Teenage Wasteland by Magdelene Visaggio (Writer), Jenn Vaughn (Art), Stelladia (Colors), and Zakk Saam (Letters) is a fun and exciting adventure/sci-fi/'90s drama. As a fan of all of the categories into which this comic fits, I have to say Visaggio and Vaughn deliver an enormously entertaining story with stellar art to accompany their saga.
Ellie, a Smashing Pumpkins-listening, glum, rebellious teenager has been moved to Colorado by her mother following the death of her father. Finding no solace in the Rockies, she finds it in friendship with Rowe, a classmate who teaches Ellie to take her anger, frustration, and sadness, and transform it into rebellion. Introduced to a new group of friends, Ellie finds her niche with a rag tag team of school-skipping teens. But, things are not as they seem, and these seemingly innocent cohorts are actually the protectors of the Earth!
Visaggio hits the nail on the head with her characterization of Ellie. Mixing humor with real anguish and grief, she makes Ellie relatable; not only as a teenager finding her way in the world, but as a young woman who has lost someone close to her, who can't find a way to express that anger, thus amplifying those normal adolescent fights with her mother. The feeling of belonging in a new place, finding your own way, and dealing with grief are coupled extremely well with science fiction and fantasy. I didn't know what to expect going in; was this a book for teens? Yes and no. Was this a girl power book which I , a 32 year old male may not relate to? Yes to the girl power, no to being unrelatable. Visaggio writes so well that anyone can get into this story, and I surely have. I mean, who doesn't love the Smashing Pumpkins?
Vaughn and Stelladia do an amazing job in the art department. Vibrant colors, smooth contours, and juxtaposition of everyday life with the extraordinary, make this book a pleasure to look at. The art flows seamlessly, moving the story along at a fast and fun pace. Saam's lettering works really well and makes the read smooth and enjoyable.
I urge any fan of sci-fi/ fantasy, anyone who's been through grief, teen angst, and feelings of not belonging to check this book out. The creative team have made something special and thanks to Comixology, it can be shared with the masses!