Best Shots Review: QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO #4 Heartfelt & Eye-Popping (9/10)

"Quantum Teens are Go #4" preview
Credit: Eryk Donovan/Claudia Aguirre/Zackk Saam (Black Mask Studios)
Credit: Eryk Donovan/Claudia Aguirre/Zackk Saam (Black Mask Studios)

Quantum Teens are Go #4
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Art by Eryk Donovan, Claudia Aguirre
Lettering by Zackk Saam
Published by Black Mask Studios
Review by C.K. Stewart
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Credit: Eryk Donovan/Claudia Aguirre/Zackk Saam (Black Mask Studios)

It’s the end of the line for teen geniuses Nat and Sumesh. Their stolen tech swiped once again by the mysterious Zero, Nat and Sumesh find themselves facing down a battalion of heavily-armed goons with the questionable assistance of Odyssey expatriate Wayne in this finale of Quantum Teens are Go. Mad science may, in fact, be very punk, but it’s also an incredibly dangerous hobby for two teens to navigate on top of missing families, transition, and normal high school homework. In this final issue of Magdalene Visaggio’s second miniseries, we find out exactly how dangerous, and just how complicated Nat and Sumesh’s lives really are - surprisingly, all thanks to Zero herself.

Quantum Teens are Go #4’s biggest twists also manage to be its greatest weakness. Visaggio covers a great deal of narrative ground in this issue, and while the revelations will cause exciting "Ah ha!"'s as pieces from the previous three issues drop into place, the story still feels rushed and slightly unfinished. What had previously been a well-paced series ends with an issue that feels as if someone’s hit fast-forward on the last 10 minutes of a movie you really want to finish before you’ve got to make an appointment.

Credit: Eryk Donovan/Claudia Aguirre/Zackk Saam (Black Mask Studios)

To their credit, Visaggio and co-creator/artist Eryk Donovan do an excellent job keeping the issue from feeling bogged down in text-heavy villainous monologuing. Quantum Teens are Go #4 isn’t bad by any stretch, just a bit brusque; Donovan’s emotive art and interesting layouts, particularly a series of emotional close-ups on Sumesh, get across the surreal and overwhelming shock of Zero’s revelations with expressive and deceptively simple scenes that bolster Visaggio’s succinct, tight dialogue. While the final act hints at a bigger universe and almost-alternate history that will leave you wistful for just a few more pages, Visaggio does manage to give the series a strong emotional conclusion, closing the book with beautifully illustrated panels from Donovan and colorist Claudia Aguirre that capture the true heart of what made Quantum Teens are Go such an intriguing series to follow.

Credit: Eryk Donovan/Claudia Aguirre/Zackk Saam (Black Mask Studios)

At the heart of the book are Nat and Sumesh, high school sweethearts with a shared passion making their relationship work in the face of overwhelming personal struggles - Sumesh and his missing family, Natalie and the reaction of others to her transition. The sci-fi narrative that surrounds them may not reach a fully satisfying conclusion, but their love story does all the same, and ultimately the focus on their relationship and the relatability of their struggles is what makes Quantum Teens work. It’s a story of family.

The story of losing one, through mysterious circumstances or because they can’t conceptualize how to support your decision to be who you are, a person they might not want to know. The story of creating one, whether it’s learning to open yourself to unlikely friendships or forging a path to an uncertain future with the person you love, someone who wholeheartedly accepts who you are and where you came from, no matter what. Even if this final issue doesn’t end with as much of a bang as it might have with a little more space, Visaggio and Donovan created a pulp sci-fi world changed forever by two unlikely young heroes, and Donovan, Aguirre, and letterer Zakk Saam turned it into a visual treat, one that will be heartfelt and eye-popping in equal measure with each future re-read.

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