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

Runaways #9

Writer: Rainbow Rowell

Artist: Kris Anka

Colors: Triona Farrell

Cover: Kris Anka

Published: May 9, 2018

At the end of the previous issue the Runaways engaged a very Dapper looking Dr Doom in combat and, reflecting the state of their team in many ways, stumbled through a poor showing. The dapper Dr. Doom was not ultimately their enemy, but Doombot, a friend of Victor’s from his Avengering days. The Runaways are various degrees of unimpressed and annoyed when they they find this out with Nico opting for bed and Julie (still settling into how they do things in the underground hostel) annoyed that together they couldn’t take down one single Doom-bot. After everything settles down Chase (turns out Chase is his middle name) and Doombot head off to talk about how to rebuild Victor’s body even though he insists that having it rebuilt is not something he wants. This is mostly a side plot as the issue mostly revolves around Molly’s conflicted feeling about her friend Abigail’s offer to stay thirteen forever. As is often the case in comic books, it is the worst possible time for Molly to be having this existential crisis. Not particularly because of what’s happening specifically to her, but what’s happening around her. Julie and Karolina are having a really difficult time communicating with each other because it appears that Karolina has reverted to more childlike behavior. During, and now after, the confrontation with Doombot, Julie expected more organization and consideration. Maybe they should talk to Nico about her problems with the Staff of One and what that means for battles in the future. But Karolina insists that they just don’t do things like that with the main impediment to starting being the fact that they never have. It’s a reasonable question that Karolina can only sort of stutter at and tell Julie that she wasn’t there and she doesn’t understand. And she’s right of course, but that doesn’t let her or any of them off the hook for being unorganized and unprepared. Molly is also witnessing Nico and Chase struggle to figure out how to take on the mantle of provider/caretaker and how their actions need to adjust so they can fill that role.

Runaways (2017-) 009-016
Rowell, Anka, Farrell/Marvel Comics

In the reviews of the first arc (issues #1 -#6) there was a fair bit of discussion about if the Runaways should get back together and questioning about why the book wasn’t really having that discussion. And even though it’s not exactly getting at that question here, it’s definitely getting closer and at some point one of the Runaways (or all of them) will have to really consider what their group means/is in this new context. Part of what’s specifically preventing Karolina from pushing her friends (at this point they are a family I guess) is the desire for things to be like they used to. This was the same motivation for Chase to go back in time to save Gert. If all the right people are there and they can act like they are still fourteen years old then its easier to trick yourself into believing that’s the truth. There’s safety and comfort in that reality, and considering what they experienced together it makes sense that they want to stay in that younger more innocent place. But the real world is pushing in and can’t be avoided. Which is what Molly, at a susceptible moment in her life, is seeing. How do these people she looks up to respond when life requires a little bit more of them. Chase and Nico both got job and are trying, but they along with Karolina and Gert are some combination of aimless, in denial, and bitter. The promise of Abigail’s cupcake begins to look more and more appealing to Molly who is wondering if thirteen is about the sweet spot between adult and childhood, a place worth staying forever.

Runaways (2017-) 009-015
Rowell, Anka, Farrell/Marvel Comics

At the end of the issue, in a moment of significant existential crisis, the Runaways have their most cohesive moment in a couple issues when they come together and decide to go see a movie together. It’s a small scene, but a reminder of how good it is when they are just themselves together. It’s a little quippy and their idiosyncrasies are on display, but also lighthearted and just really good. And that’s the promise of this group being together, but how do they maintain that and learn to be functional humans in he world? This is what we are here to find out. At the end of the issue when the Runaways are at the movie Julie comes over and eats Molly’s special cupcake which she left out. The final panel is Julie, thirteen years old, asking, “What have you done to me.”

Kris Anka and Triona Farrell’s art is again amazing. There has been no drop off since she took over for Matt Wilson a few issues back. There isn’t any action in this issue, a lot of talking in different places, but each character is so wonderfully drawn as they always are. Perhaps the best panel is them at the movies just being together. They also continue to do a good job making Abigail a threat, using more dark colors and shadows than at any other point in the issue. She’s a thirteen year old girl, but they have done a really good job making her ominous when she’s on the page.

(Subjective) Score out of 10: 6

Runaways (2017-) 009-019
Rowell, Anka, Farrell/Marvel Comics


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