Writer – Rainbow Rowell; Artist – Andrés Genolet; Color Artist – Dee Cunniffe; Letterer – VC’s Joe Caramagna; Cover Artist – Kris Anka; Graphic Designer – Carlos Lao; Assistant Editor – Kathleen Wisneski; Editor – Nick Lowe; Editor In Chief – C.B. Cebulski
There’s never a dull moment in the life of a superhero, but what about in the lives of their friends? This month’s issue finds the team continuing to adjust to their roles on the J-Team, California’s premier superheroes, under the leadership of Doc Justice. While most of the Runwaways are enjoying this new, full-time superhero lifestyle, Gert is still struggling with feeling left behind, literally as she has no powers or combat skills and figuratively as that compounds her feelings of being “left behind” as her family grew up after her death. As she tries to learn the job of supporting the team back at the mansion from Matthew, Doc Justice’s current overwatch, she discovers a somewhat alarming trend, that most former members of the J-Team have died in their roles. She tries to confront Victor, but the team is aware of the risks and doesn’t take her concerns very seriously, as the Runaways have powers and tech that the former J-Teams didn’t.
In this issue, we see Gib’s continuing struggle with food. It’s great how he has become another member of the team, if not a tangential one. This struggle of his is interesting to focus on as well, and the animal sacrifices subplot to sate his hunger is both interesting and sweet, giving the animal companions some character development.
There is some good humor, much of it in that snarky tone that Marvel has captured. The “narrator” has a good quip about the name of the J-Team gymnasium, for one. Gert also has quite a few lines, though hers are a little deeper. For instance, he “Boomers” line is lame, but it captures Gert’s cynicism and immaturity, as does her fight regarding the fate of the past J-Teams, that interaction also showing her emotional nature and fierce loyalty and love of her adopted family.
The choice to do a history of the J-Team works well and makes some of the blunt dialog from Doc Justice make more sense, even though the audience would be wise to be concerned of the lengths to which Doc Justice will go to achieve his goals. Specifically, in this issue Doc and Matthew discuss funding and pushing for a reality TV show.
Finally, to bridge story and art, the two splash pages showing the ghosts of the dead team were fantastic. Rowell probably could have done more with the scene if she would’ve spent more pages dwelling on it or used more dialogue, but the choice to let the art speak for itself really worked well and proves the right choice.
Genolet and Cunniffe do fantastic work as always in this book. Runaways has always been a pretty positive title, so to keep that up in the colors is nice, with shades of pink being the main thing you see upon opening the book. In fact, the whole book uses color in such a unique way when compared to modern comics. This is perfectly clear in the first scene. It starts dark and menacing, but immediately transitions to a different perspective. There, Cunniffee uses bright colors (e.g. orange and yellow smoke) and colorful costumes. She doesn’t settle for the cliched black and red, but rather uses primarily green and orange. It’s a wonderful change of pace from the norm, and a great trend in this book that all Runaways creative teams should continue.
Genolet’s art elevates the book as well. For example, in the first scene when bad guys are fighting Gib, the looks of terror on their faces and the look of despair on Gib’s face are fantastic. With the villains, you only see eyes and foreheads from a side angle, but it conveys so much. Gib’s look of despair in the next page is good too in the same way. All of the characters are particularly expressive. The style here is clearly drawn, that is to say not hyper-realistic, but not overly cartoony. It has kind of an indie feel that suits this book nicely. This creative team also continues the trend of Molly having fun hats in each book. This month, she is sporting an adorable raccoon hat.
Caramagna’s letters on first page also deserves mention. Recently, this title has really done a lot with the lettering of the title inside the book, and it too deserves praise.
The Runways under Rowell continues to be one of the best books available, as best as the title has ever been, a must have on any pull list.