Written by: Joey Esposito, Special to CC2K
I am almost in tears. For the past few weeks on CC2K I've been hyping up the new volume of Runaways. I've gone as far to re-introduce the cast to readers, as well as scrounge up information from the creators in past interviews on their takes on the series. I'm sorry to say that Runaways #1 of volume 3 falls short of the hype. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely not the worst book you could read, but it's absolutely not the splash of awesomeness I had expected/was hoping for.
Terry Moore sees the group basically back to the status quo, on the run and hiding in LA. The groundwork for what presumably is the overall plot of the arc is laid as survivor's of Karolina's destroyed homeplanet come seeking vengeance. Woo. The idea, although quite cosmic, is suitable enough to serve as nothing more than future action sequences. The real meat and potatoes of Runaways for me has always been the character relationship as well as their depiction. And sadly, this is where the problem truly lies in this issue. I opened this book and to my horror, what I found were seemingly stripped down versions of the characters, almost back to their point of origin. Chase, at the very start of the series, was an arrogant jock prick that eventually grew into a fascinating character. Well, wasn't I disappointed to find Chase pining to go clubbing (what would Gert have to say about that…?). I'm not one of those fanboy types who feels betrayed when a creator takes a different approach to beloved characters, but this isn't different, it's simply a step backwards.
Although it is only the first issue – I stress this because there are plenty of first impressions that are misleading – but it's hard to get so excited for something, only to be let down feeling that you would have been better off re-reading issues that you've already read three times, if only to regain perspective on how these characters made you love them so much in the first place. I wish that in defense of the book I could at least claim that it was a decent jump-on point for new readers, but instead I feel as though all a new reader would get out of this is a group of vaguely annoying teenagers that have somehow been grouped together. Oh, and they have powers.
The highlight of this issue certainly isn't it's witty banter (there isn't any), jokes fall flat (save one) and take the rather casual pop culture references of the BKV era and shove them down your throat simply because the creators must feel as though they need to be there. They don't. Ironically, the thing I was most concerned about coming into this new volume was Humberto Ramos' art style and how it would fit the book and it's characters. Funnily enough, Moore's juvenile approach to the characters fits Ramos' cartoon style rather accurately. That's not to say that Ramos' art is juvenile in any sense, it's greatly animated and superbly detailed, but the tone of the overall issue – and presumably their entire run – has a very Saturday morning cartoon feel to it. So Saturday morning, in fact, that the recap page that fronts this issue even introduces the team as "Molly Hayes and her friends", perhaps signaling that Molly is set to become the centerpiece to the series to appease the younger crowd? Who really knows.
The issue delivered just enough to keep me on, but I attribute most of this to Moore's previous work (I know he must know what he's doing), and the strength of the characters themselves. Here's hoping that issue #2 can make good on that hype.
2.0 out of 5 .