Christopher Priest and MD Bright return to their cult classic creations with “Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody” #1, a mini series that picks up decades after the original in the storyline. It’s mostly setup and reintroductions, but is entertaining while it does the heavy lifting of catching up new readers and showing old ones where the story fits in to the world’s most dysfunctional superheroes’ world.
Looking to get the drop on a theft at the Guggenheim, Quantum ambushes the scene of the crime in conjunction with theÂ police, who are actually The Sword arriving to kill them both. After Quantum is thrown out of a window, a middle-aged Woody arrives to take care of his better half, only to find a stranger under the mask and someone else claiming to be Woody under the lid of an urban assault tank.
Priest and Bright slip right back in to these characters with ease. Priest has always had a knack for balancing comedy and drama through character development and Bright’s pencils would fit in perfectly with the ’90s run of the book. The flashback sequences return to enrich and inform our knowledge of who Eric and Woody both are as people and how they play off one another. Priest breaks the comedy with drama and the drama with comedy with perfect timing. The opening flashback scene opens with a dramatic reveal, pushing in to a funny character enrichment moment with teenage Eric and Woody before taking another dramatic left turn. The drama screw continues to turn through our first look at modern Quantum, only to release with the arrival of modern Woody. These two characters are a perfect foil for one another, adding something to the other’s life that each sorely needs. Eric has allowed the paramilitary drama of his life to escalate to a point that he now has a new street team patrolling in a parody of a getaway vehicle. Woody has meanwhile allowed his hedonistic view of life to let him grow complacent and soft, already peaked without the discipline Eric added to his world when they were stuck together. It’s a great way to reintroduce the dynamic between the two, and show how a Quantum and Woody story is told.
Bright’s pencils are in line with the look of the original tales, slightly looser, reminiscent of the angular edges of Joe Stanton and the brushed lines of Neal Adams. His panel layouts are standard but effective, knowing when to use a splash page and when to expand and contract panel sizes to compliment the tone of the script. Dexter Vines’ inks hold it all together well, and Allen Passalaqua’s colors provide appropriate mood for the shifts the story takes.
“Q2” is a return-to-form for one of the most underrated titles of the ’90s. Priest leaves readers with a cliffhanger and Bright gives just enough of a peek in the final panel to make the reader want to pick up the next issue to see what happens next. This is a nostalgia trip that sneaks in a great story. Anyone worried about this team returning to their old roost and not matching up to their original work need not worry. Quantum and Woody are back and it feels like they never left.