosion occurs. They were both now turned into pure energy. Now, to avoid dissipating into incorporeal energy, the two must make contact with each other’s bracelet every 24 hours.
The bracelets themselves have powers, so since they have to be with each other all the time, anyways, and they still want to solve their parents’ death, the two decide to become superheroes, of sort. Eric takes the codename Quantum, and essentially becomes Batman, while Woody just wears a matching bodysuit and carries a gun and a zippo.
They have a number of comedic adventures, even including getting their bodies switched with one another.
The book had some darker moments, but in the last storyline of the comic, Priest decided to get REALLY serious, with a very dark story…
At the end, the pair were allowed to break up (the issue was the cancellation of the title).
A year later, Priest and Bright were allowed to bring the book back, and as a joke, decided to publish #32, the issue that WOULD have been released that month…
The next issue was #18, but sadly, Acclaim went bankrupt three issues in, so the book ended (so far, for good) with #21.
Hopefully, with Valiant Entertainment Group around, they will make some Quantum and Woody trades!!
It was a great series – a lot of humor, but a lot of action, great MD Bright art, and a particularly adept ear for characterization by Priest. It rivals Black Panther for the best Priest book.
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