Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Kris Anka
Colors: Triona Farrell
Cover: Kris Anka
Published: April 4, 2018
In the review of the previous issue of Runaways there was a lot of discussion/appreciation for the depiction of the state of the Runaways. They’ve come back together, they faced a baddie, and they’ve sort acknowledged how they all need each other, but things still aren’t great. Each of them has challenge(s) that are facing them while everything else also goes on. This captures a little (or a lot) of what it feels like to grow up when everything seems to happen all at once, where things can be simultaneously great and terrible. For Karolina this means balancing her relationship with her girlfriend and her responsibilities to the Runaways, which is where this issue opens. Julie is waiting to be picked up at the airport by Karolina who texts and says she had to pick up Molly from her friend (Abigail’s) house. Abigail is telling Molly that she has been thirteen since 1964 and that Molly can stop aging too if she eats a rather Alice in Wonderland-esque cupcake. Molly doesn’t have much time to process this as Karolina arrives to take her back to the hostel where they are preparing for Julie to arrive. There’s a great scene of Nico trying to clean up while the rest of them are sitting around playing video games. When Julie does arrive Molly kind of gets too excited at meeting a member of the Power Pack. They have a sweet moment together where Julie signs a Power Pack poster that Molly has in her room and reminisces about the days where figuring out who the good and bad guys were was a lot simpler. This hits pretty close to home for Molly who has not always been able to trust the people that you think you’re supposed to (her parents, her grandma). It gives Molly a lot to think about going forward with this offer from her friend to stay young forever.
Immediately after this more reflective moment everything turns into a bit of a punch-on. Dr. Doom shows up outside the Runaways hostel demanding the head of Victor Mancha. Julie asks the rest of them what the protocol for fighting super-villains is, but they don’t really have one and they rush to face him. Chase gets knocked out and Molly gets herself grabbed while Karolina and Julie figure out what to do. They manage to get Molly back but ultimately are brushed aside rather easily as the final image shows Doom taking Victor’s head. As interesting (or maybe more interesting) than the fight was the way the Runaways were defeated. They all tried to attack Doom separately, matching their individual powers against his. When Julie asks Karolina what their strategy for this type of situation is she responds, “Nico will think of something… eventually, or someone will. Until then, we just improvise.” This has, but really hasn’t (as Julie points out out), worked for the Runaways in the past considering that Gert, Victor, and Nico have ‘died’ in combat (although not all in situations involving the Runaways). Karolina’s rationale is that they aren’t a superhero team but a family which either means that they don’t need to create plans because they know what the others will do, or that it would be inappropriate to introduce that context into their familial setting. It’s a small moment in an ongoing action scene, but gets at the developing that they all need to do as a group. Yes they need each, yes they want to be a family, but what then is the responsibility each has to promote that? Nico sort of refuses to summon her staff as the others face Doom, so what is her responsibility to the group in this situation, did she fail them, and what can they do to help her? There is not time in this issue to get at any of these questions in more depth since Doom zooms in and grabs Victor, but these are the things they have figure out going forward.
Kris Anka and new colorist Triona Farrell’s work in this issue is great (as usual). There are some great panels of what the Runaways underground hostel looks like now that people are living in it. You see the living room and Molly’s room, and they have these sort of touches of messiness that just remind you that there’s a group of kids living there with no adults. The fight with Doom is drawn in a sort of Dragon Ball/Avatar style with action lines as the characters move and not a ton of detail except for the close ups on the faces. Its a really interesting style and feels more appropriate than a super serious approach to the action scenes.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 6