Writer : Rainbow Rowell
Penciler : Kris Anka
Colorist : Mathew Willson
Letterer : VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date : 1/10/18
Rated : T+
Price : $3.99
The Runaways are still separated. Hopefully won’t last much longer because once Molly informs Gert what her grandma plans to do with her the two girls decide to do what they do best, run away. Meanwhile Chase gathers the rest of the team to help the girls escape.
Since this is my first time reviewing this current run of the Runaways on the site I wanna start by talking about how I feel about the series so far before I talk about my thoughts on this issue. I consider myself a hardcore Runaways fan. The series came out when I was 8 and I’ve been reading it ever since. I have a special connection to these characters, and in my opinion ever since Brian K Vaughan left the series other writers have had a hard time capturing the voices of the characters the same way he did. That is until Rainbow Rowell came along. Not only do these characters feel like the ones I know, love, and grew up with they also each feel like they’ve all grown in their own way. Which brings us to Gert’s personal crisis in this issue. Since she was taken from the past and into the present she feels as though her friends and the rest of the world have moved on without her. To me it made perfect sense to have Molly be the one to help Gert out of this funk. She’s always been blunt and unafraid to tell it like it is, but at the same time Molly has always been like a little sister to all of the Runaways so there’s a certain sweetness and innocence there that really helped Gert take Molly’s words to heart. Their banter and their plan to escape Molly’s grandma really showcased how strong their bond is. Something I really appreciated is that it felt like a natural element to the story and not something that was forced in to remind readers of the show since Molly and Gert have a similar dynamic there.
Chase by far had the funniest section of the issue. Long time fans will know that Chase’s biggest problem since the early days of the Runaways was his insecurity. How does Chase deal with it in this issue? Why by venting non stop to the severed head of his former teammate while he attempts to bring him back to life of course, now that’s classic Chase Stein. Victor Mancha and Chase have never had the strongest friendship among the team so eventually Chase’s nonstop talk about his relationship problems and constant insults drive Victor nuts and force him to break his silence. He then warns Chase about the danger that Gert is in as long as she’s with Molly’s grandma, and in classic Chase fashion we see that Chase was oblivious to the situation. This section had me cracking up the whole time I was reading it. I missed the back and forth between these two. Plus it was even funnier considering the fact that Victor is currently just a head.
Nico and Karolina’s section is probably the most emotional part of the issue. Anyone who has been following the Runaways from the beginning knows the history between these two. Karolina confessing her feelings to Nico and kissing her was a huge step for her coming out. However that’s not what’s important in this issue. What’s important is what their interaction continues to show about where Nico’s character currently is mentally. Since the start of this run we’ve seen that Nico has been struggling a lot with loneliness, and you’ve been following her character it makes total sense. Nico has never really been alone. At first she had the Runaways, then she went to Avengers Academy, and most recently she was a member of A-Force. Now that Nico is totally on her own and it seems like the Runaways won’t be reuniting like she had hoped she’s desperate for some kind of connection. This leads to the scene where Nico tries to kiss Karolina. I didn’t see this scene as Nico finally realizing her feeling for Karolina and regretting missing her chance. Now before all the Nicolina shippers come at me hear me out. I saw this scene more as Nico reaching out and trying to find a connection. She knows how Karolina felt about her before so she felt this was her best way to do it and finally feel something again. Yes it was manipulative but this was a brilliant way to show just how low this rock bottom Nico has hit really is.
Luckily for Nico the tension was broken by Chase bursting into her apartment with Victor’s head attached to what looks like one of those baby pouch carrier things. I loved this scene so much. The comedic timing was perfect. It was just the right moment to both break the tension between Nico and and Karolina while also throwing them completely off guard. The look of shock on both of their faces is absolutely priceless. Once again great work Chase. The award for best line of the issue goes to you. “Put your shoes on girls we’ve got a kind and accomplished elderly woman to clobber!!” Rainbow Rowell really knows how to throw in great moments of levity to balance out drama.
I honestly can’t see anyone other than Kris Anka fitting so well for this series. His art is simplistic while not being overly stylized. The Runaways has never been a series about superheroes. At its core the series is about a group of kids with superpowers trying to figure out life as they get older and grow as people. What maters for this series isn’t big flashy action sequences . The important things are the moments between characters. Kris Anka’s extremely expressive art style captures that spirit perfectly. Anaka’s best panels are when he utilizes close ups during conversations. It really focuses on character’s reactions and enhances the impact of the scene. The colors also capture the classic youthful tone of the Runaways while clearly showing that things have changed since the old days. Every character has a specific color pallet. It’s a very subtle detail that I really enjoyed. Overall I feel that the art is great.
Runaways is a series I’ve loved for a very long time, so I was really excited to here that Marvel was going to start a new Runaways series. I’m happy to report that this current run seems to get better with each issue every month. Rainbow Rowell clearly understands these characters. All their voices are clear and distinct. This issue had everything I look for in a good comic. A good balance between drama and comedy, and some really powerful character moments. The issue ends on a great cliffhanger that has me really excited, because it looks like the team is finally coming back together. If you liked the show or if you’re like me and you’ve been with this team from the start I can’t recommend this book and this series enough.No question this is my favorite comic that Marvel is putting out.