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Comic Review: QUANTUM AND WOODY #10

We need to talk about Kano.

Writer James Asmus’ script for this issue of Quantum and Woody is fine – better than fine. But thanks to the work of artist Kano, this goofy heist story gone wrong (and stealth Shadowman crossover) is pushed to another level, as our two protagonists butt heads on opposite sides of the law.

This is the second half of the Quantum/Woody “breakup” story from last issue, where straight-laced Eric gives up on trying to reform/redeem his crook brother Woody after the latter can’t go a single day living as a regular, law-abiding citizen. That first issue nailed something perfectly tragic about Woody that’s easy to miss in between the jokes: he’s been a screw-up for so long, he lacks to social skills to be anything else. I’m half-convinced that he was half-trying last issue to get a job, get a bank account, and get his life together, not realizing that to do all of that, he can’t be, well, Woody.

This issue, Woody drops all pretense at going straight, hooking up with his bad girl ex Jacklean for a heist at the Smithsonian. And wouldn’t you know it, a security firm has hired Eric to guard the Smithsonian after a credible threat comes in that someone is about to hit the museum. The heist gets weird, dark powers are unleashed, and Woody attacks his brother with a Muppet.

Asmus and Kano jumble the timeline a bit, jumping between the heist, Eric having a heart-to-heart with Woody’s clone girlfriend Sixty-Nine (yeah…), and flashbacks to Woody’s misspent youth with the incredibly sketchy Jacklean, while present-day Woody and Jacklean’s gang prep for the heist.

The look and feel of the comic – from the moody overhead shots, to the rough-hewn criminals in the heist crew – all give this issue the impression of being a crime comic. Meanwhile Quantum and Woody’s acting play a direct contrast, selling the comedy of the story. Woody is always lank, loose and occupying more space than would be comfortable for anyone around him while Eric keeps his shoulders low, his body compact and coiled. Kano visualizes all of the personality tics that Asmus lays out in the script.

Kano is able to go broad and match the goofier elements of the script, like Woody’s freakout about the fate of Zip, while pulling things back to human dimensions such as the flashback where we see how Woody/Jacklean’s last childhood interaction went down (the subtitle on that being, “Why Woody is a mess around women”).

In the near-term, Asmus has set some antagonists at the periphery of the story against the Henderson boys, although I wonder if we’ll see any repercussions to Woody’s interaction with the Voodoo world. In the shorter term still, it looks like Quantum and Woody might be a little screwed.

Quantum and Woody #10 is available now from Valiant Comics.

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