By Zack Quaintance — Eliot Rahal took this book over starting with Quantum and Woody! #6, following a five-issue run by writer Daniel Kibblesmith, who is (objectively) one of the funniest writers in all of comics. Basically, to use a cliche, Rahal had HUGE shoes to fill, humor-wise...which is why what he did with the first two issues of this run was so surprising and impressive.
Rahal didn’t try to match or outdo Kibblesmith’s jokes, or even to maintain a similar tone, really. There were hints of the goofy character dynamic that drives this franchise, but Rahal largely pushed it in new directions, writing a first issue that stripped the titular characters of their powers and made them prove themselves as heroes anyway, which they did in poignant fashion. Rahal then followed that excellent story up with a fever dream of an issue that delved deeply into our characters’ psyches.
Now, in Quantum and Woody! #8 he gets to the business of re-grounding the book a bit in this franchise’s signature tone—its humor—but because of the hard work he did as a storyteller in his first two installments, it's easy to be vested in the goofy moments. I’m not tearing up at Woody’s pithy one-liners (of which there are many), but I do care a little bit more about both of these heroes after what Rahal has put them through (and continues to put them through). I also really like how he continues to build on his first issues. This is a new arc and jumping on point, to be sure, but there’s a lot here for readers who are already on the book.
Joe Eisma’s artwork (with colors by the always-great Andrew Dalhouse) is also a great fit. For readers of his recent run on Archie with all-time great comic writer Mark Waid, this hardly comes as a surprise. Eisma is able to oscillate without strain between moments of heavy character reactions and action sequences or site gags—whatever the script calls for, he nails it. His work isn’t as intricate as some other Valiant artists, but Quantum and Woody! is a unique corner of the Valiant Universe, and Eisma expertly draws it that way.
Overall: All three issues of the Eliot Rahal run on Quantum and Woody! so far have been vastly different yet equally as interesting and great. Rahal and his collaborators are doing a really impressive job drilling into these characters to find new ground for fresh stories. 8.5/10
Hear Quantum and Woody! artist Joe Eisma's recent appearance on the WMQ&A Podcast!