Runaways #1

Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Kris Anka
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A Review by Greg Brothers

Just like anyone who is an avid comic book reader, my readership has an ebb and flow to it. Sometimes I cannot get enough and other days it becomes so bad I just quit reading anything. One of those times that I had stopped reading anything was back when the original Runaways series came out. Since then, I have pieced the series together.

While I was happy to hear that the series would be making a comeback ahead of the upcoming Hulu series, I had some questions. First, with Rainbow Rowell’s background, I wondered how she would be able to handle a monthly series. I also wondered: how would they bring Gert back into the living? Would the new series be able to catch the magic that the original had? Thankfully Runaways #1 answers one of those questions, and dissipates the other concerns for now.

Runaways #1 starts with Nico in her apartment feeling sorry for herself. Suddenly Chase appears in her apartment with the stabbed Gert in his arms. Throughout the rest of Runaways #1, Nico and Chase work against the odds to try and save their longtime friend.

While Runaways #1 involves three of the former teammates, the focus is on Nico. The limits of her magic are explained through narration and Nico’s actions. This allows Rowell to show not only Nico’s power set but also her ability to improvise. The other focus on Nico has to do with her place in the Marvel Universe. Since the end of the last Runaways series, she has bounced around from team to team and seems to have lost some of the confidence that she once had. It is an issue that is directly dealt with in Runaways #1. Rowell’s experience writing teen angst comes in handy here, although Nico might not really be a teenage anymore.

In a world where universe hopping, time-travel, and evil doppelgangers are common place having Gert appear was an easy plot device. It is how Rowell handles it that makes it unique. She takes the opportunity to explore the relationship that existed between Gert and Chase in the past, while connecting that to the choices that Chase is making now. The initial appearance of Chase holding Gert and a knife in her chest grabs your attention. But it is all the action that happens after that splash page the makes it a must read. The tension as Nico tries to determine what spells will work is palpable. There are questions as to if Gert will survive the ordeal, of be the thing that brings the team back together.

Rowell made the right choice in focusing on just three members of the former team. It gives Runaways #1 room to breathe as the relationships are explored. One can assume the reemergence of their lost teammate along with its outcome will lead to the reuniting of the rest of the team. Rowell has several ways to go from here and not squeezing it in here was smart.

The art throughout Runaways #1 is beautiful. Sharp, clean lines combine with bright and engaging colors. When Nico uses her magic staff, neon blues, pinks, and greens fill the panels. The time travel is done in a hazy, bright, almost dream-like state. The traditional “Marvel Style” of realism is prominent here. The characters feel true to their traditional style with a few small updates.

It is obvious that Rowell took the time to really research the characters that she was going to be writing. Runaways #1 only features three of the original team, which allowed for Rowell to ease back into their world. The event that brings the three back together feels natural. Runaways #1 is a great jumping on point for new readers, while giving fans of the former series a reason to return.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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