By Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka and Matthew Wilson
The comics industry is filled with thousands and thousands of characters. Some are constantly being used, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, etc, while others are created and forgotten about, Adam X comes to mind. For those characters that are semi-popular, but not popular enough to be kept in the spotlight that much, they need something to stop them from being another generic carbon copy. The Runaways is a book that is about super powered teens, but what sets the series apart from others is the real world problems these kids face on a daily basis. We’re now 12 issues into this new series, written by Rainbow Rowell, and it’s been a pretty fun ride. This month tackles some heavy themes that plague teens, and that’s a big part of the appeal of the series.
Rowell has a good grasp on how to write teen angst. Part of the appeal of this series and these characters is that Rowell gives these characters problems similar to the ones we have; discovering your sexuality, making a deeper connection with a friend, etc. At it’s barest level, this is an issue about being able to express yourself to someone else. Nico and Victor struggle to do that in this issue, and Rowell portrays this pretty well. Gert trying to convince Victor to let himself go and open up is a great moment to see. He seems to be a robot that cares more than some humans. The first few pages set up the Karolina and Nico drama for the issue. Rowell makes this believable, as many people explore their sexuality when they are younger. Rowell has a pulse for making books about teenager superheroes very real. This was another good issue in the Runaways lore.
The pencils this issue are handled by Kris Anka with colors by Matthew Wilson. Kris Anka takes a minimalist approach to his work. Artists like Jim Lee really draw detailed face or body, but Anka will use a couple of stress lines here and there, but not much else. This is a technique that works for this book. Truth be told, too much detail would take the focus of the excellent colors by Matthew Wilson. The colors just seem perfect for this book. They’re very light and fun, which is what you would expect for a series like this. Even in panels where Gert and Victor have a brown background, it’s still vibrant. The colors in panels where Gert and Victor are in the field looking for butterflies is a gorgeous mix of pink and blue. It almost makes you feel like you’re watching Big Fish. The art team does a fabulous job of making the story leap and pop off the page.
Runaways is a series that appeals to everyone. It has teen heroes, but they’re written so well that people of any age can get behind them. Rainbow Rowell continues her great character work on this series as the teen heroes grow each month. The art is perfect for this book and you’d be hard pressed to find a better team to compliment the writing.