QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO by Magdalene Visaggio and Eryk Donovan
Magdalene Visaggio and Eryk Donovan's QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO series delivers compelling science fiction and empathetic characters.
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A Touching Travel

QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO, from Black Mask Studios, is a four-issue series written by Magdalene Visaggio, with art by Eryk Donovan and color by Claudia Aguirre. In this story, two teen scientists — Sumesh and Natalie — try to build a time machine. Sumesh and Natalie are desperate for a one-way ticket to anywhere (or anytime) to escape their lives. However, in their attempts, they get more than they bargain for with mysterious, intangible strangers and shady scientists who sabotage. This is a truly wonderful and accessible comic, which gives real, relatable characters to those media tend to ignore.

Talk Science to Me

The plot of QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO is compelling and layered with depth. Still, the science terminology and the world building is accessible. The story takes place in Los Angeles, California, which is ordinary enough. However, the Los Angeles of this comic has security robots, abandoned superlabs, and exclusive science teams. Visaggio incorporates the fictional world attributes with ease. She gives details to readers in a way which is natural rather than expositional.

Image from QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO #1, courtesy of Black Mask Studios.

Visaggio doesn’t get overly complex with the science of the story. When the jargon gets to be a little unclear, the disparity of scientific knowledge between Sumesh and Natalie allows for the opportunity for clarification. When the dialogue gets technically heavy, all Natalie has to do is throw some questions at her boyfriend. Again, this is done seamlessly, and avoids talking down to readers.

WATCH: Are you a fan of Magdalene Visaggio? Check out this interview from the Five Points Festival 2017!

Diversity Done Right

QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO is a great comic to read now during Pride Month, as Natalie is a young transwoman. As a transwoman herself, Visaggio does an amazing job of bringing an authentic trans experience to the page. Nat is a fully developed character beyond her transgender identity. Her struggles as a transwoman are not the only focus of the comic. She has the gift of agency in the story, as well as a narrative that is separate from her queer identity.

Image from QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO #2, courtesy of Black Mask Studios

There is an importance to the nuance of Nat’s character. The story shows the prejudice and struggles that Nat faces because she’s public with her identity. However, it doesn’t exploit her experiences. While the underlying reason for Natalie wanting to build a time machine is to escape her parents and their refusal to understand her, she is so much more than her pain. She is strength, as seen both in her determination to help Sumesh with the time machine and in her bravery in physically taking on robots and time travelers. She’s a loving girlfriend, a struggling student, and a skater chick. Most of all, she’s a pretty bad ass heroine.

Edgy Artwork

Donovan’s artwork in QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO implements a rough style. The lines aren’t as clean as in other comics, which gives the story a grittier style. It fits well both with the mystery and danger and the general high school experience. It certainly pairs well with the punk aesthetic that Nat embraces, and gives readers a view of how she might see the world.

READ: For more punk trans feminism, check out this review of KIM AND KIM #1!

Aguirre’s coloring really enhances the fun of the story. Panels with high emotion or action have enhancement from bright, bold colors. The combined effort of penciling and coloring toward the scientific aspects are breathtaking. The machines are so out of this world, and yet there’s a real life and energy to them which draws me in as a reader.

Image from QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO #3, courtesy of Black Mask Studios

Final Thoughts on QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO

QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO has a delightful balance of science and action. The characters are interesting and well-rounded. Even when there are moments you doubt what they’re trying to do, you still root for them. Bottom line: this comic is an excellent science fiction story, divorced of what it does for transgender representation. When you add what a great character like Nat does for a group of people who often lack acknowledgment? This comic is not one anyone should miss. Issues #1-#3 are available on Black Mask Studios’ online store, and the complete series is now available on Comixology.

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