Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Kris Anka
Colors: Matt Wilson
Cover: Kris Anka
Published: March 21, 2018
Moments of perfection/inspiration/development aren’t permanent. That’s not entirely an easy thing to wrap your head around, especially if (like mine) your ideas about inspiration and genius and personal growth are largely influenced by what you see in the movies (or on TV) and read on the internet. This is a somewhat of a generalization to be sure, but the point is that you don’t often see the time after the personal breakthrough about how change is sustained, or you don’t see the years of tedious work that went into the creation of someone’s masterpiece. These things are either poo-pooed entirely or relegated to a montage accompanied by some piece of uplifting pop music. This tendency to not depict the work that goes into or comes after an inflection point is part of the limitation of the movie and TV (to a lesser extent becasue it can be longer form) format, but also it’s not glamorous. The personal or professional work is the gristle of a story, the stuff that cuts cut away and pushed to the side so we can focus on the nice bits. But what does any of this have to do with Runaways #7 (fair question)? After a wonderful first arc that ends with our favorite teens looking at a beautiful sunset. Rainbow Rowell could have sent to gang back to the underground hostel, made everything copacetic, and sent them out on couple of fun romps (honestly I was very worried that was going to be the case). Instead, we get Nico refusing to fall asleep because she hates the way it feels when she reabsorbs the Staff of One. We get Chase pulling on a shirt and tie, trying to do right by the rest of the group and earn some money although he doesn’t really have any qualifications. And we get Molly insisting that she needs to go to school because she has band, soccer practice, and parent teacher conferences today. Life goes on for the Runaways, but nothing is fixed, and arguably it is not better. Actually, Molly wanting to go to school raises some interesting questions about legal guardianship and adoption for both her and Gert, problems they didn’t have before. In regard to Molly, the solution they settle on is for Nico to use some magic so that her and Chase become Molly’s adoptive parents. Depending on …. something, this is either extremely elegant or extremely inelegant, but for this issue at least it seams magic can be sed to easily manipulate the legal system.
This isn’t to say that there is not some incredibly fun stuff and some great character building going on in this issue because there really is. Karolina and Nico have a breakfast scene together where they are sort of figuring out what it means to be back in each other lives. How to restart a friendship that ended abruptly and wasn’t always very smooth in the first place. Gert and Victor have a scene where Gert tries to give him a haircut as they figure out what’s next for each of them, as they are the two whose paths forward are the least clear. Gert is in a time where she doesn’t belong, and without a body Victor is both at the mercy of others, but also less able to carry out the destructive task he was initially created for. But perhaps the most joyful moment is seeing Molly at school and being introduced to her best friend, Abigail. Just the joy on both of their faces in the panels where they’re together is wonderful to look at, and emblematic of how this book hits those notes of elation just as well as it hits more sorrowful ones. Ultimately, at the end of the day (this issue encapsulates just one day in the live of the Runaways) Chase manages to get a job at the LA salvage center, and when Nico and Chase take her to parent-teacher conferences it appears that Nico’s magic worked and they pass for Molly’s parents. Things aren’t definitely not fixed though. Chase now has to go to work and earn money, Nico’s problems with her magic staff aren’t resolved, Victor and Gert must still find their way forward, and Karolina has to figure out how to balance her relationships. This is the work, the potentially less glamorous stuff that they each have to deal with (although because of Kris Anka’s art it all looks great) as they face each new day together. At the end of the issue it appears that Molly’s best friend has some potentially sinister ideas about how to keep her and Molly friends FOREVER. It’s interesting (I honestly don’t know if it means anything) that the first and now potentially the second ‘villain’ in this series have threatened the Runaways via Molly. It’s too early in this arc to say anything definitive about that, but it’s something to think about for upcoming issues.
Enough can’t be said about Kris Anka and Matt Wilsons’ art in this and each previous issue. As mentioned before, the scenes of Molly at school with her friend are particularly good. And even as the issue ends on a slightly ominous moment, Abigail’ face maintains this sort of cute puppy dog look with big adorable eyes as she turns a bit sinister. There are some great clothing choices in this issue, and in particular what Nico and Chase wear to parent teacher conference. Nico is carrying her staff as she wears this all black dress and legging outfit along with a black sunhat with a big straight brim. It’s both very cool, and also would be appropriate at church or a funeral. Chase has on some brown boots with slim pants, a v-neck shirt, and his hair pulled back. Together they look very good and there’s a great panel of them walking into the school and being stared at by the other parents who aren’t as well dressed. It’s a great moment in an issue with more than a few of them and part of what is really strong start to a new arc that seems willing to delve into the daily problems of these character and show their (sometimes painful) development.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 8