20 most upbeat superhero stories

4 of 21

Cover of Quantum and Woody Must Die! #1(Image via Valiant Comics)

18. Quantum & Woody

As much as everyone likes to talk about the massive superhero universes of Marvel and DC Comics, it would serve you well to remember that they’re not the only businesses in town. There’s plenty of other comics outfits, from the large Dark Horse Comics and Image, to comparatively smaller operations like Boom! Studios and Valiant.

In fact, Valiant Comics gives us our next upbeat series, via the crime fighting duo of Quantum and Woody. They begin their story as two brothers — Woody is the adopted brother of Eric. Where Eric is serious and disciplined, Woody is a freewheeling sort of vagabond. Despite their differences, the duo become close friends.

Woody lives with Eric’s family for nine years before vanishing, however. The two brothers only reunite at their father’s funeral, whereupon they butt heads. Their father, by the way, was a high-level scientist who died under mysterious circumstances. This doesn’t exactly set the stage for a warm, friendly family reunion.

Their father’s death, however, is suspicious enough that the pair team up to investigate. This leads them to break into their father’s lab. They then manage to inadvertently activate a machine that essentially irradiates them before it explodes. Eric and Woody survive, only to discover that they now have cool energy-based superpowers. Unfortunately, they must also stay in close contact with one another or risk dissolving.

Woody and Quantum (Eric’s chosen superhero name) are also accompanied by Vincent Van Goat, a lab animal who has hidden superpowers itself. The Goat possesses heat vision, the limited ability to fly, and may or may not be their father.