Runaways has always been a good character drama first, which is probably why it became a hit show on Hulu. The eclectic mix of characters creates multiple dynamics and relationships to track. Frankly, Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka must be very smart to keep track of all these character dynamics while also having them develop at the same time. It’s an element of the series highlighted extremely well in the new trade paperback out this week, That Was Yesterday.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
A lot has changed for your favorite super-teens. And a major villain from Runaways past is back in a way you won’t be able to predict! The kids have had a hard enough time with a grandma and a 13-year-old, so…things look pretty bleak for everyone in the world. Plus, see a story from a never-before-seen perspective!
Why does this matter?
This book has multiple conflicts in play, from a group of child gods threatening to kill the world to a formerly dead member of the team coming back with threatening results. It’s a story that you probably need to read up on to fully enjoy, but this third volume reads well on its own too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I’ve only dabbled in this series but found it easy to enjoy the characters and their varied interactions. From full blown love to flirting and straight up hating to loathing, there’s a lot of emotions to track across these characters. The book opens with Alex Wilder joining the team, or at least trying to after he died. The team isn’t very happy with him since he tried to kill them all and his arrogant nature only adds to them rubbing the wrong way. He thinks he should be the leader even though he’s power hungry, but at the same time, he wants to be accepted. Things get out of hand right away when the team is attacked and he kind of proves some guidance can be helpful for the team.
Essentially the threat of the entire world dying looms over everything allowing Rowell to explore the characters. Much of the narrative is about the characters either falling for each other or interacting with each other as they attempt to figure out what to do about the whole end of the world thing. They’re given seven days to give these gods an answer and they need one thanks to their parents making a deal with their parents. It’s a complicated pact. Along the way, the story has fun asides, like the exploration of the dinosaur character (a day in the life so to speak) and a fun Christmas side story. One of the most rewarding stories focuses on Nico, who learns new things about her magical staff as well as her lineage. The story ends with a satisfying conclusion and a promise for some new character dynamics to explore inside the team and out.
The art is shared by David Lafuente with Takeshi Miyazawa on the first two issues (with color by Jim Campbell), and Kris Anka finishes off the collection with colors by Matthew Wilson. The first few issues by Lafuente push the characters with good close-ups, really bringing their acting to the forefront. This is a character drama first and the art suits that style. Later, Anka’s art is really special, exploring the space with interesting double page layouts. Anka’s line is so thin by comparison to other artists and it really draws you in.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
One might argue this book lacks action, with only two big action scenes in the collection. I didn’t mind too much, although there are a lot of scenes with characters sitting around and saying out loud, “What are we going to do?” It’s almost like whining at times and you might find yourself yelling, “Do something already!”
Is it good?
A highly enjoyable read, especially considering I do not read this series on the regular. If you like character dramas you can’t beat this.