Comicsly | adverb; in a manner that defies explanation but deserves recognition and praise

Runaways #1

Writer: Rainbow Rowell

Artist: Kris Anka

Colors: Matthew Wilson

Cover Art: Kris Anka

Published: September 13, 2017

If you haven’t read the Runaways before, it’s okay this book is still for you. That is no small accomplishment for writer Rainbow Rowell as the Runaways haven’t had an ongoing since 2009, and she can’t assume that readers will know what happened in the first three volumes. This issue opens on Nico Minoru (witch/spell caster) sitting alone (defeated by her stove) in her apartment reflecting on what she’s done since she left the runaways (she was a member of A-force). The action starts pretty immediately as Chase Stein (time travler/has sweet tech) appears in her room holding a bleeding Gert Yorkes (has telepathic connection to a velociraptor). Nico and Chase spend the rest of the issue trying to revive Gert and prevent her from dying (again). Nico can cast spells, but she can only use each spell once. At this point in her heroing career she has used up most of the good ones. She is forced to summon a doctor with the spell “Dr in the house,” give her x-ray glass, give Gert a new aorta, and superglue her wound together. At one point she says, “See clearly” and instead of doing something useful it begins to rain (like the song). Throughout the whole process Nico is standing away from Chase and Gert and the doctor casting spells and almost wrestling with the staff in order to get it to do something close to what she wants. With force/skill/luck they manage to save Gert and Chase explains how he went back in time to the when Gert previously died in an effort to save her and was almost, almost too late. The book’s final page shows someone sitting and stroking a cat (so obviously that person is the villain).

Matt Wilson’s colors really complement the action on the page. The people and the room lighting are rendered in warm browns, yellows and pinks, while any magic or technology is cast in a cold blue or green light. The colors reflect what has always been the focus of the Runaways, it’s about the group and what they can do together. Kris Anka also does some great work in this book drawing excellent concerned/worried/ freaking out faces so that you really understand the friendship that exist between these young people and the stress it has fallen under.

For most comics, and perhaps this issue more than most, the enjoyment lies in the journey and not the end destination. Nico is a powerful spell caster, Gert died previously but Chase went back in time and prevented it because he loves her, there is a villain that is observing them. Not extremely interesting or at all sensical, but the book a very enjoyable read that is greater than the sum of its plot points. There is Nico’s private struggle to bend the staff to her will, the agony of Chase’s face depicted again and again as he sees his friend slipping away for a second time, a ouija board session to decide wether or not to call an ambulance, and the camaraderie of young people. It those small moments and themes, that don’t necessarily serve the plot that make this book worth picking up and coming back to.

(Subjective) Score out of 10: 7

Rowell, Anka, Wilson/Marvel Comics


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