REVIEW: Runaways #2 – “Find Your Way Home”

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RUNAWAYS #2
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Penciller: Kris Anka
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 10/11/17

Two years after the traumatic events that bonded the Runaways together, Chase finally managed to bring his girlfriend Gert back from the dead. But he needed Nico’s sorcery – and the doctor that said surgery summoned – to patch up Gert’s knife wound. Now that she’s been rescued, can the rest of the gang come back together?

Plot: Upon waking up, Gert demands an explanation for her current state and is pretty shocked by what she hears. Not only has she actually been dead this whole time, but the team has long since disbanded – leaving her with only Chase and Nico until they find a way to regroup.

Her old friends start filling in the gaps in her memory, but each new piece of information leaves Gert feeling more isolated and abandoned.

Story: In Runaways #2, Rainbow Rowell uses Gert’s resurrection to essentially catch new readers up on previous runs of the title under the guise of informing Gert herself of events since her death. While this may feel a little clunky or slow to veterans of the series, it’s a wise choice that allows fans to jump onboard just in time for Hulu’s television series. Furthermore, Rowell manages to infuse the exposition with a great dose of emotion, as Gert rightfully points out that friends who have been through everything the Runaways have shouldn’t be able to just drift apart. That special brand of teenage (or young adult) angst is appropriate for the title without getting too over the top.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and there even manages to be some laugh-out-loud bits. One such moment is when Gert sees Old Lace again: it’s a visual gag that requires the excellent participation of the art team, but it’s also carefully plotted out to come at just the right time. There is also a good balance between the tragic and the uncomfortably awkward when it comes to honoring fallen comrades like Victor.

After a first issue that brought a beloved character back to life right off the bat, Runaways #2 may feel like a step back in terms of pacing. While the recap was deftly handled by focusing on the feelings it elicited in Gert, it did still take up a large chunk of the story before even introducing the next character. Molly finally makes an appearance in the last few pages, reminding readers of her powers and setting up the idea of the group being watched, but there isn’t much progress made otherwise.

Art: Kris Anka has a true talent for capturing the emotions being conveyed, which helps add layers to the stories Nico and Chase are recalling. Given that so much of Runaways #2 consists of conversation, it’s important that the characters be drawn realistically and that their reactions and close-ups remain subtle yet engaging, and the art definitely succeeds on that front. As previously mentioned, there are a few comedic moments that required the artwork to be impeccable in order to work. Thankfully Anka was up to the task, mining the most out of an issue that’s mostly playing catch up.

The coloring provided by Matthew Wilson is also a treat, veering between the ethereal backdrops and warm colors that signify Gert’s return to the fold and the hyper realistic depictions of broody millenials that draw us to the comic in the first place. Overall, the color palette fits the tone of the story perfectly.

Verdict: Runaways #2 is slow to take off, but lays some solid emotional groundwork and shows promise that will hopefully deliver in the next few months.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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