Runaways is not only a hit TV series on Hulu, but was a major comic presence from 2004 to 2007. Brian K. Vaughan blew comic readers away with a fun, eclectic group of kids who had to live down the terrible acts their parents committed. Marvel continued the series after Vaughan left, including volume 8, which was a fun time-travel caper. Volume 9 is being reissued this week with writer Terry Moore and superstar artist Humberto Ramos at the helm.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Your favorite teen heroes return to Los Angeles, but it’s not the same city they left so long ago. The Runaways try to stay off the radar, but the sins of their parents won’t make that possible…
Why does this matter?
Aside from the pop culture presence, this series is a good look at some of Humberto Ramos’ earlier work. For some, it’s a delight to see the roots of an artist, especially one of his caliber.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
These guys pretty much out match the Runaways.
This volume is rather self-contained, sticking the teenage heroes in Malibu and having them face off against a team of Majesdane soldiers who are seeking justice. As the heroes attempt to circumnavigate the Majesdane (they want one of the Runaways to face the crimes of their parents) the characters must mingle with neighbors, continue to survive the dire circumstances of being poor, and negate the effects of a magic spell that aims to separate them. These troubles give the characters adequate trials to overcome and plenty to argue about.
Molly Hayes is a highlight given her proclivity to drop a one-liner or two. She’s filled with spunk and adds a comedic shot to any scene. Overall the drama in regards to living down your parents’ mistakes is a strong one, made ever more relevant due to the plot of the recent Black Panther movie.
Ramos has plenty to offer on the visual front. His elastic looking style gives these kids added energy and youthfulness. Ramos is quite good at rendering the clothes on these kids, which adds a bit of character to a scene. Molly, for instance, is wearing a fish hat that’s comical, but subtle enough you may not notice. Nico Minoru wears a black dress that’s all kinds of evil looking, but also refined and suits the character. In an important final scene, Karolina and Xavin have a touching moment that’s at once intimate and real that Ramos nails. Without the weight of this scene, the ending may have fallen completely flat.
Magic really screws things up.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Much of this volume seems to be treading water as it spins its wheels to give the characters something to do. Take for instance an early scene where they go to the mall. This allows the characters to reflect on the amazing nature of a mall, I guess, but it amounts to little more than a way to introduce Chase to a radio jockey. This jockey gets ample time in the book and it’s perplexing as to why. He seems evil in one scene, kind of cool in the next, then later completely nuts. I hope this character is used in the next volume because his presence is confusing and filler here. At its core, this volume has maybe three issues worth of content but it’s spread across six, sadly. Much of this comic is rather boring because of this and while there might be a flicker of character to enjoy here and there overall it’s rather boring and skippable.
Is It Good?
It’s fun to go back and read older comics like this especially when superstar artists like Humberto Ramos were doing some of their earlier work. As a collection, there are some enjoyable moments and ideas here, but overall this is a skippable journey as it collects a decompressed story that can’t sustain itself.