Quantum Teens Are Go Vol. 1
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Eryk Donovan
Colorist: Claudia Aguirre
Letterer: Zakk Saam
Publisher: Black Mask Comics
Review By Sean Frankling
Quantum Teens Are Go! is going to be a cult classic, I just know it. It tells the story of teen lovers Sumesh and Natalie as they raid abandoned high science laboratories for parts to build their time machine — and hopefully discover what happened to Sumesh’s missing parents.
The result is high-tech action told with attitude. Specifically rebellious teenage attitude, which Visaggio writes with startling authenticity. Sumesh and Natalie are sweetly romantic with each other, snarky around their friends and moody punks to just about everyone else. At first, that dynamic almost makes them seem fractured — like different people from scene to scene. But Visaggio succeeds in fusing it all into a believable look at teen life.
Donovan’s art shines here, too. His dynamic framing and a cinematic sense of pacing bring both action and character scenes to life. And that works perfectly with Visaggo’s naturalistic dialogue. It almost feels more like live-action film than a comic book. Together, they evoke exactly the B-movie sci-fi feel the comic needs. Campy enough to include bionic arm cannons and time travel and grounded enough to build a world that feels lived-in.
Quantum Teens Are Go! is going to be a particularly big hit with the LGBQT+ community thanks to its matter-of-fact depiction of Natalie’s transgirl identity. That aspect consistently informs her character as part of a nuanced person, not just a one-note token. It comes up naturally, both as she mentions it and as other characters bully her. But those struggles never prevent her from being a part of the bigger adventure around her. As a result, Quantum Teens Are Go is a successful example of trans representation in comics: it’s just a reality of life in the midst of a classic action story.
Unfortunately, Quantum Teens Are Go! comes apart toward the end. As discussed above, it builds a lived-in world and the set-up for a high science adventure. But it never quite delivers on the weirdness it always seems to be building up to. In fact, by the third act, the big reveal of why Sumesh’s parents disappeared comes out point-blank in a standard “villain explains her plan” monologue. The climax itself has plenty of action, but then it drops off all at once. The Quantum Teens win, technically. But there’s not much sense that they’ve overcome anything. In Natalie and Sumesh get everything they’ve ever wanted. But somehow, that isn’t as satisfying as it should be. Instead, it comes off as an almost accidental happy ending to a story that would have otherwise petered out. It just doesn’t feel like the resolution all that brilliant set-up demanded.
The Verdict: Skip it.
Quantum Teens Are Go! does a lot of things very well. And as I said in my introduction, I know it’ll find its audience and they’re going to love it. But its frankly rushed ending really does hurt the staying power of its story. So for most readers, I’d recommend giving it a miss.