October 14, 2013

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Christopher Priest Returns to Comics (and Quantum and Woody)

I'm super excited about the fact that one of my favorite writers, Christopher Priest, is returning to comics work again.

Priest, who wrote some really great Spider-Man comics in the 80s but whose signature work (for me) will always be his work on defining Black Panther as a character before he was wrecked for a time by another writer. (The fact that Bendis and Hickman's Illuminati Panther hews much more closely to Priest's version tells you everything you need to know about the re-working post-Priest.)

His writing is complex, crisp, and compelling, able to, like Peter David or Mark Waid, tell a long-form story within smaller chunks that readers new and old can enjoy. He's great with character history, yet feels free to go into his own areas when it suits him.

In this case, Valiant's brought Priest in to make a mini-series about the original version of Quantum and Woody, characters that Priest co-created along with artist M.D. Bright, who is also doing the art for this series. Set in the same world as the original series (so it's not linked to Valiant's current universe) but twenty years later, it looks like not all is harmony between the two former partners.

Valiant gives the following plot description in their press release:

Whatever happened to the world's worst superhero team? Twenty years past their prime, the unlikely crime-fighting duo known as Quantum and Woody have long since parted ways and retired…until a middle-aged Quantum suddenly reappears with a brand-new teenage partner—and his wisecracking ex-best friend gets mad. Now Woody is out to break up the all-new, all-different Quantum and Woody and put an end to Quantum's recklessness and child endangerment…just as Quantum sets out to bring down a shadowy, globe-spanning agency of freelance spies and assassins. As Quantum's plan crumbles right through Woody's fingers, will the former friends set aside their differences…and their age…and their numerous health difficulties…to join forces one last time without driving each other crazy?
Gotta love that Odd Couple reference in there.

This is new territory for Valiant, who have done an amazing job of rebuilding their brand. I think it's smart to keep this outside the current Valiant U, so that anyone who just wants to read this can do so without having to be drawn into the other books. At the same time, if they like this, it might get them trying the current book, and Valiant wins either way.

This one is not unlike the Claremont X-Men Legacy series for Marvel or even that company's "The End" series, where classic creators are brought on to finish out their tales. I think it's a great idea, though one that might be difficult in other cases for Valiant characters.

This should be a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to reading about it. For more information, check out this interview Newsarama did with Priest and Bright about the announcement.