Cover to ‘Quantum Teens Are Go’ #1. Art by Eryk Donovan and Claudia Aguirre/Black Mask Studios

By Stefania Rudd. Full of propulsive momentum and energetic like an amphetamine-fueled punk show, the first issue of Quantum Teens Are Go is about as high energy as Black Mask Studios gets. Introducing us to two So-Cal high schoolers and simultaneously making us fall in love with them, Teens is fronted by Nat and Sumesh, wickedly smart science lovers with big plans beyond the school science fair. These kids are great.

Nat and Sumesh have the lofty goal of building a time-machine, which requires that they nick parts from abandoned super labs throughout Los Angeles in order to make that happen. However, as is often the case in affairs such as these, there are ominous forces that are doing their best to stop that from happening. Nat and Sumesh, it would seem, are changing the future.

Writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Eryk Donovan team up to tell us a story that carries a sense of familiarity, but they make it relevant to our tastes by allowing us to get to know the lives of the lead characters beyond their smarter-than-thou high school sneers. As it stands, Nat and Sumesh are very much in love, Nat is trans, and no, they don’t care what you think about that. In fact, Visaggio does a wonderful job in unwrapping scenarios to illustrate this; one of the more poignant moments being the attempts of Nat’s mother to understand the bullying Nat endures at school by a cruel classmate. (She crashes so hard at doing so it’s enough to make you wince, which shows how adept Visaggio can be in moments like these.)

Nat and Sumesh see themselves as part of the Exxie community, which is a punk-physics/mad-science-type school of thought. They’re striving to make a path for themselves in this world, so they try to enlist the help of Odyssey (an Exxie offshoot), but are shot down by their leader, Zero. Not because she isn’t impressed with their ambition; they’re just a bit too green. Events unfold later on that suggest this won’t always be the case.

The art by Donovan and colorist Claudia Aguirre give the story a gritty, punk industrial feel. From Nat’s fishnets to Sumesh’s tattered Star Wars tee to Zero’s tattoo sleeve there are specific details that help to establish a character’s identity and life choices. I also appreciate that the settings are just as much of a thought to the overall artwork. Whether in the lab or at Odyssey, the richness of Teens‘ environments are solid.

Quantum Teens Are Go is off to a great start. The premise is solid, the art is scuzzy perfection, and the possibilities are endless. And true to its characters, the book is anchored by the strength of two kids doing something completely new. Something completely daring. Nat and Sumesh. Visaggio and Donovan. All of them are the future.

Black Mask Studios/$3.99

Written by Magdalene Visaggio.

Art by Eryk Donovan and Claudia Aguirre.

Letters by Zakk Samm.

8 out of 10