by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
…story is an apple and plot is the arrow through the apple.
Chuck Wendig, Damn Fine Story
It can be hard to know what a story is about based on its first chapter. Put in terms of the analogy quoted above, it can be hard to guess the shape of the apple when the arrow has only just started to pierce it. At least, assuming the path of the arrow is linear. If, instead, that first chapter jumps around the edges of a story enough, it might start to imply the shape that narrative will ultimately take. Such is the case with Quantum and Woody 1, which skips between various moments in the lives of its titular duo, but always keeps their relationship at its center.
Writer Daniel Kibblesmith smartly starts us at the start of their brotherhood, as Eric Henderson tries to relate to his newly adopted brother, Woody. Eric is a prototypical nerd with a rich fantasy life and a predilection for rules. Woody, on the other hand, is more of an unchecked id, only convinced to try out Eric’s Dungeons and Dragons stand-in with the promise of lushly painted boobs. It’s a dynamic that defines their adulthoods, first as a mismatched superhero duo, then as estranged brothers leading decidedly different lives.
Simply skipping to this point in their lives suggests that the story may be about how they grew apart (and how they’ll grow back together), but then Kibblesmith gives us one last flashback to fill in the picture: the reveal of Woody’s not-dead-after-all biological father. Suddenly, Woody’s reckless hedonism and Eric’s quiet stoicism take on new dimensions, jerking the narrative in a whole new direction while still giving us a deep sense of what this story is.
Meanwhile, artist Kano is finding his own path through the apple, breaking up larger panels with smaller insets that guide our eye (and understanding) around the scene. The effect is something like a microcosm of the issue as a whole, focusing in on only select moments and details of contiguous events.
That particular layout has the added benefit of launching our eye upwards to Woody’s “faster idea,” creating even more motion in an already dizzying spread.
Which is to say, all of the parts of this issue worked like gangbusters for me. I’m excited to get to know these characters, and confident these creators will communicate exactly what they need to when they need to. It’s an assured mission statement for this series, and one I can’t wait to see backed up by future issues.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?