Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Pencils: Adrian Alphona
Inks: Craig Yeung
Colours: Christina Strain
Letters: VC’s Randy Gentile
The Long of It
All good things come to an end. I don’t know who first said that, but I’d like to stick a pitchfork in their face.
All good things come to an end. I don’t know who first said that, but I’d like to stick a pitchfork in their face. Why? Why, why, why must they come to an end? We’ve enjoyed Runaways for 24 issues of this series, and 12 issues of the last one, so why do they have to go and change things? I blame Joe Quesada, and Cheese-String. I have no justification for this allocation of blame beyond â€œthat’s who and what I want to blame for itâ€, but that’s good enough for me. We don’t need no steenkin’ facts to back up what we say â€“ we are the people! We are the World, we are the childrenâ€¦. No wait, they’re the children, aren’t they? The Runaways. Whatever.
. Warning: The following review may be prone to mushiness and over-emotional schluck. And I don’t even know what â€œschluckâ€ is.
Anyway, yes. Here it is. The last issue of the Vaughan/Alphona run on BKV’s very special creation. We’ve laughed; we’ve cried; we’ve asked questions about God’s sandwich conundrum. We’ve seen the deaths of two original members, new members arrive, Karolina disappear off into space and come back, and Chase disappear up his own arse and come back. And with this issue, BKV and the team have to restore some sort of equilibrium from which to launch the next chapter in the lives of these young rebels. So they do so in style. Warning: The following review may be prone to mushiness and over-emotional schluck. And I don’t even know what â€œschluckâ€ is.
Just to get you up to date, Chase is trying to sacrifice himself to the Gibborim (the weird giant alien kids that made the Runaways’ parents form The Pride in the first place) in exchange for Gert being reborn. The others are trying to stop him. I don’t need to tell you whether they succeed or not. You’ll all have read it by now, and if you haven’t then you’re probably just waiting for the trade. Because believe me, you will ALL have read this eventually. Because you’re smart. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading stuff here at Inside Pulse. You’d be working here. But suffice to say, it all ends in a way that means things are gonna be a-changing in the months to come for our happy band of delinquents, as BKV hands over the writing chores to Joss Whedon. Yeah, him. The Buffy dude.
And when a writer clearly loves the characters, in most cases it kind of rubs off on the reader.
What makes BKV’s writing special is the combination of heart and wit he injects into the characters he provides the dialogue for. Dr Strange has always been a bit of a cold fish, but in the hands of BKV he becomes a warm and witty sorcerer supreme. So when you’re dealing with characters that were born in his own free-flowing creative juices (does that sound as nasty as I think it does?), you’re looking at characters that have that heart and wit built-in, as an intrinsic part of their being. Vaughan loves these characters (and so, it seems, do the comic buying public) and that love comes out in every exchange. Every snarky comment. Every Molly-ism. And when a writer clearly loves the characters, in most cases it kind of rubs off on the reader. We have collectively taken the Runaways into our hearts, and that is something that happens so rarely.
Artistically, Alphona’s pencils are really suited to this team. They’re not conventional superheroes. They’re just trying to get by and to look after each other. So Alphona’s expressions and warmth suit the book. He infuses his drawings with an almost child-like naivete, that matches the charm of the characters themselves. Every time they laugh out loud, or feel a pang of emotional pain, the reader can feel that reaction (and the emotion behind it) coming off the page. It’s a solid, not-quite-cartoony artistic style that may not suit many books in this medium, but with Runaways it feels like a comfy blanket. And I like me some comfy blanket.
I can only say â€œThank youâ€ to this creative team for providing us with such a wonderfully different book in what can be an increasingly generic industry. And to Marvel for looking at the trade sales for the first series and saying â€œHey, you know what? People like this stuff. We should keep doing it.â€ It’s been a series to treasure. I only hope they keep it that way.
So what can we expect from the next 24 issues? Well, if Astonishing X-Men is any yardstick of Whedon’s work, then we can expect them to be charmingly written, with a continued focus on the characters themselves, and for it to take about 7 years to get to issue 48. I hope not, but I have reservations. And Paul Ryan is an excellent penciller, who has done some great stuff on Excalibur, but I fear his style may be a little too â€œsuper-hero-eyâ€ for Runaways. But I’m willing to reserve judgement. It would be very difficult for any new creative team to maintain the standards that have been set by this one, but if they can manage it I will be very, very happy.