Underrated: Quantum And Woody (2013)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Quantum And Woody (2013).

This is actually the cover to the second printing of the hardcover which as of this writing is still available.

Quantum and Woody, often called the World’s Worst Superhero Team, are a pair of adoptive brothers from Valiant Entertainment who have to touch the bracelets on their arms once every twenty four hours or they’ll… simply cease to be. The reason they have to touch these bracelets is also the cause of their powers – a rogue science experiment of some kind that leads to two very unlikely people getting super powers.

Where this story differs from most other superhero stories is that the two heroes are both immediately at odds with each other whilst still being extremely close. Quantum, real name Eric Henderson, and Woody, real name Woody Henderson are adoptive brothers. One, obviously, wants to hide his identity, the other believes secret identities are pointless. There’s also the super powered goat who may or may not be the brother’s dead father, who keeps trying to tell them this in ever increasingly inventive and entertaining ways.

This volume of Quantum And Woody collects the entire twelve issue run of the title series, along with a bonus zero issue featuring the Goat, which is a great way to get the entire story in one sitting (the second volume collects various miniseries featuring the two, which are also worth reading – but aren’t the subject of today’s column.

Once upon a time, Eric and Woody Henderson were inseparable. Adopted brothers. Best friends. Brilliant minds. Years later, they are estranged siblings, petty rivals, and washed-up failures. But when their father’s murder leads them into the throes of a life-altering scientific accident, Eric and Woody will find themselves with a whole new purpose — and a perfectly legitimate reason to wear costumes and fight crime. Go big or go home, folks! 

With a blurb like this…

Perhaps one of the things I was most taken with in the book was just how dysfunctional everything was. The story shouldn’t have worked – there were so many disjointed moments and plot threads that had no theme other than the brothers stumbled into the events because they were trying to just live. Not live as superheroes, but as regular people who need to literally find a job in order to pay bills, rent and deal with the recent death of their father – but through all of this they somehow get wrapped up in a plot to start a civil war, stop a high tech crime spree and not kill each other.

You’d think that as two brothers who hadn’t seen each other in years would just go back to being estranged after getting superpowers, but they have to touch, or Klang!, their bracelets together once every 24 hours or they’ll cease to exist for superhero science reasons. What that means for us, is that as readers we get to explore a very common (sadly) familial relationship through the eyes of superheroes.

It is at once funny, endearing and somewhat frustrating as the two brothers try to learn to live together once again. And maybe save a few people in the process.

Quantum And Woody Deluxe Edition Volume One is one of those books that was far too easy to devour in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every issue within the collection – and highly recommend you checking it out when you get a chance.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.