The return to the old Valiant Quantum and Woody wraps its nostalgia trip with a big action finale full of revelations, sacrifice and the gang getting back together. Priest delivers a lot of exposition up top, which is necessary to smooth out the complex plot established in the previous four issues, before diving into a quick finish that leaves the characters little room on the page to process the proceedings.
The story spends a lot of time at the gala with Eric locked in political and ethical debate regarding the synthetic humans coveted by various governments and targeted by Koro. It feels like it slams the brakes on the overall plot to drop a Wikipedia entry’s worth of science that winds up feeling overwritten, which is surprising for Priest, who is usually concise with his information and sharp with his dialogue. There is a bit of pallor over the story; much of the light-hearted fun is missing from the book and, though “Quantum & Woody” was always known for going both light and dark, there is far less of a balance than usual.
The Woodys have a great back and forth throughout the story and it’s a fun change to see older Woody assume the more straight-shooter role usually reserved for Eric in his usual superhero dynamic. Synthetic Woody gets a big hero moment, allowing himself a chance to make his fate a choice of his own free will and giving the original duo a chance to reignite their powers. It’s the money shot of the miniseries but they get precious little panel time before the story is wrapped up. The structure of the abrupt ending leaves the door open for a chance to visit them again in the future.
Ryan Winn’s inks smooth out MD Bright’s pencils well. The action and pacing is exactly what you’d expect from the creative team. Bright drops an iconic splash page on the proceedings, re-introducing Quantum and Woody after their powers return. Winn evens out some of the harder edges in the art and adds soft textures and depth to the page.
Overall, the return of Priest and Bright brought a lot of the same magic that made “Quantum & Woody” so great in the 90s but lost momentum in the home stretch. The ending hit fast and wrapped up quickly, which felt slightly unsatisfying, though it’s possible this is merely the start of a much bigger story. That the story exists at all and is successful on any level is a huge accomplishment. This series was a much beloved cult classic and getting a sequel so many years later speaks to the fan base and also Valiant’s understanding of their audience and intellectual property. If this is the last time the duo ride off together, then it’s a thrill that they finally do so on their own terms.