"Harbinger Wars 2" begins this May, and the Valiant-wide effects begin to be felt in May 30’s Quantum & Woody #6 – with a new writer and artist who are taking away the “Klang.”
Writer Eliot Rahal and arist Francis Portela join the Valiant series just as Livewire shuts down power across the continental United States – including that of Quantum and Woody’s quantum bands. Those bands give them their powers, but also – when working – prevent them from being atomized after 24 hours. So the lock is ticking as the Valiant duo have to find a solution.
Spoilers: they might not find a solution.
Newsarama spoke with Rahal about receiving the baton from current Quantum & Woody writer Daniel Kibblesmith (who he’s worked with in the past), and also the details of the powerless Quantum & Woody inside "Harbinger Wars 2".
Newsarama: Eliot, what led you to wanting to go "Klang" with Valiant's Quantum & Woody?
Eliot Rahal: I’m a fan! I just super-connect with Quantum and Woody on a personal level. I mean… I have an older brother. He was a U.S. Marine. He’s got a graduate degree in Economics. He’s the ultimate dad now, which is so beautiful. The point is, we are completely opposite people. And yet… He’s my brother. I still love him no matter what. No matter how different we are.
Nrama: You're coming to this after doing some shorter projects for Valiant in the past - so what makes Quantum & Woody stand out, and help you step up?
Rahal: What makes these characters so unique is their universality. I think their story is the story of a lot of people with siblings, regardless of a good or a fractious relationship. Eric and Woody have a story that a lot of people can tap into. They are very accessible. It’s something really exciting to be a part of.
Nrama: You're taking over this title from Daniel Kibblesmith, whom you happen to be friends and sometimes co-writers with. What was the “passing of the torch” process like for this?
Rahal: I’ve known Daniel since our pre-comic book days in Chicago. I’ve gotten to work with and collaborate with him on several different projects, which was a great source of joy. And his run on Quantum & Woody has been bonkers good. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to be handed this opportunity. Daniel has been kind and generous with his time. His storytelling has been exceptional, and his insight has been invaluable. I honestly think he might be almost more excited about this than me. It’s been a really special process. I love Daniel’s work. I love Daniel.
Nrama: You're taking over this title just as the line-wide “Harbinger Wars 2” event begins. How is that affecting your plans for the duo and the title?
Rahal: The events of “Harbinger Wars 2” are capital “B” big. Quantum and Woody, although loud voices, occupy a very small part of the Valiant Universe. That’s a really fun power dynamic to play with. So, I’m treating the fallout from “Harbinger Wars 2” like it’s an unavoidable disaster. An act of God. It’s too huge of a crisis for them to solve. They just have to deal with it. Quantum and Woody can only try to survive and do what good they can along the way.
Nrama: So here you have Livewire plunging the entire U.S. into darkness, without technology - including the quantum bands. What does that mean for Quantum and Woody?
Rahal: A sudden and total power outage hits the world… Can you imagine? There are going to be catastrophes, there’s going to be violence. A lot of people are going to need help. Quantum and Woody will have to ask themselves a few important questions. Are Quantum and Woody really heroes without their powers? If their bands aren’t working, will they still disintegrate? “Harbinger Wars 2” forces Eric and Woody to become (even more) uncertain.
Nrama: What kind of heroes are they without the powers and everything that comes with the quantum bands?
Rahal: Not having the quantum bands in play allows us to really strip away everything and focus on the characters. We see their true selves for a moment. Two regular brothers, who are deeply flawed people, who try to do something good. That’s what we see. We see them act as who they really are.
Nrama: So what are Q and W fighting against, in addition to just time?
Rahal: Themselves, of course, but also just like.. total and complete chaos. Everything is falling apart at the seams. The world has literally stopped working.
Nrama: How'd you figure out the consequences of not klanging for 24 hours?
Rahal: I’m getting as weird as I can possibly get. So far no one has stopped me.