REVIEW: Runaways #6 – “Can We Go Home Now?”

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Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Penciller: Kris Anka
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 2/7/18

Just as Molly realized that her grandma was planning to perform experiments on Gert the way she did Molly’s parents, the rest of the Runaways came to rescue their friends. Are they going to be a team once more? And what of the revived android Victor Mancha?

Plot: Despite plotting to run away, Molly does not consider her grandma evil and imposes a rule that nobody can hurt her or her cats. Which doesn’t stop said grandma from attacking Molly’s friends with said psychic cats, of course. Things go from mad to worse when Runaways #6 reveals that Molly’s parents are still alive – or rather that her grandmother had them ‘catalogued’ before their death and created clones of them afterward. In the end, Molly loses her family once more but still has her friends. And Rufus, the cat who’s never told on her.

Story: Runaways #6 is the jumpstart that takes the series from its initial set-up, which has been excellent, to the start of a new adventure as a team. Given how far removed from one another these five (well, six if you count androids) were at the start of the run, it makes sense that it would have taken this long for them to really come together. But it’s fitting that the threat of another malevolent parental figure that moves them to action and sends them on the road once more.

Since it’s Molly’s family, it makes sense that she gets to call most of the shots in Runaways #6. She sets ground rules and decides on terms, eventually making the decision whether to stay with her grandmother and mother or leave with her friends. But this doesn’t stop the others from getting their moments to shine, and by the end of the issue even Molly must concede to the needs of the group at large. Rainbow Rowell imbues each member of the team with a unique sense of self that calls back to their previous characterizations while still allowing room for their growth. While the sweetest moment might be at the start, when Chase takes a moment to breathe in the joyous feeling of working with his friends once more (nevermind that they’re about to face down more evil parents), there’s also some newer dynamics that are equally exciting to contend with.

Specifically, Nico and Karolina’s tentative flirtation grows before our eyes even as they themselves are not aware of it. The potential romance does not take over the story thankfully, but instead enrichens it with small moments like Karolina’s power going into overdrive when Nico is in danger or Nico being dismissive of Karolina’s girlfriend. It’s these touches of humanity and interpersonal stories that make the shenanigans with glowing-eyed cats and mommy-dearest clones all the more enjoyable.

Art: Kris Anka perfectly complements the heartwarming vibe between the characters with an art style that captures all kinds of silent yet powerful moments. Close-ups reveal emotions that would otherwise pass by unnoticed, and the relative simplicity of the backgrounds allows for the reader’s focus to remain on the fabulous group of Runaways. Matthew Wilson’s colors also help warm up the story, bringing a softer edge to one of the hardest decisions of Molly’s life without making light of it either.

There are certain panels that stand out due to the artists’ choices, such as the one pictured above. While it’s an easy way to depict the powers of psychic cats, it also helps break up what might be a monotonous fight scene with a splash of new and different color schemes – all while still presenting that same exquisite and detailed depiction of characters. After all, we can see clearly here that Molly is just as upset as her friends despite not being in any danger herself. We know what path she must take at a mere glance, thanks to how much of the story the art team has managed to convey.

Verdict: Runaways #6 is a beautifully rendered end to the first arc of the current story, as well as a fitting beginning for the next phase of their lives. A combination of eye-catching artwork, humorous dialogue, and genuine moments makes this issue stand out.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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