Rock of Ages #1 (of 12)
I always seem to get the alternate timeline stories, here…
Having been on the other end of amateur press, it pains me greatly to review one that, despite the massive effort that I’m sure went into it, just isn’t very good. There’s nothing terribly overwhelming about Quantum—yet—that makes me want to scream “jump out and buy this.” Still, I know that putting together a comic essentially alone, up against Godzillas of industry like Image, DC, and Marvel, is a commendable effort for a little guy, and I do hope that the story turns around in the future.
Quantum begins in an alternate universe where—sigh—Hitler’s forces won World War II. Alternate timeline stories have never tackled that one before. Some crazy scientist is experimenting on a strange crystal called the Quantum Silica and somehow shatters it, sending chunks of the damned thing skittering throughout the multi-verse. Cut to our timeline where Nick Vargas, a musician and record-store clerk from Chicago, finds himself suddenly subject to strange hallucinations.
Nick soon learns he must come to grips with the fact that he can phase between universes because a chunk of the Quantum Silica seems to have LODGED ITSELF IN HIS HEAD. More inconvenienced than in any way worried by a wad of other-dimensional rock appearing in his frontal lobe, Nick ventures out to work, accidentally travels back to Nazi land where he somehow rescues the scientist who miraculously survived the tremendous explosion he caused. Of course, the scientist, too, shares a similar scrap of plot device shrapnel in his chest. Presumably, these shards are shared by the characters on the back cover, who appear to be a pop star, a homeless guy, a football player, a naked black chick, and Agent Smith from The Matrix.
Rounding out the book are heartfelt writer’s notes and a “Who’s Who” style write-up of character Nick Vargas, which is rather redundant seeing how we just spent the entire comic learning the stuff presented in the dossier, and anything we didn’t know would have been more fun to learn in the pages of the story.
Independent comics are a brutal, cutthroat, nasty business. If you’re coming without DC, Image, Marvel, or some comparable logo on your cover, you had better come correct with the writing, art, or preferably both. Quantum, so far, does neither. The art, while not terrible, isn’t much better than standard amateur fare. However, this is just the beginning of the story. Perhaps it will improve in future issues. The book has heart. Sadly, it just doesn’t seem to have much else.