For some reason, it always seems like every Black Mask title that I get has an extremely long name: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, We Can Never Go Home, and now Quantum Teens are a Go. Fortunately, these long names only seem to positively correlate with the quality of the books because Quantum Teens was incredible. The writing and art were both of high caliber, and they definitely peaked my jealousy. Magdalene seemed to have a ton of fun with the scripts, which was reflected well from both of the artists Eryk and Claudia.
There are some minor fixes that I would suggest to Magdalene for her future issues, but they are not drastic. The first being the amount of exposition. There felt like a constant ebb between concise dialogue and bloated exposition; I know this is usually the standard for starting a story, but I will always suggest that a writer should cut as much of these fruitless blocks of text as possible. The next suggestion is to just be weary of trying to scientifically legitimize everything because usually one of two things can happen: You either have no knowledge of the topic (or you know very little), and your story comes off as inane, or you know, and you’ll go over your readers heads; Nothing good can come of either. A quote I always keep in mind, “Write what you know emotionally, not intellectually”.
Enough about the critique, let’s get the fun part. The great thing about Magdalene is how focused she is on creating characters. Whether it is in the dialogue, or just how they interact with the plot, her characters feel alive and vibrant. When each character speaks, you know who the speech bubble belongs to, which is really difficult to achieve. More specifically, for this book, what really spoke to me was the fact that the female lead had more to her identity than just having transitioned from a male. She was intelligent, fearless, and hopelessly in love. I sincerely applaud Magdalene for going beyond the Marvel/DC cardboard token minorities and giving us a person whose gender/sexuality is not the end-all-be-all for her achievements and personality. Oh! And Magdalene’s pacing was solid. She made great use of contracting and expanding the passage of time between the scenes. I was fairly impressed by both her and the artists on this.
Speaking of which, what about the art? In short, amazing. All of the visual storytelling in this issue is some of the best work I have seen in a very long time. Eryk absolutely nailed the pencils this round. He worked a ton of emotion into the character, along with a ton of movement. No panel seemed to stagnate what-so-ever. And his inking was also on point. His deep, rich, blacks really pulled the perspective together. I mean, that very first panel blew me away, and I am still looking at it, trying to figure out how he did what he did.
It wasn’t all Eryk either. Claudia did equally amazing with the color, which really pulled this whole book together. For me, it was awe-inspiring. I read this whole issue scratching my head trying to figure out how she would even start these paintings, no less finish them; and although they are digital, there were some spots where the colors were indistinguishable between their traditional watercolor counterparts.
Altogether, this issue was very fun to read. Both the art and the writing have me excited for the next issue. They somehow managed to take a watercolored, self-published, indie book with the finish of the mainstream, big budget, comic. I am definitely giving Quantum Teens Are a Go a buy, and if you cannot afford it now at least get the trade once it is out. Easily 4 out of 5 stars.
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Pencils/Inks: Eryk Donovan
Colors: Claudia Aguirre
IN STORES 2/22/2017