The new run on Runaways has been keeping it decidedly low profile when it comes to action, deciding instead to focus on the characters’ psyches and interpersonal relationships, which it has been doing fabulously. There does come a time though when you can play it too close to your chest regarding emotional drama vs. action drama, and this issue aims to rectify that. That’s not to say that this issue doesn’t have its emotional notes, but most of the issue is an action scene.
Karolina’s girlfriend, Julie Power of the Power Pack, is coming to town, and her trip doesn’t start out well when Karoline fails to meet her at the airport. Like I mentioned in my review of issue #7, the lesbian drama is a-boiling. Julie’s conversation with Molly was really nice, and I loved the joke that Julie and Karolina look exactly alike. If there’s not enough room in the Marvel universe for two tall, glam, rainbow blondes, then just have them date, right? Julie’s shock at the Runaways having no plan or battle tactics when Dr. Doom attacks was a cool way to play on the difference between the two young teams. The Power Pack was a family and a team, so Julie saying the Runaways can be both was quite poignant.
At the very beginning, it’s revealed that Molly’s school best friend, Abigail, is actually immortal. With a series that’s all about the pains of growing up, this was a great way to tie that theme into the plot. Molly has to wrestle with the choice to be like Abigail and never grow up or become like the rest the Runaways who are struggling with just that. I like the practicality of this plot, and it’s cool the way Rowell uses plots like this to broaden and expand on the themes of the series. So often in superhero comics, the themes and ideas of a run can be drowned out by the plot, but Rowell finds a way to make both matter and work in tandem.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Anka and the work he’s been doing on this series, and while this issue has some really great moments, it might not be the best he’s done on the series. Occasionally some of the action becomes blurry, and the backgrounds aren’t as lush as I know Anka can do. This issue has a new colorist on it by the name of Triona Tree Farrell, and she did a great job. It’s hard work to live up to the one man colorist machine, Matt Wilson, but Farrell manages to make the transition seamless while still adding her own personal touch to the issue. The sunlight effects, and especially the portrayal of Karolina and Julie’s colorful powers, were well-rendered and at times beautiful.
Runaways #8 isn’t as knock-out wow amazing as the previous issue, but it’s not bad by any means. Rowell and Anka have really created something special with this comic and I can’t recommend it enough. For fans of the Runaways it continues the core ideals of the original with a new vision, and for newcomers it shows just how emotion filled, poignant, and beautiful comics can be. Both Rowell and Anka bring large and varied fanbases to this title and they could not be putting out a better product to make their fans and readers happy.